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One facet of Senator Robert F. Kennedy's assassination surrounds a female that members of the public have sought over fifty years, and officials have sought to dispel. Yet the story is not as simple or as definitive as some claim on both sides of the debate. This historical argument has rendered a convoluted, sometimes verifiable, and speculative patchwork over the years. Some claim there was only a single nefarious female responsible for everything suspicious occasion cited but others claim it all was just an unreliable witness hoax, yet substantial evidence does not fully support either proposition. 

The allegations reportedly began with the statements of eyewitness Sandra Serrano who claimed a couple ran by her on a stairway outside the Ambassador Hotel and yelled "We shot him" as they fled the scene. Witness Vincent DiPierro originally confirmed Serrano's claims of a female in a white dress with black polka dots being present at the crime scene and possibly interacting with Sirhan Sirhan. Los Angeles Police Sergeant Paul Sharaga additionally claimed that local witnesses spotted an unidentified couple running and shouting, "We shot him". The report filed by Sergeant Sharaga would vanish and he would publicly dispute a later offered summary. Subsequently, both Serrano and DiPierro would change and recant their original claims due to official pressures, inconsistent aspects of their statements, and the desire of the Los Angeles Police to label the claims a hoax and declare they had no foundation in evidence.

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Serrano presents a public witness supporting conspiracy that officials and critics use attempting to discredit all related allegations of conspiracy relying on evidence. DiPierro recanted but later supports official declarations to explain his troublesome earlier description of the unknown female. However, several witnesses unconnected with Serrano or DiPierro consistently observe multiple females that fit portions or several traits of the unknown female. Complied for your review is evidence with a list of several candidates for comparison to the official and public allegations.  

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Valerie Schulte: : The most cited official candidate to explain the unknown female Vincent DiPierro mentioned in a polka dot dress relies on wholly ignoring several problems. Officials speculated that Kennedy campaign worker Valerie Schulte was this woman because she was present in the Ambassador Pantry during the attack on Senator Kennedy. Schulte is Caucasian, 22, medium height, slim, had long blonde hair, is wearing a lime green dress with irregular sized yellow polka dots, and wore a leg cast. Yet Schulte herself declared in the press and during official questioning she could not be the female observed because of her leg cast from a skiing accident prior to these events. Thus without the ability to run she cannot be the person multiple witnesses claimed to observe. Officials assumed Schulte was the only possible female candidate in the room
and evidence would later dispute this.

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Sharon Rothschild: She is among the largely unknown and unlikely possibilities in the case quietly suggested by officials before they chose to deem most allegations of a polka dot dressed female as being a hoax. Rothschild was a Caucasian female, 22, 5'4, 120 lbs, had red hair wrapped in a white scarf, blue-green eyes, and wore a dark brown dress covered in white polka dots. Officials cite her as being a possibility because of her polka dot dress but her varying physical characteristics, dress colors, and location do not support the description most witnesses offered.

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Rosemary Kovack:  She was Caucasian, in her 50s, and dressed in a white and black checkered top and skirt eyewitness John Ludlow mistook for being a white dress with black polka dots. However, the Los Angeles Police were feasibly incorrect regarding her age because a media report of her death the next year states Kovack was 43. She yelled, "They shot him" to various witnesses as she ran from an Embassy Room doorway with her adult son Michael Kovack at the scene which supports a couple did run from the hotel shouting. Similar to the account of Sandra Serrano they ran down a set of outer stairs and past the area other witnesses observed a fleeing couple. The Kovacks dashed to their car on Catalina Street and Michael Kovack noted that he spoke to passerby as they ran to their car about the incident which might explain the witness reports of a fleeing couple running down the street offered by Paul Sharaga. Yet she was too old to be the unknown female and her outfit was not a polka dot dress, but Kovack and her son's actions did influence some witness statements.

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Lucille Fried aka Lucy Cloyd: Fried was a reported member of the Southern California District Communist Party and one informant told officials she was a polka dot dress candidate. Officials depict her as Caucasian, 26, 5'2, 120 lbs, with blue eyes and Fried likely was considered due to her reported Communist ties and official interest in Sirhan possibly being linked to them via this woman. Yet there is no substantial testimony or evidence she was present at the crime scene and lacking this no reason to believe she is the unknown female sought.

