6 Unsolved Murder Cases That Will Keep You Up At Night

Published October 23, 2017
Updated June 21, 2020
Published October 23, 2017
Updated June 21, 2020

The Mystery Of Room 1046

Sketch of Roland T. Owen

The Kansas City Public LibraryThe man who signed the hotel’s register as Roland T. Owen when he checked into the Hotel President on January 2, 1935.

On January 2, 1935, a man checked into room 1046 at the Hotel President in Kansas City. His name, according to the hotel register, was Roland T. Owen, and his home address was in Los Angeles. He had a cauliflower ear, brown hair, and a horizontal scar on his scalp. He had no luggage except for a hairbrush, a comb, and toothpaste.

That same day that Owen checked in at the hotel, a maid stopped by room 1046. According to her, Owen seemed frightened. The blinds were shut tight, and the room’s only source of light came from a small lamp.

After the maid was done cleaning the room, Owen asked her to leave the door unlocked because he was expecting a friend. Later, when the maid returned with fresh towels, she saw a note on the dresser that said, “Don, I will be back in fifteen minutes. Wait.”

Hotel President

Franz Jachim/FlickrThe Hotel President

The next morning, the maid returned to room 1046. It was locked from the outside, so she assumed that Owen had gone out. However, to her surprise, Owen was in the room, meaning that someone else had stopped by previously and locked Owen in.

Just like the previous night, Owen was sitting in the dark. Then, the phone rang. Owen answered, and said, “No, Don, I don’t want to eat. I am not hungry. I just had breakfast.”

That same day, a motorist named Robert Lane picked up a man near the Hotel President. The man apparently told Lane that he was going to kill someone tomorrow. Later on, Lane identified the stranger he had picked up as Owen.

That night, when the maid returned to room 1046 with fresh towels, she was turned away by a gruff sounding man. The next morning, the hotel’s staff noticed that the telephone in room 1046 was off the hook. A bellboy was sent up to the room, where he discovered Owen lying in a puddle of blood.

It was obvious that Owen had been tortured. When the police asked Owen who did this to him, he answered, “Nobody.” His wounds, according to him, were the result of him falling against the bathtub. Mysteriously, his clothes were missing.

Sketch of Roland T. Owen

The Kansas City Public Library

When the police tried to confirm Owen’s identity, they found that Roland T. Owen did not exist. Owen, who had by now become John Doe, died in the hospital and was to be buried in the potter’s field.

However, an anonymous call came asking for the burial to be postponed until funds for a proper funeral were wired. Thirteen flowers were sent for the funeral and were signed, “Love for ever – Louise.”

In 1936, a woman read about the case and thought that “Owen” looked a lot like her friend’s missing son, Artemus Ogletree. Ogletree’s mother confirmed that the man from room 1064 was indeed her son, but the case wasn’t able to progress any further.

Police never found the mysterious Don and they could never trace the mysterious woman named Louise who funded the funeral and sent the flowers.

Laura Martisiute
Laura is a freelance writer based in Tramore, Ireland. In her spare time, she likes to explore secret beaches, pet cats, and read.