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The Mysterious Murder Of Roland T. Owen In Room 1046 - Still Unsolved

Despite countless records of evidence, the mystery of what occurred in room 1046 of the Hotel President is still unresolved.

By Victoria VelkovaPublished 2 months ago 8 min read

A lone guy made a reservation at the President Hotel in Kansas City on January 2, 1935, at 1:20 PM.

He requested an interior room on a high floor of the hotel because he didn't have any luggage other than a comb and a toothbrush. Using the alias Roland T. Owen, he checked in and informed the waiter about the nearby hotel's ridiculous rates. He departed the hotel after checking in and obtaining his accommodation, room 1046 on the 10th floor, but was only sometimes sighted during his stay.

The workers at the President Hotel found the man's behavior strange, but they didn't have high opinions of him. The less the employees interacted with guests who were searching for late-night company and who frequently stayed at the hotel, the better.

The staff didn't pay his conduct any more attention until six days later, when the man was found dead in a horrific slaughter in his hotel room. Questions about the man's conduct before his death surfaced when they detailed the terrible scene to the police, revealing exactly how peculiar that behavior had been.

Owen's room was cleaned by Mary Soptic on January 3, which was the next day after he checked in to the hotel. Most guests at the hotel had left for the day by the time it was midday. But when Soptic got to Owen's room, she discovered that the door was locked from the inside.

Owen answered her knock by opening the door. Soptic finally came in, after insisting she could return later. The only source of light in the room was a tiny, dull table lamp, and the shades were completely drawn as she entered.

Owen asked her not to lock the door as she was cleaning since he would soon be seeing a friend. As soon as Owen exited the room, Soptic nodded.

Soptic came back with new towels to room 1046 four hours later. When she returned to clean the room that afternoon, she discovered that the door was still open. As she went in, she discovered Owen asleep-looking and fully dressed on top of his still-made bed. “I'll be back in fifteen minutes, Don”, said a note on his nightstand. - “Wait.”

The unusual connections between Soptic and room 1046 persisted the next morning, January 4.

As she went to clean the beds at 10:30 AM, she saw that the Owen door was locked from the outside, just like it was when customers departed. She used her master key to unlock the door, assuming Owen wasn't inside. She was shocked to see Owen inside, alone, on the chair in the far corner of the room. The phone rang, and Owen answered it as she was cleaning.

I don't want to eat, Don. I'm not starving. I just had breakfast.” After a brief pause, he said, "No. I don't feel hungry.”

The first time he had ever actually spoken to Soptic, Owen started questioning her about her profession and the hotel as soon as he hung up. In addition to complaining once more about the cost of the neighboring hotel, he inquired about how many rooms she was in charge of and what types of people, if any, resided at the President Hotel.

Quickly responding, Soptic completed the cleaning before leaving Owen in room 1046 by himself. She didn't fully understand that someone had to have locked Owen in his room until after she had already left since the door had been secured from the outside.

After stealing the towels from the room in the morning, Soptic came back later that day bearing new ones. She heard two voices in the room instead of just Owen when she knocked this time. She claimed that she brought new towels. A strong, deep voice instructed her to go, stating that they had plenty already.

Soptic left the two men alone even though she was aware that she had taken all the towels out of the room that morning since she didn't want to pry into what was obviously a private and delicate talk.

The President Hotel received two additional visitors that afternoon whose presence would significantly add to the intrigue surrounding what transpired to Roland T. Owen in room 1046.

A Jean Owen was the first (of no relation to Roland). She had traveled to Kansas City to meet her lover for the day and instead of making the long journey back to her hometown outside the city, she had made the decision to spend the night at a hotel. Jean Owen received the key to room 1048, which is adjacent to Roland, after checking into the President Hotel.

According to police reports, she heard a noise many times that evening.

According to her testimony, "I heard a lot of commotion that seemed like it (was) on the same floor, and comprised mostly of men and women shouting loudly and swearing." While the noise persisted, I debated calling the front desk clerk but opted against it.

