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LuminUS: Stories About Us
Rating: NR

46 Days: The Confessions of Ned Kellogg

This locally produced documentary investigates the brutal—and controversial—murder cases of two Kent, Ohio, women more than 70 years ago.

46 DAYS: THE CONFESSIONS OF NED KELLOGG was written and produced by Fred Endres, professor emeritus in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Kent State University.

Mae Wickline, a popular drugstore clerk, was killed while walking home from work on a snowy night in January 1945. With the town on edge, police questioned dozens of train riders, hobos and other suspects, eventually releasing all of them. Then, police brought in Ned Kellogg, a local mill worker, for what was supposed to be routine questioning. Kellogg, 51, had lived in Kent all his life and was well known around town. He was seen by most residents as being “slow” mentally and later would be found to have a mental age of seven. 

After being questioned by police for more than three hours, the intellectually disabled Kellogg admitted to “tussling” with Wickline that night. He denied killing her. Yet, a few weeks later, he shocked police by confessing to murdering another Kent woman in 1933. Mary Klincko had been choked, raped and stabbed to death as she walked home from her job at Black & Decker on Lake Street. The murder had become a cold case.

“This is where the case gets particularly intriguing,” said Endres. “The police chief from 1933 announced that Kellogg couldn’t have killed Klincko, because Kellogg was at work at the time of the murder. The chief also thought he was just seeking attention. Still, the police in 1945 believed both his confessions.” Kellogg was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Ohio Penitentiary without chance for pardon or parole. He died there in 1967 at the age of 73.

Endres says the documentary explores the two murders and Kellogg’s possible roles in them, along with the parts played by the attorneys, the court and the police. It also examines the place of the intellectually disabled in the local community and in the eyes of the police and courts 70 years ago, he said. 

“It’s a perplexing story,” Endres said. “These were horrible murders. Yet, in the end, people may not be sure if Kellogg killed both of the women, one of them, or neither of them. Other than his confessions, there just wasn’t much evidence against him.”

Veteran broadcast journalist John Butte narrates the documentary. Some videography and voice-overs were done by students in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Kent State. Endres has written two other documentaries that aired on PBS Western Reserve: THE ‘SOJER BOYS’ OF PORTAGE COUNTY and SÉANCES & SLOT MACHINES: THE STORY OF BRADY LAKE PARK.

Premiered on PBS Western Reserve, September 2016.