Michael Clark was arrested at his home on Wednesday. His wife, Carol Lubahn, was reported missing 30 years ago. Clark claimed his wife vanished in the middle of the night on April 8, 1981.
Investigators were never able to find her, but they continued to work on the case and now say they have enough evidence to charge Clark with murder.
The couple were sweethearts at North High School in Torrance before getting married and having two children.
"I was not surprised. I mean, I was surprised when she disappeared, but I wasn't surprised when they arrested him," said neighbor Sandy Raysik. "I was just thankful that [they] finally did it. Because I knew he murdered her. She would not have left her mother and father and her kids. Period. So there was no getting around it: I knew that he had killed her."
"Well, you know what I think is shocking: that the police would bother to try to prosecute him when there's no definitive evidence that his wife was ever killed," said Torrance resident Mike Hopkins.
Clark was arraigned Thursday. He did not enter a plea.
Clark was held on $1 million bail. Thursday morning, Clark's arraignment was continued. He is expected back in court later in the month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.