The strange sight of a 47-year-old handcuffed man surrounded by police walking through the woods while wearing a woman's wig must have puzzled many Cape Cod residents on the morning of April 9, 2000. The man, Hadden Clark, a cross-dressing cannibal killer convicted in Maryland of two murders, was looking for the graves of two women he claimed to have buried nearly two decades ago. The woods, located in the town of Wellfleet, were part of a 7.3-acre property once owned by his grandfather, Silas Clark. Though Clark grew up in Pennsylvania, the alleged serial killer spent his summers in Wellfleet where he worked in restaurants. Clark also met with authorities in Meriden, Connecticut, where he claims to have buried another body around 1980 in a family property owned by his maternal grandfather Maynard Scranton.
According to Maryland prison authorities Clark told a fellow inmate whom he believes is Jesus Christ that he killed as many as a dozen women and girls along the Eastern Seaboard between the mid-70s and 1993, the year he was arrested. Investigators in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are now trying to determine if his claims are true or just another figment of his psychologically unstable imagination. "It has not been easy," said the Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Michael O'Keefe. "It has been more than two decades since the killings, the topography has changed, and Clark is an individual with a number of difficulties who has been in and out of institutions." Clark suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, which was diagnosed in 1985 when he was discharged from the Navy where he served as a cook. "He's been hot and cold," an officer associated with the search told the Washington Post. "Sometimes he's truthful. Sometimes he leads you on a wild-goose chase."
Earlier this year Clark made a three-day visit to Cape Cod to lead another search of the Wellfleet property, but frigid conditions and a snowstorm forced investigators to reschedule. On the same trip he stopped at the West Mountain area in Connecticut where he refused to cooperate with authorities until they procured for him women's clothing. Agents complied and bought a skirt, panties and a bra at a nearby K-Mart. Though he complained that the skirt was the wrong size, he kept the panties and bra. In both the January and April trips Clark was accompanied by the unidentified bearded prisoner who he thinks is Jesus. Authorities justified the Jesus-look-alike tagging along because the inmate allegedly is the only person who can calm Clark down during his frequent psychotic breakdowns.
Clark is currently serving a 60-year sentence in Montgomery County, Maryland, for the slayings of 6-year-old Michele Dorr and 23-year-old Laura Houghteling. Showing a penchant for sending police on treasure hunts, last December he led police to a bucket with 230 pieces of women's jewelry buried in the Cape Cod property. One of the pieces was Laura Houghteling's high school ring. Clark told his inmate friend that the discovered jewelry was a collection of "trophies" from a two-decade long killing spree.
Unidentified Female ( Lady in the Dunes ) 1974, Massachusetts
A summer day became a horror on July 26, 1974, when a young girl walking her beagle stumbled upon a mutilated body in the dunes near Race Point Beach. The victim's hands had been severed. They were never found. Her head was nearly removed. Investigators determined the woman had been dead anywhere from five days to three weeks. Cause of death: blunt trauma.
She has never been identified. Locals refer to the mystery woman as "The Lady in the Dunes."
Staff Sgt. Warren Tobias has just received an image of the victim from the state crime lab in Sudbury that he hopes will breathe new life into the case.
"The computerized reconstruction looks so lifelike that I'm hoping to get the image out there, hopefully nationwide," Tobias said. "I hope it rings a bell with somebody, somewhere...
Unidentified White Female --Located on July 26, 1974 in the Race Point Dunes, Provincetown, Barnstable County, Massachusetts.
Cause of death was a blow to the head.
Estimated Date of Death: 10 days to three weeks.
Her nickname is The Lady in the Dunes
Estimated age: 25 - 40 years old
Approximate Height and Weight: 5' 6-1/2"; 145 lbs.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Long, auburn or reddish-blond hair. Athletic body. 34" waist, 31" legs. Her hair was tied in a ponytail with a rubber-type barrette. Her toenails were painted pink.
Dentals: Extensive dental work. She had gold crowns on her teeth worth $5000 up to $10,000 at that time. The dental work was done in what dentists call "the New York style" of dental work. Dental charts available.
Clothing: Jeans were found at the scene. She wore a elastic barrette in her hair. She lay on one half of a light green, heavy cotton beach blanket.
The victim was discovered in the dunes about a mile east of the Race Point ranger station in the summer of 1974.
The woman's hands were missing -presumably removed by the killer so she could not be identified through fingerprints - and her head was nearly severed from her body with an instrument similar to a military entreching tool. The left side of her skull had been crushed, and the body was maggot infested. No weapon was found at the site.
Her nude body was discovered lying on a beach towel with her head resting on her folded-up jeans. There was no sign of a struggle, and the woman lay on half the towel, as if she'd been sharing it with a companion.
The body was exhumed in 2000, in an attempt to confirm her identity. Investigators have suspected since the late 1980s that the unidentified woman was Rory Gene Kesinger who has been missing since 1974, when she was 25 years old.
In March 2002 DNA tests ruled Kesinger out as a match to the victim.
Cape Cod Times 4/8/05
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