Black Dahlia Murder Suspect
Leslie Dillon was a 27-year-old bellhop and aspiring writer who became a suspect in the case when he began writing to LAPD police psychiatrist Dr. J. Paul De River in October 1948. Dillon was living in Florida at the time of his correspondence with De River, but had formerly lived in Los Angeles. Dillon read a story about the case in a "true detective" magazine in which De River was quoted and wrote to De River regarding his thoughts on the case, mentioning another man named Jeff Connors as a possible suspect. Over the course of their correspondence, De River began to believe that Connors was a figment of Dillon's imagination and that Dillon had committed the murder himself. De River then lured Dillon to Los Angeles on the pretext that Dillon would assist him in solving the case. De River and several LAPD officers met Dillon as he made his way to Los Angeles and took him to a hotel room outside Los Angeles. There they questioned him about the murder for several days, refusing to let him leave, call a lawyer, or communicate with anyone else. Dillon was only discovered when a passerby found a postcard with a plea for help on it, which Dillon had thrown out the window of the hotel room, and contacted local police.
Once Dillon's situation came to light, police soon discovered that Jeff Connors was a real person who had lived in Los Angeles around the time of the murder and that Leslie Dillon could be conclusively placed in San Francisco at the time of the murder. Dillon filed a $100,000 claim against the city of Los Angeles. The scandal caused by the Dillon affair triggered a 1949 grand jury investigation of police handling of the Black Dahlia case and some other unsolved murders. In 2004, De River's daughter, Jacque Daniel, published a book called The Curse of the Black Dahlia, in which she expressed her belief that her father had been unfairly maligned for the Dillon affair.
Dillon later filed a $100,000 claim against the City of Los Angeles but quickly dropped the lawsuit after it came to light that he was wanted by Santa Monica police for robbing the vault of a Santa Monica hotel while employed there as a bellhop a few years earlier.
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