Edward F. Sands

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Edward F. Sands, a.k.a. Edward Fitzgerald Snyder

Edward F. Sands, born Edward Fitzgerald Snyder, a.k.a. Edward Fitzwilliam Strathmore, a.k.a. Jazz, (April 4, 1894 in Marion, Ohio - ?) was a suspect in the murder of Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor on February 1, 1922. [1]

Edward Sands had been employed as Taylor's personal assistant, serving as cook and valet. Although he was born in Ohio, he spoke with an affected English accent (screen star Mary Miles Minter referred to him as a cockney). Taylor left Sands in charge of his affairs during a vacation in 1921 and returned to find Sands gone and several of the director's possessions missing including his car, chequebook, a large supply of distinctive cigarettes and jewelry. Sands had cashed several blank cheques left by Taylor and, using the stolen checkbook, began forging Taylor's signature.

A few months later Taylor received a letter from Sands which included a pawn ticket in the name of William Deane Tanner (Taylor's birth name), indicating that Sands knew Taylor's true identity, which Taylor had kept secret since his arrival in Hollywood eight years earlier. Sands seems to have returned clandestinely. One of the distinctive, stolen cigarettes was found (smoked and crushed) on Taylor's doorstep and footprints were left on Taylor's bed. Some more of Taylor's jewelry was stolen and receipts were found showing Sands had sold the items in northern California. [2]

An eyewitness reported seeing someone leaving Taylor's bungalow around the time he was murdered, but her description does not fully match Sands' appearance.[2] The police considered Sands a strong suspect, but never issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with the murder. Sands reportedly quit a job in northern California and disappeared the day of the murder. Subsequent investigations turned up evidence he had likely been arrested previously for petty crimes and had apparently deserted from the United States Coast Guard.[3] Sands was never found.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Badly Wanted". Time (magazine). August 26, 1929. Retrieved 2007-07-21. Edward F. Sands, 34, 5 ft 5 in., for the murder of William Desmond Taylor, cinema director, whose butler he was. Questioned in this case were Cinemactresses Mabel Normand, last to see Taylor alive, and Mary Miles Minter whose lingerie and love letters were found in the Taylor apartment. 
  2. ^ a b Taylorology
  3. ^ Giroux, p. 116-7.

Further reading[edit]

  • Giroux, Robert, A Deed of Death: The Story Behind the Unsolved Murder of Hollywood Director William Desmond Taylor. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1990. ISBN 0-394-58075-3