Dorothy Stratten Crime Scene: What the Coroner Found

The disturbing and gruesome crime scene of Dorothy Stratten, the Playmate of Playboy, underscores the horrors she endured in moments of her life.

She was just 20 years old. Found in a nearby Dairy Queen, she was a small-town Canadian girl who was romantically involved with a renowned director (Peter Bogdanovich) and had recently been crowned the 1980 Playboy Playmate of the year. Dorothy Stratten’s fame was on the rise, and her radiant charm was being likened to that of Marilyn Monroe. All of these accomplishments must have been exhilarating.

According to court records and an interview given by Bogdanovich to Vulture, Snider was further infuriated by the fact that he was not allowed to enter the Playboy Mansion without Dorothy by his side. He was deeply saddened and enraged because Dorothy was having an affair with Bogdanovich (the director of a film she was starring in) and was determined to leave him, which made him even more despondent and enraged. On the other hand, Dorothy’s life was tragically cut short by Paul Snider, the man who discovered her and later became her husband. Snider, a small-town hustler and promoter of events like auto shows, was also a pimp.

What information was uncovered at the site of the crime, however? What did the report from the medical examiner indicate?

Here is the information you should be aware of:

The Associated Press, in an article dated August 16, 1980, described the findings in the Los Angeles-area residence and provided a detailed account of the forensic evidence and the information that could be gathered from the scene, as reported by news sources at that time, including the autopsy report.

On the Internet, a graphic and unsettling crime scene image has been extensively circulated, depicting the following scenario: Dorothy’s unclothed corpse “was discovered spread out on a bed in close proximity to her separated spouse.”

Snider was also unclothed. The corpses had been there for a whole day. Paul Snider “was discovered hunched over the firearm.” Dorothy had been shot in the facial region with a shotgun.

The depiction in that article is both visually striking and deeply unsettling. As stated by The Village Voice in 1980, investigators discovered bloodied handprints on Stratten’s buttocks.

The article stated that Dorothy had apparently been sodomized, although it is unclear whether this happened before or after her death. The article also mentioned that long strands of blonde hair, both unused and used, were discovered in Snider’s hand, along with handmade bondage tape loops on Paul’s rack near her head. There were bloody handprints on her left leg and buttocks, and her body appeared to have been moved after the blast.

Lt. Dan Cooke told the police at the time that Snider was despondent over the breakup of his marriage, which apparently was the motive for the fateful day when she returned to talk about their marital problems but left and shared that she had died in Snider’s home.

With complete intensity, her naked figure, taunting the gentle, relaxed positions of her pictures, was fragmented and her face remained strangely unaltered by the brutality towards her facial expression. The Detroit Free Press reported on November 16, 1980, detailing how “Stratten’s blonde hair fell in its natural state”.

On August 17, 1980, UPI stated:

Investigators discovered the 12-gauge shotgun under Snider’s corpse.

The bodies were discovered in the house “by acquaintances.” Stratten passed away “due to a gunshot wound to the face, seemingly caused by her separated spouse who subsequently took his own life.”

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Snider sexually assaulted Stratten and then killed her. The official report from the coroner verified that Stratten had been fatally shot in the face, as stated in an article by the Associated Press in August 1980.

“The Village Voice article on the case, which won the Pulitzer Prize and served as the inspiration for the movie Star 80, initially referred to the incident as a potential murder but questioned the possibility of it being a suicide. According to the coroner’s report, both Stratten and Snider, who had tied the knot in 1979, passed away due to gunshots to their heads.”

According to the book Picture Shows: The Life and Films of Peter Bogdanovich, Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner Thomas T. Noguchi later declared that Paul Snider fatally shot Dorothy in the head, before turning the firearm towards himself and pulling the trigger. However, the initial statement made by Noguchi was somewhat unclear.

The police claimed that the forensic analysis of the crime scene was complicated by the fact that they were unable to scientifically determine whether or not Snider had fired the shotgun, as his hands were coated with tissue and blood.

