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Black Dahlia Murder Case

Elizabeth Short was born on July 29, 1924 in Hyde Park, Massachusetts to parents Cleo and Phoebe Short. She acquired the nickname Black Dahlia after moving to California. The body of Elizabeth Short was found on January 15, 1947, in a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, severely mutilated, cut in two, and drained of blood. Her face was slashed from the corners of her mouth toward her ears, and she was posed with her hands over her head and her elbows bent at right angles. The autopsy indicated she was 5′ 5″ and 115 pounds, with badly decayed teeth, light blue eyes and brown hair. The murder, which remains unsolved, has been the source of widespread speculation as well as several books and film adaptations. The case remains one of Hollywood's long-running mysteries and one of the most gruesome of the 1940s. On January 15, 1947 Elizabeth Short was found murdered, her body left in a vacant lot on South Norton Avenue between 39th Street and Coliseum.

Homemaker Betty Bersinger was running an errand with her three-year-old daughter when she realized that what she was looking at was not a mannequin but an actual body in the lot along the street where she was walking. She went to a nearby house, made an anonymous call to police, and reported the body.

When police arrived on the scene, they found the body of a young woman who had been bisected, displayed face-up on the ground with her arms over her head and her lower half placed a foot away from her torso. Her legs were wide open in a vulgar position and her mouth had three-inch slashes on each side. Rope burns were found on her wrists and ankles. Her head face and body was bruised and cut. There was little blood at the scene, indicating whoever left her, washed the body before bringing it in the lot. The crime scene quickly filled with police, bystanders and reporters. It was later described as being out of control, with people trampling on any evidence investigators hoped to find. Through fingerprints, the body was soon identified as 22-year-old Elizabeth Short or as the press called her, "The Black Dahlia."

A massive investigation into finding her murderer was launched. Because of the brutality of the murder and Elizabeth's sometimes sketchy lifestyle, rumors and speculation was rampant, often being incorrectly reported as fact in newspapers. According to newspaper reports shortly after the murder, Elizabeth Short received the nickname "Black Dahlia" at a Long Beach drugstore in the summer of 1946, as a word play on the then-current movie The Blue Dahlia. However, Los Angeles County district attorney investigators' reports state the nickname was invented by newspaper reporters covering the murder. In either case, Short was not known as the "Black Dahlia" during her lifetime.

A number of people, none of whom knew Short, contacted police and the newspapers, claiming to have seen her during her so-called "missing week" between the time of her disappearance January 9 and the time her body was found on January 15. Police and district attorney investigators ruled out each of these alleged sightings, sometimes identifying other women that witnesses had mistaken for Short. Many "true crime" books claim that Short lived in or visited Los Angeles at various times in the mid-1940s; these claims have never been substantiated, and are refuted by the findings of law enforcement officers who investigated the case.

A document in the Los Angeles County district attorney's files titled "Movements of Elizabeth Short Prior to June 1, 1946" states that Short was in Florida and Massachusetts from September 1943 through the early months of 1946, and gives a detailed account of her living and working arrangements during this period. Although popular belief as well as many true crime books portrayed Short as a call girl, a report by the district attorney's grand jury states there is no existing evidence that she was ever a prostitute. Another widely circulated rumor holds that Short was unable to have sexual intercourse because of some genetic defect that left her with "infantile genitalia." Los Angeles County district attorney's files state the investigators had questioned three men with whom Short had sex, including a Chicago police officer who was a suspect in the case. The FBI files on the case also contain a statement from one of Short's alleged lovers.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department's summary of the case, in the district attorney's files, the autopsy describes Short's reproductive organs as anatomically normal. The autopsy also states that Short was not and had never been pregnant, contrary to what is sometimes claimed. The Black Dahlia murder investigation by the LAPD was the largest since the murder of Marion Parker in 1927, and involved hundreds of officers borrowed from other law enforcement agencies. Because of the complexity of the case, the original investigators treated every person who knew Short as a suspect who had to be eliminated.

Hundreds of people were considered suspects and thousands were interviewed by police. Sensational and sometimes inaccurate press coverage, as well as the nature of the crime, focused intense public attention on the case. About 60 people confessed to the murder, mostly men, as well as a few women. As the case continues to command public attention, many more people have been proposed as Short's killer.

(Sources : and Wikipedia)

(Pic source :

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  1. This case is truly a tragic mystery, such a tragic. Elizabeth Short remembered more as a case than a young lady. With a click she was forever caught in a frame of horror.
    Such a tragic.

  2. (@WindBlowerTM) Yes, this is such a tragedy. I wonder what the motive is

  3. truly a cruel murder, let alone a pattern of mutilation murders. I personally wonder why from ancient times until now, sadistic murders continue to happen. This may indicate that human behavior is close to animals.

    hmm from the picture above, she is a beautiful for its time. thank you nice posting :)

  4. (@the international times) Well, according to the killer behavior, i think the killer has a grudge on her maybe the motive about money or love affair until now this case remain unsolved.

    When people can't control their emotion, they can easily kill each other

    Indeed,she is a beautiful girl.

    (@NLE Result November 2009) Hi, thanx for leave comment here. But, i don't celebrate christmas coz i'm a moslem. Merry X-mas to all my christian friends :)

  5. It is definitely one of the most difficult cases to figure out. The motive of the case to me is more of a mystery than the actual person who committed the disgusting crime.

    I recall the movie released here years ago as well as a book that claimed a person in prison confessed to the murder. That book was on all the shelves in front of many stores when it came out.

    And as anyone knows, time eliminates any potential eye witnesses which means we may never know.

    Nice post!

  6. (@David Funk) I agree with you, a murder case with no potential eye witness will become more difficult to find the real killer

  7. A very sad and gruesome crime indeed. Thank you for NOT posting the autopsy pics. I don't need to see those this late at night...

  8. (@Rob) Well, i already see the autopsy pics, and its very disturbing, i'll not post it here. The killer is so cruel. I hope this case can be solved

  9. i also already saw the autopsy pics. very tragic. it was , yes, disturbing. who could have done such a ghastly act? indeed, she was a very beautiful woman.


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