We all know the tale of a killer posing as granny so he could snatch Little Red Riding Hood. After nearly 44 years many locals have forgotten the case of the beautiful little red-headed child coming home from grandma’s house. Like her fairytale counterpart, Shirley Jane Rose would be snatched by a predator. Who killed this precious child?
Shirley Jane Rose, 9, was walking the four blocks home from grandma’s house on Friday, October 17, 1975. It was a path she had walked hundreds of times before. Springfield, Missouri was a safe town. She didn’t know anything about the evils of the drug trade, or that a man would snatch her up on her way home.
Witnesses saw the child talking to a male in a blue car. The car has been described as a ’69-’70 Chevy or a 72 Ford Torino, but neither story could be verified. Shirley’s body would be found two months later buried in a shallow grave by McDaniel lake.
A Strange Twist:
In 1982, a judge came forward claiming a client gave him information on this case. While working as an attorney, this anonymous client told him the details about this poor girl’s final moments. It is unclear if the client was the actual killer because the client was on his or her deathbed and wanted the information released when they died.
The judge wrote an open letter to the killer, and it was published in the local paper. He described how the poor child was stolen with the idea of trading her for drugs, but the killer got scared by the immediate response by law enforcement and decided to kill her. The monster took the child to the lake and made her watch while he dug her grave. He told her that it was for her and then strangled her with a shirt.
The judge threatened the killer with the gas chamber and said he would be there when the killer was strapped into it. The judge hoped others who knew the truth would come forward and the case would be resolved quickly. Unfortunately, it has been 37 years, and no one has come forward, and the taunt about the gas chamber seems pointless now.
If you have any information on this case, please contact the Springfield Crimestoppers at (417) 869-TIPS
Roland T. Owen walked into the Kansas City hotel carrying a comb, a brush, and a tube of toothpaste. After several strange encounters with hotel staff, Owen would be carried out on a gurney a few days later. Blood covered the walls and bed in room 1046, and investigators say it was already solidified leading them to assume Owen had been bleeding for over six hours. Who tortured and killed this man? Why was his door always locked from the outside? Who were the anonymous benefactors that paid for his burial?
Last week I quickly highlighted this Alfred Hitchcock style murder mystery for my readers. This story was so strange and mysterious; I knew it would take more than one post to cover it. If you haven’t seen that post, you can follow this link to read Part One of the mystery.
Strange Sighting: (Thursday, January 3, 1935 – 11 PM)
Robert Lane was driving down 13th Street when he saw a man dressed in trousers and an undershirt. The man’s attire seemed strange in the cold winter weather of January. He was running and waving frantically. Robert Lane pulled over, and the stranger ran up to the door. He looked surprised.
“I’m sorry. I thought this was a taxi. Can you take me to where I can find a cab?”
Lane agreed, and the man climbed into his back seat. The man looked as if he’d been in a scuffle and Lane made a remark about this. The man mumbled, “I’ll kill that__________ in the morning.”
While all the newspapers were too proper to write the actual word that was uttered, 84 years later it could have helped investigators if there was some sort of record of this remark. Was the stranger talking about a male or a female? Who knows?
Lane noticed the man had a large cut down his arm and was cupping his hands trying to catch the blood. As the car reached a nearby intersection, the passenger jumped out and ran across to a parked cab. Seeing the driver wasn’t with his car, the stranger honked the horn. Presently, the cab driver rushed out of a nearby, and that was the end of Robert Lane’s interaction with the stranger.
Police disputed this story since no one noticed Owen leaving his room. Police would discount this and take the investigation in different directions. I find this odd because no one ever saw Owen coming or going from his room. Who was locking the door from the outside if Owen was still sitting inside? At one point the housekeeping staff walked into the room thinking it was empty to find Owen laying across the bed fully clothed and staring into the darkness.
To understand this story, you must understand the hotel’s door locking mechanism. The door could be locked from the inside and could not be opened externally. It could also be locked from the outside with a key, and the hotel staff could use the passkey to open the door and clean. On more than one occasion this outer lock was used while Owen was still inside the room.
By Friday morning the staff noticed the phone was off the hook in Owen’s room. The first contact that was made by the hotel staff was around 7 am. Evidence would later show that Owen was already beaten, stabbed and bloody by this time. That’s when the bellboy heard a voice call through the door and say, “Come in. Turn on the light.” Was this Owen trying to get the man to come in and help him? We’ll never know.