Snider’s conviction that he was relinquishing authority over Stratten stemmed from his suspicion that Mariel Hemingway, the actress cast as Dorothy in the film Star 80, was the driving force behind it.

Hemingway conveyed to ABC that as she began to fade away, he gradually comprehended that he possessed nothing. No one was praising him, he was not engaged in any activities. Hugh Hefner will not reciprocate his call… And subsequently, this profound, profound, profound, eerie sensation that was occurring within him seized command and he completely lost control.

“AP told him that it had to be an act of passion, is it beyond my comprehension. He was accompanied by Statten and before the day, the Snider, with whom he had hired Goldstein, Marc, as a private investigator, had spoken.”

According to the Edmonton Journal, the gunshot penetrated above her left eye. Dorothy’s corpse was discovered “hunched over the bottom corner of a low bed. Both knees were on the carpet and her right shoulder was sagging.” Stratten’s handbag was situated in the center of the living room floor with a message in Paul’s handwriting “detailing his economic hardship.”

Dorothy Stratten declared in a statement released by Bogdanovich after her death. She was incredibly stunning – in every conceivable manner – with her heart being particularly filled with beauty. Additionally, she possessed intelligence and talent as an actress.

The 1980 article in the Edmonton Journal reported that Snider “found” love letters and poems from Stratten, proving that Stratten was having an affair, which Goldstein, the private investigator, wanted to research more. However, Bogdanovich expected that Snider could not prove it.

According to The Journal, Snider expressed his fear of never being able to see her again and his sense of losing control. Overwhelmed with emotion, he contacted a photographer friend while in tears, explaining that he was unable to physically interact with or be close to Dorothy. It was revealed that Bogdanovich had gone on a trip to London with Dorothy.

She was truly living in Bel Air in Bogdanovich’s film Peter. She was really living in Peter with Bogdanovich’s personal assistant in Edmonton. It was the person who really lived in it, but she had moved into the Beverly Hills apartment on the paper. She didn’t go to the apartment, but she had moved into another apartment, Dorothy had told her. He was only told that he could come with Dorothy if he tried to finagle an invitation. Knowing that Hugh Hefner was planning a Midsummer Night’s Dream party at the Playboy Mansion.

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Dorothy wanted to end the relationship and confess her love for Bogdanovich during lunch, which turned out to be a fatal decision. “The queen is coming back,” he told his friends. They then agreed to meet on August 8, 1980, for lunch and Stratten went to an event with a playmate to showcase the state of their relationship.

The Journal reported that Snider was buying a Mossberg 12-gauge pump-action shotgun to learn how to fire and load it for a murder plot in motion.

Stratten’s estate and Peter Bogdanovich filed a lawsuit against Goldstein in 1985, with the court records providing more details. The court case included interrogatories from Peter Bogdanovich, which contained the court records’ responses.

According to the records, it is stated that Snider was feeling “distressed and hopeless” due to various reasons, including the troubles in his marriage with Stratten and the fact that Stratten was romantically linked with Bogdanovich.” Additionally, Snider attempted to buy a firearm. Bogdanovich mentioned in the court documents that Snider had acquired a firearm and had previously borrowed a handgun from someone named “Chip,” which he later returned to the individual.

According to Bogdanovich, he believed that Snider was infuriated by this situation and accompanied Stratten unless he had been barred from the Playboy mansion. Furthermore, Snider claimed that he was involved with perverse sex and drugs at the time, which upset him regarding the breakup of his marriage and his desire to purchase a gun. Bogdanovich believed that the breakup of Snider’s marriage to Stratten was “imminent.”

Bogdanovich stated that Snider had organized a rendezvous with Stratten once he knew that she “wished to end the marriage and after Snider had bought a firearm.” Stratten upheld the scheduled meeting with Snider on August 14, 1980. According to court documents, Stratten Dorothy Snider was exhibiting signs of moodiness, distress, and/or despair in the days leading up to her death.

