Ventura, Calif. – Kelsey Dillon passed away a day before her 31st birthday.
Last week, the California Highway Patrol identified Dillon as a murder victim after his body was found near a highway offroad in Ventura on the morning of September 24.
As news about Dylan’s death spread online, a link reappeared a GoFundMe fundraiser Apparently created by Dillon in June. Dillon, who was homeless, said she aimed to raise $600 to get off the streets by renting a recreational vehicle.
“Will not live life as a victim,” she wrote on the page. “But learned that it’s okay to ask and finally get help somewhere safe to live like an RV van.”
‘I would like to be safe anywhere and off the roads’
Dillon Shared the fundraiser on your personal Facebook page. The campaign, however, failed to raise any funds before his death.
The fundraising page includes a recorded video of Dylan himself. In the video, which clocks in at 2 minutes and 46 seconds, Dylan explains how she got injured while on the streets. Recording Posted on YouTube on June 30.
Dylan tells viewers that she had been living in her car for two years, but was forced into the streets after her vehicle crashed in early 2021. She decided to ask for help after a brutal assault three days ago – a rape, she said – that left her in a ditch by the side of the road.
“I think this is my last straw,” Dillon said, occasionally looking straight into the camera lens. “I would like to be safe anywhere and off the roads.”
A friend who was a real estate agent offered to help her buy a house, she said, but the $150,000 upfront cost was unaffordably expensive. Another friend suggested that a recreational vehicle be rented for $600 – although Dillian said he didn’t have a dollar at the time.
“It’s my dream to live out of an RV van, honestly, ’cause I’ll have somewhere safe to stay and a bed to sleep in at night,” she said. “I could go and see everything.”
In the video, Dillon is seen sitting against a white tile wall. The straps of a gray tank top are visible on its slim frame. She speaks calmly, even when emotions sometimes overshadow her expression.
Since the CHP confirmed that Dylan’s death was a homicide, updates are scarce. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s office listed her cause of death as pending as of Friday afternoon, and CHP officials declined to identify an apparent cause of death.
“To protect the integrity of the investigation, I cannot answer that question,” wrote CHP officer Steve Lutzke in an email.
Lutzke said the CHP was the lead agency in the murder investigation because Dylan’s body was found on state property along the Highway 33 exit near Olive Street. He also confirmed that investigators were aware of the videos and the GoFundMe campaign and were working to verify their authenticity.
A member of Dillon’s family did not respond to a request for comment.
Nearly half of homeless women in LA have been victims of violence
The violence that Dylan faced while homeless is not uncommon. According to a 2019 survey by the Downtown Women’s Center in Los AngelesIn Los Angeles, 44% of homeless women were victims of crime, with 27% being victims of sexual assault, as Dylan said she was in the video.
According to online prison and court records, Dylan also faced legal challenges while being homeless and several recent arrests. Her booking information listed her job as a massage therapist. In the video, Dillon said that was his profession for the past 10 years before he suffered health issues that required surgery on his spine.
The investigation into Dillon’s death is ongoing by the CHP’s Ventura office. Anyone with knowledge of the matter may call Officer Steve Lutzke at (805) 662-2658 during business hours of the day. Calls outside normal business hours may be made at (805) 477-4174.
Information can also be provided anonymously to Ventura County Crime Stoppers by calling (800) 222-8477 or visiting venturacountycrimestoppers.org.
Follow Jeremy Childs on Twitter: @jeremy_childs.