"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

In 1939, an elderly Englishwoman named Ada Constance Kent disappeared. Robbery was soon ruled out as a possible motive.  Her cottage was found to be in perfect condition and nothing seemed missing--except Ada--but no clue to her whereabouts could be found.

Then, ten years later, at the request of her bank, her home in Essex was searched one more time. A skeleton was discovered in her bedroom.

Mystery solved, right?

Well…not necessarily. All the skeleton did was elevate this missing-person case from the ordinary, if puzzling, to the downright bizarre. Kent’s cottage had been carefully searched at least three times since her disappearance. Her friends were adamant that there was no way they could have missed a body lying by her bed. It must have been there only since the last time her home was inspected in 1942.

The newspaper reports are maddeningly contradictory about the identity of this skeleton. Some accounts say Scotland Yard did not believe this body was that of the missing lady—which would simply be piling weird upon weird—but most reports assert this was indeed her, and it is a fact that shortly after this body was found, a death certificate was issued for Kent.

But even if this was the missing Ada Kent, how do we explain her wandering bones?


  1. Follow the money...who benefited from a or any body being found?

    1. Interesting point, I've wondered about that myself. As far as I can tell from the newspaper reports, no one benefited. No relatives were ever mentioned, or even anyone that was close to her. She seems to have been a solitary sort, virtually alone in the world.

      She did have some money in the bank, though. It would be nice to know who, if anyone, ever inherited it.

  2. It does seem unlikely that searchers looking for a body could have missed one lying in the bed. If the cottage hadn't been lived in between 1942 and 1949 - and someone knew it - the dead person in the bed could have been a homeless tramp, or someone on leave during the war looking for a convenient place to have a lie-down. I wonder why the bank insisted on the cottage being searched again.

    1. I'd really like to know how they decided the skeleton was Kent's, but that doesn't seem to be recorded anywhere. I get the impression they just "assumed" it was hers.

      As for why the bank wanted the house searched--some stories indicate that there was some sort of activity on her account, but others just say that the bank wanted to know what to do with her money. Still other stories give the impression that the house was searched again "just for the heck of it."

      This is one of those mysteries where all the published accounts are maddeningly vague.