Kingman Island Squatter Eaten by Wild Dog

a wild dog (source: the Internet)
a wild dog (source: the Internet)

Yowza! This is a crazy story that lives up to the title, albeit a brief story. I came across this in the Washington Post on October 25th, 1941.

A few gnawed bones and a wild dog were found on an island in the middle of Kingmans Lake yesterday, grim evidence that a Negro squatter had been devoured by the starving animal.

Walter Wright, Negro, of 2800 Benning Road Northeast, made the discovery shortly after 9 a. m., when he rowed to the island to visit the recluse. Last night the remains were identified as those of Omara Wilson, 50.

Wright identified clothing scattered on the ground outside of a board shack as those belonging to Wilson. The man had not been seen “for two or three weeks,” Wright told detectives.

Policemen guarded both sides of the Anacostia River last night to prevent anyone from going to the island, where the vicious mongrel still ran at large. Dense underbrush prevented capture of the animal yesterday and police intend to send a squad to the island this morning.

The island is located between East Capitol Street and Gallinger Hospital at a point about opposite the new National Guard Armory. About 400 yards long and 100 yards wide, the island is located about the middle of the lake, 150 yeards from the shore.

Detective Sergts. Dempsey Perry and E. E. Scott, who went to the island, said all they could find of the man were his bones scattered over a 50-foot radius, it was said.

The two investigators said they did not see the dog, though his snarling and barking was heard from the underbrush.

Wright told police Wilson kept himself alive by collecting trash. There was no food or money found in the shack and it was speculated that Wilson may have died of malnutrition and that the hungry dog ate his remains.

Damn. What more can I say?

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • kidTruant

    That’s a really awful picture. Need to find my “unsee” button or I won’t sleep tonight. You definitely could have found something better.

    • agreed … it’s awful, but apropos

      • Ernie

        I just love the source of that photo. “The internet.” I’m still laughing.

  • “Walter Wright, Negro, of 2800 Benning Road Northeast…”

    Wow. I mean, not surprising given when this was published, but jeez, not even an age? Just his race, which has zero to do with the story.

    • Jack

      It was 1941. Those were the terms of the day.

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