Each time I drive across the Robert F. Kennedy memorial bridge as I pass from Queens to the Bronx and sometimes Manhattan, I think about his importance to the State of New York and the United States. The former attorney general, senator and presidential candidate was one of the most polarizing figures of his time. His murder on June 5, 1968, shocked the world leaving millions of people speechless about what they had just learned. A young Jordanian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan was later tried and convicted for the murder and the case is considered solved in Los Angeles County. Similar to the murder of John F. Kennedy 5 years earlier in Dallas, Texas, upon closer examination, many disturbing facts emerge that cast a chilling doubt over the official story.
Fernando Faura worked for the Hollywood Citizens News at the time of the murder, and subsequently began his own investigation into one aspect of the crime that has never been solved; the identity and role of the woman in the polka dot dress seen exiting the Ambassador Hotel while declaring “we shot him”. To this day she remains a mystery. What we do know is that several witnesses all confirmed that not only was she there but that she did in fact make the declaration of Kennedy having been shot. Unsatisfied with the LAPD’s official story, Faura began his own research into the crime and his incredible journey to find the truth is documented in this excellent account that he calls the polka dot file.
Some researchers into the murder of John F. Kennedy have said that the murder of Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippitt is the Rosetta Stone of the crime. Like Dallas, the woman in the polka-dot dress is the Rosetta Stone of this crime and as we see through Faura’s notes, finding her was similar to looking for a needle in a haystack. The crime occurred in the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department, but as Faura points out, more than 400 FBI agents worked the case. The FBI’s investigation contradicted some of the LAPD’s findings and remain disputed. Witnesses to the crime were badgered and coerced into changing their stories by the LAPD and photographs of the crime taken as it happened by a 15-year-old fan of Kennedy, disappeared while in police custody. The originals have never been found. The LAPD made a mockery of the investigation, ignoring many clues and witnesses and in the process, allowed Sirhan to be convicted while the other conspirators escaped.
But just why is the woman in the polka dot dress so important? It is alleged that three prior to the murder, she was seen in Sirhan’s company and even on the night of the murder. Further, it is also alleged that she was seen in the company of Anne Chennault, the wife of the late Claire Chennault, founder of the Flying Tigers. Chennault has long been suspected of helping Richard Nixon with getting the South Vietnamese government to refuse to attend the Paris Peace Talks to the chagrin of President Johnson. At this point in his life, Kennedy was fiercely against the war and the possibility that his assassin was in the company of a woman linked to Chennault, friend of Nixon and acquaintance of many in the South Vietnamese government, would have added a mind-blowing and treasonous element to the investigation. The results would have been far-reaching, possibly all the way to the White House.
Faura’s pursuit of the woman resulted in several important interviews that shed light on the events of that night. It should be noted that the witnesses stuck to their stories and one of them, John Fahey, even took a polygraph examination, passing on all but two questions asked of him. Sandra Serrano, castigated by the LAPD, is vindicated here and her testimony is corroborated by others. Sadly, Serrano and many other witnesses were either discounted or ignored by investigators. The chance to learn exactly who the woman in the polka dot dress was, had been lost to history. We can only speculate as to who she might have been or what her motives were or if she’s still alive. She was seen in the company of at least one male companion. His identity is also unknown. Faura was on the right path in his investigation. The refusal of the LAPD to be more cooperative and their efforts to sabotage his investigation are regrettable and disheartening for the truth about Kennedy’s murder might never be known in full. If things had gone different, perhaps history would be telling a different story surrounding the murder of Robert Francis Kennedy.