Black Dahlia: Leslie Dillon, Paul De River and the LAPD — Part 1

True Detective

The Paul De River/Leslie Dillon/LAPD coverup conspiracy theory in the 1947 Black Dahlia murder is getting some traction with the upcoming release of Piu Eatwell’s “Black Dahlia, Red Rose,” which purports to “solve” the Dahlia case.

Spoiler alert

New Aster Motel, Figueroa
The New Aster Motel, via Google Street View.

Summary: Dillon did it. At the Aster Motel on South Figueroa (and yes, it’s still there as the New Aster Motel).

This is the magazine that started it all: The October 1948 issue of True Detective, which carried an article by George Clark titled “The Black Dahlia Murders.” Clark’s article summarized the Jan. 15, 1947, Black Dahlia killing along with the unsolved slayings of Jeanne French, Evelyn Winters and Laura Trelstad. Knowing the tastes of “True Detective” readers, Clark also tossed in seven unsolved killings in San Diego (where Elizabeth Short spent about a month around Christmas 1946) beginning with the 1931 killing of Virginia Brooks.

This article was seen by Leslie Duane Dillon, who was living in Florida at the time. Dillon wrote a letter to Dr. Joseph Paul De River, identified in the article as “an eminent psychiatrist and head of the Sex Offence Bureau of the Los Angeles Police Department.”

This was followed by correspondence and phone calls between De River and Dillon, who called himself “Jack Sand” for reasons that only he knew. Ultimately, De River developed the theory that Dillon had a split personality and killed Elizabeth Short while under his alter ego of “Jack Sand.”

No, really.  He thought that.

To be continued … as time permits.


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Cold Cases, LAPD and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Black Dahlia: Leslie Dillon, Paul De River and the LAPD — Part 1

  1. Eve says:

    None of the ladies on the True Detective cover looks like she’s about to be murdered. They all look like you just asked them “can you tell whether or not we switched your coffee with Folger’s Instant crystals?”


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