To make the story, even more, perplexing the second time a bell boy was sent to the room that morning, he opened the door with the hotel passkey. This, of course, means that between the bell boy’s first contact and second contact someone had left that room and locked it from the outside. The attendant used his key and opened the darkened room. He noticed the side table was knocked over, and the phone was on the floor. A shadowy figure of a naked man lay sprawled across the bed. The bellboy would later note that there were dark shadows on the sheets around the man, but he didn’t turn on the light. Instead, the bellboy replaced the phone, closed the door, and reported that the guest was drunk on the bed. Could this man have saved Ronald T. Owen if he had taken a moment to check on him?
An hour and a half later the phone was still off the hook, and finally, the bellboy had lost his patience. He opened the door and switched on the lights to discover a horrific scene. Owen was two foot from the door and naked with a rope tied around his neck, wrists, and ankles. He was on his knees and elbows. His bloody head was in his hands. When police asked who did this Owen replied, “Nobody.” He would slip into a coma on the way to the hospital and die shortly after midnight on January 5th.
The police immediately began searching for evidence in Room 1046 but found it had been stripped. Owen’s clothes, all of his belongings, even the hotel’s shampoo and soap were missing. The only things found in the room were: a hairpin, a safety pin, a label from a tie, a bottle of undiluted sulfuric acid, and two glasses. One broken glass was in the bathroom sink and was missing a shard of glass. Four little fingerprints were found on the lampshade leading the investigators to believe they could have been from a woman.
Investigators quickly realized the name Roland T. Owen was an alias and began digging for the man’s identity. In the meantime, the body was transported to the local morgue where it was placed for public viewing in hopes of getting a definite identification on the man. Many people came forward thinking they knew the victim, but all were dismissed. This is when Robert Lane came forward and confirmed the man in the morgue was the man he had picked up on that Thursday night. Authorities claim they can’t prove this, but I find it the most credible. Owen didn’t look overly normal. With his height and scars, he was a rather imposing figure which would make him hard to forget.
After much ado, the papers announced the unknown victim with the alias Roland Owen would be buried in a pauper’s grave since no one claimed him. This prompted another series of strange events. Before the body could be buried the funeral director received an anonymous call from an unknown male. He asked them two wait a little longer in burying Owen and he would send money for a proper burial. A few days later the funeral home received an envelope filled with cash wrapped in newspaper. The donor requested the body to be buried in Memorial Park Cemetary so he could be next to the donor’s sister.
“Love Forever, Louise”:
The florist received an anonymous phone call around the same time from an unknown male. He requested 13 roses to be sent to the grave of Ronald T. Owen and the card should be signed, “Love forever, Louise.” The florist tried to ask a few questions, but the man simply stated that he was just doing this for his sister.
Another phone call:
After the newspaper article about this case was printed, the editor received a phone call from a woman. She said the report was wrong and Roland’s funeral arrangements were paid.
Searching for Don:
During one of the interchanges with the hotel staff, Owen was heard speaking on the phone to a man he called “Don.” Another time the housekeeper saw a note with the same name. Was Don a friend? Was he a Mafia Don? Investigators searched for years and couldn’t find the true identity of Don.
Eighteen months after the newspaper article about this mystery a woman saw the pictures and claimed Roland T. Owen was her son Artemus Ogletree. Although original reports claimed he was in his mid-20’s, Ogletree was 17 at the time of his death. To make matters more mysterious, Mrs. Ogletree had received three separate letters from her son. They were all typewritten which she thought was strange since her son didn’t know how to type. Also, these notes used a lot of slang terms Mrs. Ogletree had never heard her son use. After researching this story, she realized those three letters could not have been from her son. Someone out there not only knew what happened Roland T. Owen in that hotel room, but they also knew his real name and his mother’s address.
One More Mysterious Caller:
If that wasn’t enough of a mystery for you, there was a new chapter to this tale that happened to a Kansas City Librarian in 2003. John Horner spent a lot of time researching this case and writing it up for the library’s blog. One day he too received a strange phone call. It was an out of state caller claiming to be going through a deceased relative’s belongings. They found a large box of newspaper articles from about the Roland T. Owen case and in the box was a specific object that had been referenced in the original newspaper article. Then, the line went dead. What was in the box? Who were the mysterious caller and their relative? Was it the woman Louise? Was it Don? Like all good mysteries. We may never know the truth in this strange tale.
Despite spreading this case across two blog posts, there are even more details I couldn’t include here. Below are some links for further reading on this strange tale.
This week we have a guest post by blogger Giselle M. For those of you who don’t know, Synova suffered a serious injury and landed in the hospital. She appreciates all the support she has received during her recovery. Thank you, Giselle, for providing this story.
