We’ve heard of rooms that we shouldn’t visit in hotels; Room 217 (The Stephen King room) at the Stanley Hotel, Room 1220 Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, and now Room 1046 at the President Hotel in Kansas City, MO.
A young man checked into the President Hotel in Kanas City on January 2, 1935. He checked in under the name Roland T. Owen. He was at the hotel for a couple of days, interacting with someone named “Don”, and the hotel staff noted other unusual behaviors and incidents.
Roland asked for an interior room, several floors up, when he checked in on January 2. Staff remember him as dressed well, with a dark overcoat, but no baggage. He had provided a Los Angeles address.
The maid service would encounter Roland several times during his stay. He always had the shades drawn and only a dim light on. The maid, Mary Soptic, commented that “He was either worried about something or afraid.”
When bringing fresh towels to the room, Mary would see Roland laying on the bed and a note to someone named Don, advising that Roland would be back in 15 minutes.
On January 3, Mary had overheard a telephone conversation between Roland and Don. Later that afternoon when delivering towels, she heard two men talking in the room so she knocked, which one of the voices replied, “We don’t need any.”
January 4, the hotel operator had attempted to make the requested wake up call to Room 1046, when she noticed the indicator that the phone was off the hook. The bellhop, who had escorted Roland to his room on January 2, went to the room. After several loud knocks a voice told him to enter. The door was locked, so he was unable to enter, after being told to turn on the lights, the bellhop eventually yelled through the door to hang up the phone.
An hour later, another bellhop went to the room, and this time he had a key to enter. Roland was laying on the bed, drunk, but the bellhop picked up the phone and replaced it on the stand, hanging up the phone.
A couple hours later another operator noticed the phone was again off the hook. The same bellhop returned to the room, and found Roland on his hands and knees, his head bloodied, the walls in the room and bathroom were also bloody.
The bellhop immediately went for help, the assistant manager and the bellhop returned to the room, assisted Roland to the edge of the tub and called for police. Roland answered some questions and but then lost consciousness, and was taken to the hospital. He was completely comatose, and died shortly after midnight on January 5.
So who killed Roland?
An autopsy was performed, and he had died from stab wounds that had punctured his lung and from the trauma to his head. There was no evidence in the room, as Roland had checked in with no baggage, the towels supplied by the the hotel were missing.
It soon became apparent that Roland T. Owen was an alias, he was identified as Artemus Ogletree, who had left his family in Birmingham, AL, to travel to California. He had kept in contact with his family via letters, and his mother had reportedly received letters from him until August 1935.
The murder of Artemus Ogletree remains unsolved. The police do not know who killed him, nor why. But in 2012, a historian had received an anonymous call about the case stating that an elderly person who had passed away had a box of newspaper clippings about the case and an item mentioned repeatedly in those stories, but they refused to say what that was. The police in Kansas City continue to investigate.
So my friends, there isn’t much to go on with this unusual case, but it is quite the mystery. I wonder if the real identity of “Don” will ever be learned, or who had really killed Artemus.
Stay curious my friends