The additional hotel guest wasn't really a visitor at all. She was characterized as a "commercial lady" who regularly frequented the rooms of the hotel's male guests late at night by the bellhop who had been on duty that evening.

She entered the hotel that evening, January 4, looking for a man in room 1026. The woman was a "very quick" customer, yet she still didn't appear to be able to locate the individual she was seeking for. She spent much over an hour looking on many floors before giving up and returning home.

The testimonies made by the two ladies would make it more uncertain what happened to the man in room 1046.

The hotel's phone operator called the bellhop the following morning. It had been ten minutes since anyone had used the phone in room 1046, which was off the hook. When the bellhop went to check on Owen, he found the door closed and marked with a "do not disturb" sign.

When the bellhop knocked, Owen ordered him to come in, but when the bellhop said the door was locked, he received no reaction. The bellhop assumed Owen had merely been intoxicated and knocked the phone off the hook, so he knocked again and called for Owen to hang up the phone.

But, the phone operator phoned the bellhop once again an hour and a half later. The phone in room 1046 wasn't even hanging up; it was still ringing. Using the master key this time, the bellhop entered Owen's room.

On the bed, the man was nude and appeared to be intoxicated. The bellhop just placed the phone back on the hook, closed the door behind him, and reported Owen to his supervisor since he didn't want to deal with him.

He was shocked when the phone operator phoned once again an hour later. Although not being in use, the phone was once more off the hook.

This time, the bellhop discovered a carnage when he opened the door. With many stab wounds, Owen was curled up in the corner of the room, his head in his hands. The walls were covered in blood and the bedclothes and towels were smeared with it.

The bellhop alerted the police right away, who then brought Owen directly to the hospital. There, the doctors found evidence of Owen's brutal mistreatment. He had many knife wounds to his chest, and his arms, legs, and neck had all been tied by some sort of cable. He  In , he had a broken head and a punctured lung.

Shortly after arriving at the hospital, Roland T. Owen was declared dead.

The medical professionals also learned that Owen had sustained his injuries prior to the bellhop's initial visit to his room that morning. They discovered that he had repeatedly tried to contact for assistance but had been unable to do more than pick up the phone because of his wounds.

The oddity persisted even after the investigators examined the space.

When Roland Owen checked in, there were absolutely no clothing in the room and nothing that fit his description. Also absent were any items that may have been the murder weapon, as well as hotel amenities like soap and toothpaste. Four tiny fingerprints that police discovered on the phone stand were the only noteworthy thing they discovered, albeit they were never identified.

Detectives also discovered that Roland T. Owen didn't exist. They pleaded with the public to come forward with any information they may have on the unidentified murder victim because there was no record of such individual ever having lived anywhere in the United States.

Soon after, the nearby hotel about which Owen had made several complaints came forward and stated that a guy who fit the description had been there on January 1. Using the name Eugene K. Scott, he had checked in. But, after additional inquiry, the police came to the same conclusion with Roland T. Owen: there was no record of an individual by the name of Eugene K. Scott ever existed.

Many people made the identification of the body as a loved one over the course of the following several months, but none of them was accurate. When the investigation finally came to a dead end, the investigators chose to bury the body. The funeral home received a bouquet of flowers, a contribution to help with funeral expenses, and a card that said nothing more than "Love for ever- Lucille" as they prepared for a little funeral.

A year later, a woman by the name of Ogletree claimed that Owen/Scott was her long-lost son. She asserted that he was Artemis Ogletree and that, at the time of his disappearance, he was a guest at another hotel in the Kansas City region.

Police finally began to believe her, despite the fact that her case didn't have any more proof than the others'; however, experts suggest that this was only because the other cases' evidence was lacking.

The Kansas police reopen the case every year as fresh pieces of evidence become available, but it has never been solved. But, for the time being, it appears that the enigma surrounding room 1046 may never be fully answered.

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About the Creator

Victoria Velkova

With a passion for words and a love of storytelling.

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