Joseph A. Dumais, a twenty-nine-year-old soldier stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey, was one of the many false confessors in the Black Dahlia murder. He confessed to the murder just few weeks after it occurred.
Dumais had originally been a prominent suspect in Elizabeth Short’s murder, and his photo first appeared on the front page of The Herald-Express in early 1947. Dumais offered LAPD detectives a fifty-page statement on how he had dated Elizabeth on January 9 or 10 in 1947 before blacking out for several days. He believed that he had killed Elizabeth during his blackout.
However, Dumais had been seen at Fort Dix in New Jersey on January 10, 11, 12, and 17 of 1947, making it impossible for him to have either dated or killed Elizabeth Short.
The papers stopped covering his story after that, knowing his confession must have been a hoax. He popped up in the papers again in September 1948 when he was busted in Evanston, Illinois for car theft. He told the Evanston police that he was held for eighty-three days in army detention at Fort Dix for being connected to the murder of his “wife,” Elizabeth Short. Dumais claimed that he had known her as Eunice Fortune.
The Evanston police contacted the LAPD and quickly falsified Dumais’s statement. His confession to Elizabeth Short’s murder had already been disproved. His claim that he had married Elizabeth in 1937 was also impossible, as she would have been twelve years old at the time.
Dumais was permanently cleared of any involvement with Elizabeth Short’s murder. However, he continued to claim that he killed Elizabeth Short every time he was arrested for various offenses, well into the 1950s.