LAPD detective commits suicide after molestation allegations, authorities say
By Joel Rubin, Richard Winton, Kate Mather / LA Times
December 05, 2014 / 9:11 p.m.
A detective for the Los Angeles Police Department who once investigated sexual assault cases killed himself Thanksgiving morning after two relatives accused him of sexually abusing them, authorities said Friday.
The body of Dennis Derr, 52, a 17-year LAPD veteran, was found in his car in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Palmdale, law enforcement officials said. Derr died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter.
Brian Hudson, a sergeant in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau, confirmed two adults made sexual abuse allegations against Derr shortly before he committed suicide. Hudson declined to provide any other details about the investigation into Derr, but other sheriff’s and LAPD sources with knowledge of the case said the two accusers were relatives of Derr.
Philip Derr, the detective’s son, said in an interview that two adult men related to Derr recently confided in each other that Derr had molested them when they were teenagers. One of the relatives alleged that he had been abused repeatedly, while the other could recall one instance of abuse a few years ago, Philip Derr said.
The two relatives told Dennis Derr’s wife about the alleged abuse, Philip Derr said. The wife, in turn, wrote a note to her husband as he slept, saying she was aware of the abuse claims, and then left the family’s Acton house, according to Philip Derr.