Mystery – The Black Dahlia

*Warning – The information you are about to read may include discussions of true crimes, graphic details, and crime scenes, this may be too graphic for some people, please use discretion when reading*

Elizabeth Short, better known as The Black Dahlia, was a highly publicized case due to the graphic nature of the crime and how her body was mutilated after her death. There were many suspects in the case, however it hasn’t officially been solved, perhaps you will share popular opinions, or have a theory of your own.

Elizabeth was born in Boston Massachusetts in July 1924. Her parents Cleo and Phoebe May, had a total of five daughters, Elizabeth being in the middle. After the stock market crash, Cleo lost most of his savings, and the family became broke. In 1930, his car was found abandoned on the Charlestown Bridge, and it was assumed he committed suicide.

In 1942, Cleo Short, wrote to his wife and advised he was alive and started a new life in California. At age 18, Elizabeth went to Vallejo, CA, to live with her father, whom she hadn’t seen since she was six. She only lived with him a couple of weeks before she moved out in January 1943.

Elizabeth settled in the Los Angeles area, and was working as a waitress before her death. Elizabeth has been described as an aspiring actress, although no known acting jobs or credits have been associated to her name.

The Murder

On January 9, 1947, Elizabeth returned home to Los Angeles after a brief trip with Red Manley, a married salesman she had been dating. He claimed that he had dropped her off at the Biltmore Hotel as she was meeting her sister there. Staff at the hotel claim they had seen her, and later she was seen at the Crown Grill Cocktail Lounge about a half mile away.

Unfortunately nobody fully knows what fully happened to Elizabeth from January 9 to January 15 when her body was found. All we know is that she was found in a largely undeveloped neighborhood by a woman and her three year old daughter. She rushed to call police when she realized it was not a store mannequin.

Elizabeth’s severely mutilated body was severed completely at the waist, drained of blood leaving her skin a pallid white. It was determined that she had been dead approximately 10 hours. Her body was washed by her killer, and her face was slashed from the corners of her mouth to her ears, creating a “Glasgow Smile”. Her body also had several cuts on her thighs and breasts, where portions were sliced away. Her body had been posed.

The Suspects

January 24, a suspicious manila envelope containing Elizabeth’s belongings was discovered by a Postal worker. The packet has been cleaned similarly to her body, so police suspected it came from her killer.

One of the items that were sent to police was an address book with Mark Hansen, written on it. Mark was a wealthy nightclub and theater owner. Red Manley was the last to see her alive, and Martin Lewis was an acquaintance of hers. All were cleared of suspicion in her murder.

Many men were investigated and many made false confessions. The one person that many believe committed the crime was Dr. George Hill Hodel Jr. He was never formally charged with the crime and after his passing he was accused by his own son, a Los Angeles homicide detective.

Dr. Hodel was suspected in the death of his secretary Ruth Spaulding and was accused of raping his own daughter, but was acquitted. He had fled the country and spent the last 40 years of his life in The Philippines.

Dr. Hodel had a medical degree, and the way that Elizabeth was bisected required some surgical skill. At least 8 witnesses claimed a first hand relationship in 1946 between Elizabeth and Dr. Hodel. He was the prime suspect as discovered in the case file dated 1950. His house was bugged and he was overhead saying, “Supposin’ I did kill the Black Dahlia. They can’t prove it now. They can’t talk to my secretary anymore because she’s dead. They thought there was something fishy. Anyway, now they may have figured it out. Killed her. Maybe I did kill my secretary.”

So do you feel the Doctor did the deed? Or was it someone else? I personally believe it was Dr. Hodel who committed the crime. Please let me know your thoughts and theories.

Be ever alert, make good choices, be safe

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