A slight creepiness

I am writing up a Charley Project case from the early 1980s and discovered the MP was a children’s book author whose books sold really well. I checked and my local library has 22 of her 25 books, many of them in multiple copies. All nature books, bugs mostly. They have titles like Praying Mantis, the Garden Dinosaur and Fairy Rings and Other Mushrooms. I got a bit of a chill looking at the cute illustrations on the covers and knowing what probably happened to the author.

(Of course, she’d be dead now anyway. She would be 113 years old this month if she were still alive.)

I might do a Make-a-List Monday of MPs who were also authors. I know I have a few others.

16 thoughts on “A slight creepiness

  1. Christy May 3, 2016 / 7:31 am

    U of W’s website, under her distinguished alumnae listing, has it all wrong — it says that she passed away at the age of 94 (https://ischool.uw.edu/alumni/distinguished). Perhaps they were getting her confused with someone else.

    • Meaghan May 3, 2016 / 7:36 am

      I’ll give them a call later today. Not now. It’s like 6:00 a.m. in Washington state at present.

    • Meaghan May 3, 2016 / 8:42 am

      Okay I posted about it on the UW School of Information’s Facebook page. I think I’ve done enough.

    • Meaghan May 3, 2016 / 4:15 pm

      Whaddaya know. The university Facebook person replied and promised to correct the information.

  2. Brian Lockett May 3, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    Who is the lady? The “Fairy Ring” book says its illustrator is a guy and the other book doesn’t have anything about illustrations.

    • Meaghan May 3, 2016 / 8:58 pm

      Gladys Conklin, the author. I was looking at pics of her book covers on my library’s online catalog. She disappeared without a trace and was probably killed by her husband because she had Alzheimer’s Disease and he wanted to put her out of her misery.

      • Brian Lockett May 4, 2016 / 8:12 pm

        Thanks. I ran across her in the updates and kinda thought it was who you were talking about.

        But I found it kind of strange that she hasn’t been found. The situation of a “terminally ill” (her mind was going, though her body wasn’t, if that makes sense) person being put out of their misery by a spouse definitely makes sense.

        But I thought they’d have made a call saying “my wife has died” to authorities being what would have happened.

        I just don’t see why a person in that kind of a situation would go through the trouble of hiding her death/remains.

      • Meaghan May 4, 2016 / 9:54 pm

        Well, murder is murder, and if they autopsied her and realized it wasn’t natural causes, her husband would go to prison. He might have gotten leniency under the circumstances but at that age, any prison sentence might mean he dies there.

        He had about 24 hours to get rid of the body. If he could drive, that potentially puts her anywhere within a twelve-hour radius. Or she might be in the yard. The cops didn’t have enough evidence for a search warrant to dig it up.

      • Brian Lockett May 5, 2016 / 11:41 am

        I know it would still be murder and he had a day to hide it, but would he have been physically capable of doing all of that. I don’t know his age, but I figured he’d be about her age.

        I could see someone that age perhaps shooting someone. That wouldn’t take much physical might . Just a squeeze of a finger. What I can’t see is him getting the crime scene cleaned up (it would be bloody) and somehow successfully disposing of her remains. The same with if he mustered up the strength and strangled her or somehow killed her in a non-bloody fashion,
        How could a near-octogenarian get rid of a body without being noticed?

      • Meaghan May 5, 2016 / 11:50 am

        I’m not sure how old he was. I’m guessing her age or slightly older, since they married in 1934 and it was apparently a second marriage for him. The article I got most of my info from included quotes from Irving’s son and referred to him as “Irving’s son,” not as “their son,” so I think he must have been from a prior marriage. I didn’t find any indications that Irving and Gladys had children together.

        If I was old and weak and decided to kill someone, I’d probably use drugs of some kind. No bloody crime scene, possibly quick and painless depending on the drugs. Gladys, as an aged Alzheimer’s sufferer, probably had a lot of medications prescribed to her that would have been deadly in large doses. Though you’re right, getting rid of the body is going to present a problem no matter what method you use.

      • CA Parker July 29, 2017 / 3:26 am

        I grew up next door to Gladys Conklin’s best friend, Grace Jarvis. Both women worked as librarians at the Hayward California Public Library. I was introduced , as a child, to Gladys’ books and her disappearance was a very traumatic event in the East Bay community. It was assumed by those who knew her at the time that she indeed may have wandered off and perhaps succumbed to the elements, fallen down an embankment or something. She did have Alzheimer’s and she did wander. The fact no remains were ever found this many years later is very puzzling. The local papers, the Hayward Daily Review and the Oakland Tribune, likely have coverage of her disappearance in their archives. She was a very prolific writer and known as the bug lady.

  3. D'Lil May 4, 2016 / 2:26 am

    Just looked online and there is an older Gladys Conklin out of N.Y. that went missing in 1959/1960. She had three children. The site for the author said her husband said she would wander off and he would lock the gate. It’s been so common for that to happen with the elderly as well as the young autistic children that it may not be nefarious at all.

    • Meaghan May 4, 2016 / 8:06 am

      Maybe. I almost prefer the foul play theory though. If Gladys was murdered, chances are it was quick, like maybe a drug overdose or smothering. If she wandered off and was never found that’s a probable slow, horrible death of thirst, starvation and/or exposure.

  4. becky May 6, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    It is really mind boggling how many Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients have just “wandered off” and never been found. It seems far fetched that the all would have wandered into remote settings having left society entirely (desert/woods/etc.) where they would parish and the remains never be found. It seems much more likely they’d get off a bus in a strange city, be lost, end up on the news and identified immediately. So, it really does make you wonder if a lot of those cases are actually foul play as Meaghan describes.

    • Meaghan May 6, 2016 / 2:15 pm

      I can think, off the top of my head, of at least two. In one case the daughter/caregiver had actually murdered her mother. In the other, the woman really did wander off but was murdered afterwards, a crime that remains unsolved.

  5. Ron Williams January 10, 2018 / 5:18 pm

    Gladys was my great Grandmother. Awesome lady. Was very sad to see dementia set in. Same thing now happening to my dad. Irving was a man capable of doing anything. I would not put it past him to assist her departure. Sad either way

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