October 25, 1907


With a Razor the Prowler Deprived
Mrs. J. L. Stark of Her Most
Prized Adornment -- He
Mrs. J. L. Stark, Whose Hair was Stolen
Whose Hair Was Stolen.

Mrs. J. L. Stark of 322 East Fifteenth street, was the victim of an assault shortly after 3 o'clock Sunday morning, the peculiar atrocity and mystery of which have not been equaled in this city for many a long day.

While asleep in her bed on the second floor at the address given, some person entered the room, cut her hair off close to the scalp and made good his escape down the front stairs and into the street.

Mrs. Stark's husband is a contractor and they live at 2646 La Salle street, St. Louis. Together they came to Kansas City a week ago to visit Mrs. A. M. Ecton, who is Mrs. Stark's mother, and lives in the upstairs apartments, where this peculiar crime was committed. Since her early girlhood Mrs. Stark has attracted attention from the great luxuriance and unusual light golden tint of her hair. When unloosed it would reach nearly to the floor, and it was her custom upon retiring to confine it in one single braid. This she did when she retired on Saturday night.

Saturday night she retired early and read for a time before going to sleep. She laid down with her head toward the foot of the bed and incidentally toward the only door in the room, which opens into the hall that, in turn, leads downstairs and out of doors. Upon going to her room Mrs. Ecton found her daughter asleep and rather than disturb her got into bed the usual way and was soon asleep.


Mr. Stark had returned to St. Louis a day or two before and the only other persons on that floor were Mr. Ecton and two younger children sleeping in a rear room.

At 3 o'clock the household was aroused by the screams of Mrs. Stark, who, in a half dazed condition, cried that someone as pulling her hair. As she sprang out of bed Mrs. Ecton caught a glimpse of some person disappearing down the front stairs and in another instant the front door was heard to slam. By the time the family got its wits together and realized what had happened to the daughter, it was deemed too late to make an outcry and it was decided to say nothing about the affair in the hope that the mystery might clear it self up. But it is now as far from a solution as ever.


The door of the room where the two women slept was secured by what is known as a "thumb latch," but the hall door leading to the street was not kept locked at night owing to its necessarily being used by both of the families in the house. Another door at the head of the stairs opens into the Ectons' kitchen and it is probable that the culprit made his way through this and finally reached the bedroom by a roundabout way through the other rooms.
Mrs. Stark's head indicates that he gathered her tresses carefully in his hand and then with one or two sweeping cuts with a razor severed them from her head. A fringe, at some points probably a foot long, was left about the temples and forehead and a few stray wisps of hair at the back of the head.

Mrs. Stark, who is not yet 20 years of age, was a student at the Central high school up to within a few months of her marriage and removed to St. Louis less than two years ago. She takes her peculiar loss as philosophically as possible, and aside from the fright she received and the temporary disfigurement will not be injured by her experience.


"I have not an enemy in the world that I know of," she said last night, "and the only theory I have is that this was done by some one who saw me and knew the money value of my hair. I have often been told that I could sell it for a good price if I wanted to part with it, but it had always been in a joking way by friends."

Mrs. K. C. Barner, who with her family lives on the lower floor of the house, has been ill for some time and was awake at 3 o'clock Sunday morning. Her room is directly under the front stairs.

"I heard Nina scream," she said, "and almost instantly heard some one run downstairs. I am positive that whoever it was was either in his stocking feet or else had on heavy rubbers."