Details of Disappearance
Gladys was last seen in San Lorenzo, California on January 9, 1982. Her husband, Irving Conklin II, said she frequently wandered as a result of her Alzheimer's Disease, sometimes taking the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system for transportation.
Irving kept the front gate padlocked, but on the day of her disappearance he took a nap and forgot to lock the gate. When he woke up, Gladys was gone. Her husband said he thought she went missing sometime between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. No one besides Irving said they had seen her for about 24 hours prior to her reported disappearance.
When police went to the Conklin house to take the missing persons report, they noticed the yard had been freshly tilled. Irving said it had been routine gardening. Authorities also discovered Irving had withdrawn $20,000 from the couple's bank account just before Gladys disappeared; he said the money was to put her in a nursing home.
Those who knew the Conklins stated Irving and Gladys were devoted to each other. Although many people, including Irving's own son, theorized he had murdered his wife, friends of the family thought he might have done so to spare her from suffering the slow decline of Alzheimer's Disease rather than out of malice.
Irving died in 1988; he was never charged in Gladys's disappearance.
Gladys and Irving operated a goat farm in Oregon for a decade after their 1934 marriage, then moved to California. Gladys was the first children's librarian in Hayward, California; she took the position in 1950. She wrote 25 children's books about insects and other nature topics, and they sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Her case remains unsolved.