“Darling Dottie, I want to…kiss your pretty pink toes”
Blonde, blue-eyed, sexy and petite Dorothy Keenan left home, a slum in New York, in 1915 when she was 19 years old. Like many attractive teenagers, she became a model and worked for a dress shop on Fifth Avenue. Under the name Dot King she was soon noticed by New York’s playboys and began to be seen regularly on the arms of some of Manhattan’s most eligible men at the hottest nightspots.
Upon the advent of Prohibition in January 1920 she became the hostess of a speakeasy and soon saw her name in the press, usually accompanied by the nickname the “Broadway Butterfly”. Sugar daddies paid for her outfits and one — Dot claimed that she only knew him as Mr Marshall — paid for her apartment at 144 West 57th Street, near Carnegie Hall. Other beaux presented her with jewellery said to be worth $30,000.
A gigolo called Alberto Santos Guimares befriended Dot and then moved in with her. Twice a week Mr Marshall spent the night with Dot and on those nights Guimares found an alternative berth. Dot paid for the gigolo’s clothes and sent some of the money given to her by Mr Marshall to her mother. However, unbeknown to Dot, Guimares was also romancing rich socialite Aurelia Dreyfus. In 1922 he beat up Dot for the first time and then made a regular habit of it. Her friends begged her to leave him but she replied, “Someday Alberto will marry me.” It was not to be.
On 15 March 1923 Dot was found dead in bed. Her face was scratched and her mouth burned by chloroform. Her apartment had been robbed and police found love letters from Mr Marshall, one of which read in part, “Darling Dottie, I want to see you, o so much! And to kiss your pretty pink toes.” Mr Marshall turned out to be John Kearsley Mitchell, the married son-in-law of a multi-millionaire. He was arrested but was later released without charge. Guimares was questioned but he told police that he had been with Aurelia Dreyfus at the time of Dot King’s murder and was released.
144 West 57th Street, New York City, USA
Thursday 15 March 1923
In 1924 Amelia Dreyfus mysteriously fell to her death from a Washington DC hotel balcony. In her effects was an affidavit swearing Guimares had not been with her the night of Dot’s death and that she had committed perjury. Guimares was not charged and he died in 1953, aged 63.