Hansen was a wealthy local nightclub and theater owner 60 and an acquaintance at whose home Short had stayed with friends, and according to some sources, g he also confirmed that the purse and shoe discovered in the alley were in fact Short's. Ann Toth, short's friend and roommate, told investigators that Short had recently rejected sexual advances from Hansen, and suggested it as potential cause for him to kill her; however, he was cleared of suspicion in the case. In addition to hansen, the los Angeles Police department interviewed over 150 men in the ensuing weeks whom they believed to be potential suspects. Manley, who had been one of the last people to see short alive, was also investigated, but was cleared of suspicion after passing numerous polygraph examinations. Police also interviewed several persons found listed in Hansen's address book, including Martin Lewis, who had been an acquaintance of Short's. Lewis was able to provide an alibi for the date of Short's murder, as he was in Portland, Oregon visiting his father-in-law, who was dying of kidney failure. A total of 750 investigators from the lapd and other departments worked on the case during its initial stages, including 400 sheriff's deputies and 250 California state patrol officers.
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54 Investigation edit Initial investigation edit letters and interviews edit On January 21, 1947, a person claiming to be Short's killer placed a phone call to the office of James Richardson, the editor of the los Angeles Examiner, congratulating Richardson on the newspaper's narendra coverage. Additionally, the caller told Richardson to "expect some souvenirs of Beth Short in the mail". Envelope addressed to the los Angeles Examiner from the alleged murderer On January 24, a suspicious manila envelope was discovered by. Postal Service worker: The envelope had been addressed to "The los Angeles Examiner and other Los Angeles papers" with individual words that had been cut-and-pasted from newspaper clippings; additionally, a large message on the face of the envelope read: "Here is Dahlia's belongings, letter. The envelope contained Short's birth certificate, business cards, photographs, names written on pieces of paper, and an address book with the name mark hansen embossed on the cover. The packet had been carefully cleaned with gasoline, similarly to Short's body, which led police to suspect the packet had been sent directly by her killer. Despite handwriting the efforts to clean the packet, several partial fingerprints were lifted from the envelope and sent to the federal Bureau of Investigation for testing; however, the prints were compromised in transit and thus could not be properly analyzed. The same day the packet was received by the Examiner, a handbag and a black suede shoe were reported to have been seen on top of a garbage can in an alley a short distance from Norton avenue, 2 miles (3.2 km) from where Short's body. The items were recovered by police, but they had also been wiped clean with gasoline, destroying any fingerprints. Police quickly deemed Mark hansen, the owner of the address book found in the packet, a suspect.
Immediately following Short's identification, reporters from William Randolph hearst 's Los Angeles Examiner contacted her mother, Phoebe Short, in Boston, and told her that her daughter had won a beauty contest. 31 It was only after prying as much personal information as they could from Phoebe that the reporters revealed essay that her daughter had in fact been murdered. 31 The newspaper offered to pay her airfare and accommodations if she would travel to los Angeles to help with the police investigation. That was yet another ploy since the newspaper kept her away from police and other reporters to protect its scoop. The Examiner and another hearst newspaper, the los Angeles Herald-Express, later sensationalized the case, with one article from The Examiner describing the black tailored suit Short was last seen wearing as "a tight skirt and a sheer blouse". 52 The media nicknamed her as the "Black dahlia" 53 and described her as an "adventuress" who "prowled Hollywood boulevard ". Additional newspaper reports, such as one published in the los Angeles Times on January 17, deemed the murder a "sex fiend slaying".
Newbarr's report noted "very little" ecchymosis (bruising) along the incision line, meaning it had been performed after death. Another "gaping laceration" measuring.25 inches (108 mm) in length ran longitudinally from the umbilicus to the suprapubic region. The lacerations on each side of the face, which extended from the corners of the lips, were measured at 3 inches (76 mm) on the right side of the face, and.5 inches (64 mm) on the left. The skull was not fractured, but there was noted bruising on the front and right side of her scalp, with a small amount of bleeding in the subarachnoid space on the right side, consistent with blows to the head. The cause of death was determined to be hemorrhaging from the lacerations to her face and the shock from blows on the head and face. Newbarr noted that Short's anal canal was dilated.75 inches (44 mm suggesting she may have been raped. Samples were taken from her body testing for the presence of sperm, but the results came back negative. Prior to the autopsy, police had quickly been able to identify the victim as Short after sending copies of her fingerprints to washington,. Via soundphoto, a primitive fax machine of the era; the prints matched those given by Short during her 1943 arrest.
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36 Medical examiners determined that she had been dead for around ten hours prior to the discovery, leaving her time of death either sometime during the evening of January 14, or the early morning hours of January. The body had obviously been washed by the killer. 37 Her face had been slashed from the corners of her mouth to her ears, creating an effect known as the " Glasgow smile ". 31 Short had several cuts on her thigh and breasts, where entire portions of flesh had been sliced away. The lower half of her body was positioned a foot away from the upper, and her intestines had been tucked neatly beneath her buttocks. 37 The corpse had been "posed with her hands over her head, her elbows bent at right angles, and her legs spread apart. Upon the discovery, a crowd of both passersby and reporters began to gather; Los Angeles Herald-Express reporter Aggie underwood was among the first to arrive at the scene, and took several photos of the corpse and crime scene.
