Elmer Boyd, last surviving Dallas investigator in JFK assassination, dead at 96

Elmer Boyd

CORSICANA, Texas — Elmer “Sonny” Boyd, the last surviving Dallas police homicide detective involved in investigating the assassination of President John F. Kenned in 1963, died May 24. He was 96.

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According to his obituary, Boyd, of Blooming Grove Texas, died in nearby Corsicana.

Boyd, who was born Sept. 21, 1927, in Cryer Creek, Texas, joined the Dallas Police Department on May 19, 1952 and became a detective on Oct. 15, 1957.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Boyd was supposed to be in a vehicle several cars behind Texas Gov. John Connally, the Corsicana Daily Sun reported. But his role was changed and he and his partner, Richard Sims, were assigned to the head table where Kennedy was supposed to sit during a luncheon at the Trade Mart in Dallas, according to the newspaper.

Kennedy never made it to the Trade Mart, as he was gunned down in Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

Boyd received a radio call about the shooting, and he and Sims were ordered to the Texas School Book Depository, KTXS-TV reported. He would lead the investigation at the book depository, according to the television station.

The two detectives found casings on the sixth floor, near the window.

Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected shooter of the president, was escorted to the Dallas police station by Boyd and Sims, KTXS-TV reported. He also took part in Oswald’s interrogation.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Lee Harvey Oswald killed our president and J.D. Tippit,” Boyd said in a 2021 interview.

In one photo, Boyd and Sims flank Oswald as they escorted him out of the Dallas jail, the Daily Sun reported.

“The first time I saw this picture, a guy from Ireland sent it to me in poster size,” Boyd told the newspaper in 2017. “He wanted me to sign it and send it back so he could put it up in his brother’s pub.”

According to his obituary, Boyd retired from the Dallas Police Department in 1978. He joined the Euless Police Department in October 1978 as a warrant officer then became a court administrator three years later. He permanently retired on Feb. 1, 1989.

In 2023, Boyd donated his firearms, cowboy hat, and the handcuffs used to restrain Oswald after his arrest to The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.

“I don’t claim to be an expert on this assassination -- all I know is what I did,” Boyd told the Daily Sun.

In a statement, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza called Boyd “a true Southern gentleman who will be missed.”

“Although reluctant to talk about his involvement for many years, we were honored when Elmer recorded an oral history in 2007 and later participated in a rare public program at our Museum,” the museum wrote in a Facebook post. “Last year, he generously donated his firearms, cowboy hat and the handcuffs used to restrain Lee Harvey Oswald after his arrest.”

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