At 7:30 a.m. on the morning of February 2, 1922, the body of William Desmond Taylor was found inside his bungalow at the Alvarado Court Apartments, 404-B South Alvarado Street, in the Westlake Park area of downtown Los Angeles, California, which was then known as a trendy and affluent neighbourhood.
A crowd gathered inside and someone identifying himself as a doctor stepped forward, made a cursory examination of the body, declared the victim had died of a stomach hemorrhage and was never seen again, perhaps out of embarrassment, because sometime later doubts arose, the body was rolled over and it was discovered the 49-year-old film director had been shot in the back.
In Taylor's pockets were a wallet holding $78, a silver cigarette case, a Waltham pocket watch and an ivory toothpick. A two carat (400 mg) diamond ring was on his finger. A large but undetermined sum of cash which Taylor had shown to his accountant the day before was missing and apparently never accounted for. After some investigation, the time of Taylor's death was set at 7:50 in the evening of February 1, 1922. Whilst being interviewed by the police five days after the director's body was found, (Mary Miles) Minter said that following the murder a friend, director and actor Marshall Neilan, told her Taylor had made several highly "delusional" statements about some of his social acquaintances (including her) during the weeks before his death. She also said Neilan thought Taylor had recently become "insane."
William Desmond Taylor is buried under his birth name "William Cunningham Deane-Tanner" in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollwood, California.