Archive for December, 2011


DANA POINT- (CA)-Retired Los Angeles Police homicide Detective Stewart “Stu” Jones, of San Juan Capistrano, turned 100 years old on Christmas Day and regaled guests at his birthday party with tales from his life and career. Jones is the last living detective to have worked the Black Dahlia case, which has never been solved.

One crime-scene tip he offered – cooking coffee in an open saucepan and letting it steam – was a trick of the trade to cut the odor where murder had occurred and the body or bodies had been around awhile.

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Stewart “Stu” Jones, 100, celebrates with family at the Brig Restaurant in Dana Point Harbor on Wednesday evening.

Family and friends gathered this week to celebrate at the Brig Restaurant in Dana Point. Birthday cards, photos, news clippings and a retirement book of Jones’ life and career were spread across tables. The memorabilia depicted a young boy in a sailor suit, a rookie in a newspaper photo, several official LAPD photos and a traditional retirement cartoon about Jones and his many jobs on the force.

Working at first as a rookie, assigned to traffic, Jones moved on to the vice squad and the homicide division where in 1947 he was the second detective to arrive on the scene where a woman’s body had been found, cut in half. The case would become known as “The Black Dahlia” and remains unsolved today. In 1943, homicide victim Elizabeth Short, known as The Black Dahlia, had been taken in for underage drinking in Santa Barbara. Her booking photo from that year jumps out from its spot in Jones’ LAPD retirement book.

Relatives said Jones does not believe the Black Dahlia killer has been identified, although some relatives hint he has someone in mind, but it can’t be proven. Grandniece Linda Hart said Jones believes the killer was a butcher, surgeon or other medical professional from what he saw of Elizabeth Short’s body. He had accompanied the body to the morgue in order to identify the body and catalog the medical examiner’s findings.

In 1936, Jones followed his father into the LAPD; and in 1965, Jones retired to his home in San Juan Capistrano. His wife, Billie, died 10 years ago so Jones lives alone with the help of two caregivers.

“He has a beer with a shot of whiskey every day before dinner,” Hart said. “It’s the only thing he’s always done …. except for being a Chargers fan.”

Caregiver Yolanda Camarena says Jones will often scan the neighborhood with binoculars in search of anything out of the ordinary, taking note, and checking on it later and tipping off the O.C. Sheriff’s deputies when it’s not.

“He is such a gentleman, we laugh and joke a lot and bet on football … a quarter a game,” Camarena said.

Dr. John Chard, 75, of San Juan Capistrano, has served as Jones’ physician for the past 40 years.

“It’s his fault I’ve lived so long,” Jones said, pointing out over his Corona beer and empty whiskey glass.

“He makes my practice look good,” Chard said.

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