Retired Firefighter vanishes. Locals wonder if his wife’s affairs could have pushed him over the edge. Blood in the workshop proves otherwise. Where is Michael Chambers?
Michael Chambers, 70, disappeared in 2017 from his Hunt County home in Quinlan, about 40 miles east of Dallas. Deputies said they believe he may have been taken against his will after they found blood in his shop outside his home. A short time later they say he may have committed suicide.
Deputies say whatever happened to him most likely occurred between noon and 3 p.m. that Friday. His truck was at the house along with his keys and wallet. But police say Chambers and his cell phone and drivers’ license disappeared.
Chambers was last seen March 10 entering and then leaving the Quinlan Walmart alone. Surveillance video shows Chambers entering the store, paying for a couple of items, walking out to his truck and driving away.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks says Chambers and his family have been close friends for many years. He stated it his opinion Meeks committed suicide. The evidence shows a different story.
“I was his Sunday school teacher for several years,” the sheriff said. “I’ve never known a more devout Christian man than Michael Chambers. I trust him with my life.”
“This is absolutely unlike him. He’s not a person that just disappears,” said Cherri Hanes, Chambers’ daughter. “Someone knows something, and we plead and entreat you if that person is here, call the Hunt County Sheriff’s Department.”
The suicide theory states that this man with bad knees rode his bike twenty miles to a bridge on 9’ above the water and jumped off. No one has found the bike. No one can prove he had another bike besides the old one that still hangs in the garage.
Chambers is 6 feet 3 inches tall with balding gray hair. He has surgical scars on his right knee and both shoulders. He often wears a Dallas Fire & Rescue t-shirt. There is a $25,000 reward for specific information leading to his whereabouts.
The family has suspicions regarding his disappearance. A petition was started asking the Texas Rangers Company B to take over the investigation into the disappearance of Michael Chambers.
– Mr. Chambers was last seen at Walmart in Quinlan at approximately 11:00 am.
– Neighbors came home around 3 PM and spent the entire afternoon working outside in the yard. (Noticed nothing unusual at the Chambers’ house)
– Later that evening Mrs. Chambers returns home to find her husband missing
Strangely, Mrs. Chambers left work around 2 PM, and her phone went off for over an hour after speaking to her boyfriend.
Some wonder if her husband found out about her affair and committed suicide. This is not the case. His wife’s infidelity was known to him for a long time.
Mrs. Chambers alleges to have arrived home from work and found her husband gone. His truck was parked at their house. The workshop on the property was found locked with Mr. Chambers’ keys, and wallet inside. Missing were his cell phone, and his Texas driver’s license. It is unconfirmed whether a small amount of cash was missing from his wallet. A large amount of money was still in the workshop, so robbery couldn’t be the motive.
Mrs. Chambers claims to have observed several “quarter” sized blood droplets on the floor of the workshop where he housed his classic cars. She stated to a family friend that she “thought it was transmission fluid.” (Samples of the blood were collected, and DNA analysis later confirmed that the blood belonged to Mr. Chambers. The Private Investigator claims there was a large amount of blood)
Mrs. Chambers called Suzy Losoya, daughter of Mr. Chambers, who told her to contact law enforcement. Mrs. Chambers called 911 at approximately 6:55 pm and reported to dispatch that she was unable to find Mr. Chambers at their home.
Mrs. Chambers then contacted a family friend, Penny Edwards, and asked her to come over to the residence because Mr. Chambers was missing. Mrs. Chambers called the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 7:45 pm. Before police arrived, Mrs. Chambers told Ms. Edwards that she needs her to “be on my side.”
Hunt County Sheriff’s Office initially dispatched a single deputy. Two others joined him after it was apparent that Mr. Chambers was in fact missing. The deputies and neighbors searched the 10 acres of the Chambers property but did not find any trace of Mr. Chambers.
Mr. Chambers’ phone was last pinged near Lake Tawokoni shortly after he disappeared.
On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office searched a five-acre area near the Chambers’ property. They had the help of more than 75 volunteers. Despite the search, investigators found zero evidence.
On or around March 20, 2017, Rebecca Chambers canceled/suspended the cell phone service for two of the lines on the Chambers’ family account with Verizon. She dropped the phone numbers and turned off the service that belonged to her husband’s phone, and her son’s phone, leaving only her phone service active.
Mrs. Chambers sold Mr. Chambers’ pickup truck soon after his disappearance. It is unknown if Mr. Chambers’ vehicle financing included a credit life option which would have paid off the truck in the event of his death. On June 28, 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation issued a new title on the 2014 Dodge Ram truck that had belonged to Mr. Chambers. Rather than the new owner’s name, the title listed “Michael Chambers Rebecca Lynn Chambers” as the vehicle owner. There was no lien holder listed on the new title.
