When a Randolph County woman perished in a mysterious fire 70 years ago, did she really refuse to be rescued?
That’s what her male companion told investigators when they questioned him about his role in her suspicious death. But would the authorities buy it?
The woman’s death occurred in the early morning hours of March 25, 1952, at the old King Tut tourist cabins just north of Asheboro. Around 5:30 a.m., a passing motorist called the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office after spotting flames and smoke coming from one of the cabins. A deputy rushed to the scene to investigate.
In one cabin, he found the body of 39-year-old Maggie Hunt Glenn of Randleman burned to death in her bed. The bed had been destroyed by the fire, but the rest of the cabin was untouched. An empty whiskey bottle rested beside the bed.
In the cabin next door, the deputy found Charlie Leo Sink, 40, of High Point — and he was very much alive.
Sink’s first problem was that his pants were in the woman’s cabin, draped over the back of a chair. The woman’s clothes were draped over another chair. And in Sink’s pants, the deputy found the key to a High Point city-owned car that had been stolen the previous afternoon.
That’s enough to raise anybody’s eyebrows, much less the eyebrows of a suspicious deputy.
It got worse, though. Under intense questioning, Sink said he walked into Glenn’s cabin and found the bed on fire — with Glenn still in it — and he tried to save her, but she wouldn’t let him.
“He pulled her from the bed, he stated, but she jumped back in,” the local newspaper reported in a front-page article, which included photos of the charred bed and the stolen vehicle. “Sink said that he left the cabin and went back to sleep, leaving her there.”
Ooooooooo-kay, that’s a bit odd.
And then, the newspaper continued, Randolph County Sheriff Coble Maness said that Sink “attempted to give the appearance of being drunk when he was arrested, but that he was not in any drunken condition and was coherent.”
Hmm, now why would he do that?
Oh, and as for that stolen car? Sink told High Point police he had been with a friend the previous day who was driving the vehicle, and he had no knowledge that it had been stolen. Sink was charged anyway and tossed in jail under a $2,000 bond, remaining there as Randolph authorities continued to look into Glenn’s mysterious death.
An autopsy, however, showed no evidence of foul play, and investigators couldn’t find any evidence to pin the woman’s death on Sink. If the cause of the fire was ever determined, it was not reported. Sink was convicted of the car-theft charge and sentenced to three to five years in prison, but he was absolved in Glenn’s death.
So did Charlie Sink get away with murder? Or was his dubious account of what happened that morning actually the truth? It’s now 70 years later, and we’ll never know.
All we know is that Glenn lies buried in the Mount Pleasant Community Church Cemetery in Trinity. Her headstone has three inscriptions:
“An Inspiration To All Who Knew Her.”
“Gone But Not Forgotten.”
The stone makes no reference to the tragic way Glenn’s life ended — and that is probably for the best.