Who murdered the Broadway Butterfly?

Dorothy “Dot” King was a 28-year-old Jazz Age party girl with a nominal career as an artist’s model-slash-actress (hence her Broadway nickname) and lots of gentlemen callers.

When her maid found her lifeless body one morning in March 1923—she’d been chloroformed to death in her West 57th Street apartment—all of New York tried to figure out who killed her.

According to reports, thousands of dollars in jewelry was missing from her apartment—perhaps she’d been the victim of a burglary.

Was it an overdose? Chloroform was a party drug in the 1920s, so investigators thought she may have offed herself, intentionally or not.

Dot also had ties to a wealthy older benefactor she had dinner with at the Hotel Brevoort the night she died. He claimed they were just friends.

Police ended up arresting her con man boyfriend, Albert Guimares, but he had an alibi. Other possible killers included an ex-husband and her tough laundress mother.

In the end, no one was ever tried. Three movies based on her case later, Dot’s murder remains unsolved.

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3 Responses to “Who murdered the Broadway Butterfly?”

  1. kara Says:

    What were the 3 movies based on her case?

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    A 1929 film The Canary Murder Case, 1934’s Upperworld, and the 1940s noir Naked City all feature murders similar to Dot King’s.

  3. travis Says:

    The black maid did it as a robbery and revenge for alleged mistreatment of her by King. I went to school with a young kid ,black, in the 90’s in NYC who told me his great great grandma was the maid and the family was shocked that the cops never arrested her even though they knew she did it. Apparently ,the cops were telling her rich lovers they would expose their deviant sexual habits and arrest them if they did not keep paying them off, which they all did for years after.So arresting the maid was worthless as opposed to shaking down the rich.

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