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Robin Casden: The youngest of the possible identified candidates offered in the hotel pantry during the attack on Senator Kennedy is Robin Casden. Official reports offer that she is 16, Caucasian, 5'3, 120 lbs, has long brown hair in a ponytail with a white bow, and sported a white dress with white floral embroidery. After the shooting ceased, she had several spots of blood on her dress and was hysterical according to her interview. Multiple witnesses inform officials as she ran from the pantry to the ballroom Casden yelled, "We shot him".

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Barbara Rubin: She and her husband were both present in the hotel pantry during the shots and officials describe her as a Caucasian female, 33, 5'5, olive complexion, brown shoulder length hair in a bouffant style and brown eyes. She was wearing a white dress, red belt, a bright red and white checkered jacket, and two-inch heels. She ran out of the pantry with her husband to the Ambassador Ballroom following the shots. Rubin according to LAPD report likely pulled down Valerie Schulte to protect her and this marks two candidates closely interacting. It may further explain Vincent DiPierro's observation of a female with the physical traits matching his original description near Valerie Schulte. Rubin also believed that she and her husband fit the general description of the unknown couple mentioned by witnesses.

Cathy Sue Fulmer aka Sandy RossiFulmer is depicted as 19, 5'6, 135 lbs, hazel eyes, brown hair, wore a dark green suit, green scarf with orange polka dots, and a blonde wig. She worked as a dancer in the Ambassador and reportedly yelled, "They shot him" or "They killed him" as she ran from the scene according to her original statement. Conversely, following her death a witness told officials Fulmer privately admitted shouting, "We killed him" as she hysterically ran through the Ambassador Hotel. She told this witness she was frightened by the sounds of gunfire and meant "We, the American people" had killed Kennedy. This is quite similar to the statements of Sandra Serrano and other witnesses in the area. Unfortunately, Fulmer is not dressed correctly and was not in the pantry area when the shots were fired. However, multiple witnesses noted her green scarf with orange polka
dots and exclamations that would explain portions of some witness statements
discounted by officials.   

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Kris Sumpter: She was an employee of the Ambassador Hotel that was ascending a stairway connected to the Embassy Ballroom when the shots were fired. Sumpter was noted by officials to have been a possible candidate for the unidentified female in a polka dot dress and is described as 21, 5'1, 150 lbs, brown eyes and hair, wearing a white blouse with small black polka dots and a black skirt. While her blouse was quite similar to the unknown female, her physical characteristics do not match the most cited female and Sumpter's location would preclude being observed in the hotel pantry during the attack.

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Arlene Ellis: Ellis is 23, 5'4, 135 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes, and wore a black and white polka dot dress. During the shots, she was located in Jesse Unruh's hotel suite where some Kennedy supporters had prior gathered. Ellis notes observing a woman in a black and white or black and red polka dot dress, in her 20s, 5'7, near the Jewel Box shop within the Ambassador Hotel during the evening. Notably if the woman observed wore a red and white outfit this might reference the outfit of Barbara Rubin, the height in her two-inch heels matches, and prior confusion feasibly made checkered patterns look similar to polka dots. No matter the unidentified woman's identity, this further confirms the presence of several women at the Ambassador Hotel wearing similar polka dot emblazoned clothing of varying styles and colors. Officials relate due to her position, Ellis cannot be the female allegedly observed near Sirhan during the gunfire.   

While outstanding questions and claims remain, the evidence suggests multiple prior critics and proponents of conspiracy have presumed much without offering substantial evidence. If we account for possible other future candidates still undiscovered in the primary documents, the chaotic and hysterical crowds, the public speculations, and the desire of officials to discredit all mention of conspiracy, the facts are not as clear as some imagine. To determine eventually who this unknown female ultimately was shall require verification based on the facts and not merely largely speculative claims offered by some advocates and officials.

Related Podcasts
50 Years of Polka Dots

Research by: C.A.A. Savastano and Larry Hancock