Paul Snider Became Dorothy’s Svengali After Spotting Her in a Dairy Queen, But He Was Enraged When She Tried to Leave Him

Dorothy, the mother who worked in a cafeteria at a school to make ends meet, also worked at a restaurant chain serving ice cream. According to a 1980 article by the Associated Press, he walked into the Queen Dairy store in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Dorothy worked, shortly after her death. It was then that Snider, known as a young woman responsible for making ends meet, began working as Ruth Dorothy Hoogstraten.

According to IMDB, Snider persuaded her to send pictures to Playboy after coming across an advertisement for the magazine’s 25th Anniversary Playmate hunt in 1978. Despite Playboy’s interest, Candy Loving outshined her that year. Nevertheless, she eventually became a playmate in the subsequent year. The innocent and trusting girl from a small town ventured into the bustling city, resulting in a collision of different lifestyles.

Actor Max Baer Jr., One of Snider’s acquaintances, expressed to ABC, “She didn’t have faith in the honesty of everyone, and all the deceivers flocked to [Los Angeles].” I remarked, “‘If you genuinely care about her…Take her back to Vancouver. This is not where she belongs.’ I added, ‘She possesses kindness. She has an exceptional physique, a stunning countenance, and this city will ruin her.'” And he replied, ‘Indeed.’ I inquired [to Snider], ‘Are you concerned about her?’

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However, he did not bring her back to Vancouver. Instead, it was Snider who ruined her.

Monroe’s comparisons to Marilyn drew attention to the sensual and vulnerable aspects of her persona, which later would be described by Hugh Hefner as “magic.” Before becoming Snider’s secretary, Dorothy thought he was only her second boyfriend, but she immediately realized that he promised her article placements and jewelry to manipulate her. Snider, who was described as a star wannabe and “promoter” on IMDB, stayed out of trouble but grew up in a rough neighborhood, according to IMDB’s profile of Stratten.

Of Snider, Hefner would describe him as “extremely ill.”

Snider was raised in Vancouver in an unstable household, pursued a career in bodybuilding, frequented nightclubs, began organizing car exhibitions, gained the nickname the “Jewish Pimp,” and was recognized for his flamboyant attire, such as sporting a mink coat. As reported by the Village Voice, he owned a Mercedes adorned with a license plate that displayed “STAR 80,” which eventually inspired the title of a Hollywood film about Stratten.

It was the era when he used to drive a luxurious gold limousine around Los Angeles. He earned a pretty good living as a promoter for cycling and car shows. Teresa Carpenter from ABC told Snider that he made a lot of money. Although he was literally a pimp and had women working as prostitutes, he couldn’t make enough money. She mentioned that he could be seen flashing his Star jeweled David necklace or driving his black Corvette around town. He was always seeking attention and loved to show off.

It took me two weeks to agree… I had never taken off my clothes for anyone before “He took some test pictures of me while we were talking,” said Stratten. Stratten said that he took some test pictures of her while they were talking… Carpenter told ABC that Snider took Stratten to her senior prom when he was 26 years old, which was reported by ABC, “He didn’t keep a low profile.”

Dorothy Snider’s plans involved working in Hollywood, where she moved after her few acting roles placed her on the ultimate cusp of fame, including Playboy.

Dorothy soon found herself in a spot, like Galaxina movies, where she had just completed her first major film production, Laughed All They, directed by the famous Peter Bogdanovich, known for The Last Picture Show. This happened at the time of her death.

Dorothy, at the age of 20, had a weight of 123 pounds and possessed measurements of 36-24-36. She had a height of 5’9″ as per her Playboy statistics. Unfortunately, Snider, who was merely 29 years old, passed away.

Paul Snider portrayed Eric Roberts, the thespian in Star80, the film based on Stratten’s life and demise, which was adapted into The Village Voice article by Teresa Carpenter, according to The New York Times.

“You can read the article here; it rejected the simplistic narrative that Stratten, a small-town girl who died because of the fast lane, was at fault for Paul Snider’s death, saying that the death was Paul Snider’s fault alone.”

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