According to the Will filed, Mrs. Chambers is the sole heir to Mr. Chambers’ property at this time. Per the proceedings, Mrs. Chambers is required to deposit 50% of any proceeds she receives as a result of all community property assets sold into an escrow account to be left untouched for at least three years. Any assets that are not community property, Mrs. Chambers is allowed to keep 100% of the proceeds. A Notice to Creditors on Mr. Chambers apparent death was published in area newspapers on June 26, 2017. Also, on June 26, 2017, the Hunt County District Clerk received an Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims from Mrs. Chambers. (Many items appear to be undervalued in this Appraisement compared to the current market values.)
Why was this allowed? Why would she hurry to have her husband declared deceased?
On June 8, 2017, Texas EquuSearch conducted a ground search in the area of the 7000 block of FM 2101 in Quinlan. Although the search was thorough, no sign of Michael Chambers was found.
Mrs. Chambers obtained a Protective Order against her son, Justin Chambers, through the Hunt County District Court system on July 13, 2017. The exact reason is unknown. The Protective Order is in place for the next two years.
During a birthday party celebration on June 27th, Mrs. Chambers was at the home of family friend, Penny Edwards. She stated to Ms. Edwards that Mr. Chambers “was not coming back.” Ms. Edwards claims that Becca Chambers was stoic and adamant about her statement.
A red 1966 Mustang red convertible was sold to an out of state buyer on July 7, 2017. Mr. Chambers had given it to his wife as a gift at the end of 2016. The vehicle was in the name of a Chambers family member.
Mrs. Chambers expressed financial hardship soon after Michael’s disappearance. After a family discussion, it was decided that Mrs. Chambers would sell the 1966 Mustang. The other alternative was for Mrs. Chambers to file for a Death Certificate through the court system, and probate Mr. Chambers’ Will.
The family was made aware of the Death Certificate filing when Suzy Losoya, Mr. Chambers’ daughter, received a call from one of his former Dallas Fire Department coworkers asking about Chambers being deceased. When the Death Certificate was filed, the Dallas Fire Department pension board was notified. Until that time, the family had no idea that Mrs. Chambers had filed for the Death Certificate. They were under the impression that selling the Mustang was the route that she was going to take.
In the days previous to July 14, 2017, a local resident, Bradley Marion Dunn, made claims on social media that he had information on the Chambers’ case. Chambers family members spoke with Mr. Dunn during this time. He was encouraged to contact the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office.
On July 14th, Bradley Dunn met with deputies from the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at a location near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 2101 and Rancho Road in Quinlan. Mr. Dunn, a career criminal, was said to be jittery and under the influence of some mind-altering substance. Mr. Dunn was arrested on scene by Hunt County Sheriff’s Office for having a handgun on his person. He was booked into the Hunt County Detention Center. He was also charged with a Motion to Revoke Probation. Mr. Dunn is currently in the custody of the Hunt County Detention Center, awaiting disposition of his charges.
The afternoon of August 25, 2017, law enforcement retrieved swabs from the floor of Mr. Chambers’ shop for control sample analysis processing at an independent lab. The results have not yet come back.
A realtor was observed taking photographs of the Chambers home on August 26th. The house is presumed to be on the market for sale.
Several searches for Mr. Chambers have been held since his disappearance. The Texas Department of Public Safety conducted an aerial helicopter search of the Chambers property and surrounding areas. Also, dogs were brought in from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Bonham. The dogs picked up Mr. Chambers’ scent, and trailed it to the roadway, but were unable to follow it any farther. Also, a sonar search was used on the pond across the road from the Chambers house, and even at Lake Tawakoni by TEQ.
At least two male subjects who acquaintances of Mrs. Chambers have been questioned by area law enforcement.
The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office has only responded to phone calls or emails from Mr. Chambers’ family sparingly. Despite numerous inquiries by family members, the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office has failed to request the iMessages for Mr. Chambers’ phone account from Apple. The call logs were previously given to HCSO by the family soon after Chambers’ disappearance. HCSO is refusing to deem the case as criminal, saying that no criminal acts have been committed. A private investigator was hired by the Chambers children soon after he went missing.
This retired fireman needs justice. It is unfathomable that this man was injured in his garage, then found a bike that no one can verify he owned and ride the grueling 20 miles to the bridge to commit suicide. He knew about his wife’s affairs, and there’s documented proof of it. What happened to Michael Chambers?
If you have any informtion about this case please contact the Hunt County Sheriff’s Department at 903-453-6800.
Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.