Near the body, detectives located a heel print on the ground amid the tire tracks, and a cement sack containing watery blood was also found nearby. 42 Autopsy and identification edit An autopsy of Short's body was performed on January 16, 1947,. Frederick newbarr, the los Angeles county coroner. Newbarr's autopsy report stated that Short was 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall, weighed 115 pounds (52 kg and had light blue eyes, brown hair, and badly decayed teeth. F There were ligature marks on her ankles, wrists, and neck, and an "irregular laceration with superficial tissue loss" on her right breast. Newbarr also noted superficial lacerations on the right forearm, left upper arm, and the lower left side of the chest. The body had been cut completely in half between the second and third lumbar vertebrae, thus data severing the intestine at the duodenum.
According to some sources, she did in fact have aspirations to be a film star, though she had no known acting jobs or credits. Prior to murder edit On January 9, 1947, Short returned to her home in Los Angeles after a brief trip to san diego with Robert "Red" Manley, a 25-year-old married salesman she had been dating. Manley stated he dropped Short off at the biltmore hotel located at 506 south Grand avenue in downtown Los Angeles, and that Short was to meet her sister, who was visiting from Boston, that afternoon. By some accounts, staff of the biltmore recalled having seen Short using the lobby telephone. E shortly after, she was allegedly seen by patrons of the Crown Grill Cocktail lounge at 754 south Olive street, approximately 12 mile (0.80 km) away from the biltmore hotel. Discovery edit Short's body as discovered on January 15, 1947 On the morning of January 15, 1947, Short's naked body was found severed in two pieces on a vacant lot on the west side of south Norton avenue, midway between Coliseum Street and West 39th.
At the time, the neighborhood was largely undeveloped. 31 Local resident Betty bersinger discovered the body at approximately 10:00. While she was walking with her three-year-old daughter. 32 Bersinger initially thought she had found a discarded store mannequin. When she realized it was a corpse, she rushed to a nearby house and telephoned the police. Short's severely mutilated body was completely severed at the waist and drained entirely of blood, leaving its skin a pallid white.
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He was training for deployment to the China burma India theater of Operations of World War. She told friends that he had written to propose marriage while he was recovering from injuries from a plane crash in India. She accepted his offer, but Gordon died in a second crash on August 10, 1945, less than a week before the japanese surrender ended the war. She relocated to los Angeles in July 1946 to visit Army air Force lieutenant Joseph Gordon Fickling, whom she had known from Florida. Fickling was stationed at the naval Reserve air Base in Long beach. Short spent the last six months of her life in southern California, mostly in the los Angeles area ; shortly before her death, she had been working as a waitress, and rented a room behind the Florentine gardens management nightclub on Hollywood boulevard. Short has been variously described and depicted as an aspiring or "would-be" actress.
In late 1942, Phoebe received a letter of apology from her presumed-deceased husband, which revealed that he was resume in fact alive and had started a new life in California. In December, at age eighteen, Elizabeth relocated to vallejo to live with her father, whom she had not seen since she was six years old. At the time, he was working at the nearby mare Island naval Shipyard on San Francisco bay. Arguments between Short and her father led to her moving out in January 1943. Shortly after, she took a job at the base exchange at Camp cooke (now Vandenberg Air Force base near Lompoc, california, living with several friends, and briefly with an Air Force sergeant who was reportedly abusive to her. Short left Lompoc in mid-1943 and moved to santa barbara, where she was arrested on September 23, 1943 for underage drinking at a local bar. The juvenile authorities sent her back to medford, d but she returned instead to Florida, making only occasional visits to massachusetts. While in Florida, she met Major Matthew Michael Gordon,., a decorated us army air Force officer at the 2d Air Commando Group.
savings, leaving the family broke. In 1930, her father's car was found abandoned on the Charlestown Bridge, and it was assumed that he had committed suicide by jumping into the Charles river. Believing her husband to be deceased, Phoebe moved with her five daughters into a small apartment in Medford and worked as a bookkeeper to support them. Troubled by bronchitis and severe asthma attacks, Short underwent lung surgery at age fifteen, after which doctors suggested she relocate to a milder climate during the winter months to prevent further respiratory problems. Her mother then sent her to spend winters in miami, florida, with family friends. During the next three years, Short lived in Florida during the winter months and spent the rest of the year in Medford with her mother and sisters. In her sophomore year, Short dropped out of Medford High School. Relocation to california edit Short's arrest photo from 1943 for underage drinking Major Matthew Michael Gordon,.
B, she would acquire the nickname of task the Black dahlia posthumously, as newspapers of the period often nicknamed particularly lurid crimes; the term may have originated from a film noir murder mystery, the Blue dahlia, released in April 1946. After the january 15, 1947 discovery of her body, the. Los Angeles Police department began an extensive investigation that produced over 150 suspects, but yielded no arrests. Short's unsolved murder and the details surrounding it have had a lasting cultural intrigue, generating various theories and public speculation. Her life and death have been the basis of numerous books and films, and her murder is frequently cited as one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history, as well as one of the oldest unsolved cases. It has likewise been credited by historians as one of the first major crimes in post. World War ii, america to capture national attention. C, contents, childhood edit, elizabeth Short was born in the. Hyde park section of, boston, massachusetts, the third of five daughters of Cleo and Phoebe may short (née sawyer).
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This article is about Elizabeth Short and her murder. For other uses, see. Elizabeth Short a (July 29, 1924 january 14 or 15, 1947 known posthumously as " the Black dahlia was an American woman who was found murdered in the. Leimert Park neighborhood of, los Angeles, california. Her case became highly publicized due to the graphic nature of the crime, which entailed her corpse having been mutilated and severed at the waist. A native of, boston, short spent her early life. Massachusetts and, florida before relocating to california, where her father lived. It is commonly held that Short was an aspiring actress, though she had no known acting credits or jobs during her time in Los Angeles.