April 7, 2021

A mysterious man by the name of Roland T. Owen checked into the Hotel President in Kansas City in 1935. Sporting a scar and a cauliflower ear, witnesses and hotel staff assumed this man is or used to be a fighter of some sort. Despite bellhop Randolph Propst escorting him to his room, Owen carried no luggage.


Maid Mary Soptic knew there was something odd about Owen, even though he spent most of his time running in and out of the hotel at odd times. On the same day of check-in, Soptic cleaned the man’s room while he was in there, noticing there was no light in the room except for the lamp on the desk. He mentioned to leave the door unlocked on her way out since a friend of his was to arrive soon.


Soptic came back to give room 1046 some fresh towels and found Owen lying in bed, fully dressed and with a note beside him that said, “Don, I will be back in fifteen minutes. Wait.” Soptic, while suspicious, thought nothing of the scene, believing Owen to be asleep.


The next day, Soptic went to the room to make the bed, but the door was locked. Using the master key, she went into the room and found Owen in the corner of the room. The phone rang, and Owen scrambled to answer it.


“No, Don. I don’t want to eat,” he said, repeating it again and insisting he had no appetite.


Soptic quickly did her job while Owen talked with her, this time asking many questions about the hotel and her job there.


The two said their goodbyes, and Soptic came to the realization the door was locked from the outside. Someone locked the guest in his room last night.


Later, Soptic went to drop off more towels. Two voices were coming from the room, and one — which she believed was not Owen’s — told her to leave and that there were enough towels in the room. While she knew she removed all towels from the room, she decided to listen to the tone in the man’s voice and leave.


A woman decided to stay in the hotel on the same day of the “towel incident.” She stayed in 1048, which was next door to 1046. She complained to the hotel staff of noises coming from 1046. Swearing and loud talking from both men and women were heard through the hallway; however, it’s likely she was complaining about a party that was occurring in 1055.


Around 7 a.m. the next morning, a telephone operator noticed the phone from room 1046 was off the hook for 10 minutes. After hearing nothing from the guest, bellhop Propst went to the room. The door was locked and a “do not disturb” sign was hanging. Propst knocked, asking for Owen to place the phone back on the receiver.


Upon hearing from the operator the phone was still off the hook, bellhop Harold Pike went to 1046 an hour and a half later. Using his master key, Pike opened the door to an peculiar scene: Owen was on the bed, apparently drunk and stripped of his clothes. As Pike went to place the phone back on the receiver, he saw splotches of something on the bed.


At 11 a.m., Propst was sent to the room because of the phone, once again, being off the hook for some time. The bellhop opened the door and met with a naked Owen on all fours with his head resting in his hands. Many stab wounds covered his chest, and blood was literally all over the hotel room — the towels, bed sheets, the walls, and even the ceiling were drenched.


As Owen was being prepared to be taken away in an ambulance, detectives questioned him on what led up to the violent scene. Due to the extreme lack of blood, Owen’s answers were incoherent as he was unable to keep conscious.


“Who else was in the room with you when this happened?” He was asked.




Owen also mentioned that he fell against the bathtub, which may be the last thing he remembered before he was found.


Hospital staff observed ligature marks on Owen’s limbs and neck, probably used for restraint and torture. His skull was fractured due to multiple strikes to the head, and a lung was punctured from the many stab wounds. Owen died shortly upon arrival at the hospital.


After that, detectives had the job of getting to the bottom of making all the odd happenings inside room 1046, which proved to be a lot harder than they expected it to be.


Be sure to come back next week to hear about the odd twists this mystery will take!

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About the Writer
Erin Brody is a Writing and Publishing senior from West Homestead and is the Editor-in-Chief/Director of Operations of The SIREN Media Group. She particularly enjoys investigative journalism and crime... writing and researching it, of course.

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