Inside The Unsolved Case Of The Black Dahlia Murder

By Aaron Love 3 months ago

Elizabeth Short


Image Source: All That's Interesting

Elizabeth Short was the unfortunate soul who was found murdered and became known as the Black Dahlia. She spent much of her life in California and despite her having no known acting credits, she was commonly known to be woman chasing aspirations of becoming an actress.

The Black Dahlia


Image Source: Reddit

Elizabeth Short was given the nickname 'The Black Dahlia' by the newspapers and news networks following her death. This has become the synonymous title to go with the murder and came as a result of the fact she wore sheer black clothing; this referenced a film of the same title that was out around the time.

She Was Found In A Park


Image Source: All That's Interesting

On the 15th January 1947, Elizabeth Short, or the Black Dahlia was sound dead in Los Angeles. Although other people might have spotted her, she was actually found by a mother and child during a morning walk in Leimert Park. How do you even explain something like that to a child?

They Thought It Was A Mannequin


Image Source: The Crime Wire

Upon discovering the body of Elizabeth Short in Leimert Park, the woman actually originally thought nothing of it. Apparently, from a distance, the pose the body had been left in made her look like a mannequin. It was only when they got closer she realised what she was actually seeing.

She Had Been Cut In Two


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The disgusting part about the discovery of the body was that she had actually been completely cut in two by her killer. And I mean there are some really gruesome images available out there if you really want to see them. But again, how do you explain to your child what it is you're seeing.

Her Organs Had Been Removed


Image Source: BBC

Not only had Elizabeth short been dismembered in to two places, she had even had some of her organs cut out and her body had been completely drained of all blood. Weirdly, her intestines had been removed but placed neatly underneath her bottom. A message maybe?

She Had Feces In Her Stomach


Image Source: Deranged LA Crimes

The more and more you read into this unsolved case, the more you realise how truly gruesome it actually is! When she was examined, it was found that she had large amounts of feces within her stomach. This, unsurprisingly led to criminal experts (and non experts) to believe she was made to eat feces before she was killed.

She Had Been Out In The Days Prior


Image Source: Deranged LA Crimes

This isn't necessarily exciting news, but in the days leading up to the discovery of her body she had been on a trip away with the man she was dating, Robert Manley. She was last seen by some members of the Biltmore Hotel in LA and again by a few accounts just under a mile away up the street.

Her Mouth Was Cut


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One of the most terrifying things you can learn about this murder is what the murderer had done to her face either before, or following her death. She was given what is known as a 'Glasgow Smile' which is where the corners of her mouth were cut all the way to her ear. It's truly vile.

She Was Killed Elsewhere


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The Los Angeles Police Department came to the conclusion that Elizabeth can't have been killed in the park itself. Evidence for this were that there were no visible trails of blood or fresh cut marks on the body, meaning that she had to have been washed before she was placed as she was on the park floor. They believe she had been dead for around 10 hours.

She Was Moved In A Sack


Image Source: Reddit

There was limited evidence around the body that could be used in order to start an investigation as to who was behind this horrific murder. However, there was a cement sack found near the body that contained traces of Elizabeth's blood. It's believed this is how her body was moved.

They Found A Heel Print By The Body


Image Source: Reddit

There was only one actual piece of evidence related to the killer around the body of Elizabeth Short, and that was a heel print. So essentially, all the Los Angeles Police Department had to go on was the image of a small foot print. Something that confused the many experts on the case.

Her Mother Got Tricked


Image Source: Calisphere

The Los Angeles Examiner played a horrific trick on Phoebe Short, they called her to try and find out details about Elizabeth. However, they didn't speak truthfully on the phone and lied to her informing her mom that she had won a beauty contest. Her mom didn't even know she had died!

Fake Claims She Was A Deviant Appeared


Image Source: The Guardian

Instead of being sympathetic towards the death of a poor young woman, the local and national media instead began painting Elizabeth Short as a sexual deviant. There were articles going round that she was a prostitute and that she had been seen with a large amount of men in the month before she was killed. All without any proof.

Someone Took The Blame


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A week after the murder, The Examiner received a phone call by a person who claimed to be behind it; they promised to send some of Elizabeth's belongings in the post in order to prove his claim was truthful. This was the start of some sort of sick and twisted game that led too...

The Package Was Sent



Image Source: TIME

Just days following the phone call, the package arrived at the doors of The Examiner and contained a number of items. There were images of Short, business cards, an address book with the name Mark Hansen on the front and also Elizabeth Short's birth certificate. All the items had been wiped down with gasoline to remove fingerprints.

They Sent A Handwritten Note


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Alongside the package was a collage of paper headlines telling them a letter would follow. This letter suggested that the killer was going to hand themselves in at a specific place, at a specific time. Police waited but he never came. Following this he sent another note made of magazine letters suggesting he had changed his mind.

There's Been Fake Confessions


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Since the murder, there have been over 500 fake confessions given to the police by citizens who simply want something that will make them famous. None of the confessions were deemed legit, although I suppose it could be possible that the real one might've slipped through their fingers.

There Were More Than 100 Suspects


Image Source: All That's Interesting

In fact, during the original Los Angeles Police Department investigation, there were around 150 suspects linked to the murder, although they were never able to nail down the actual killer. To this day, no one actually knows who did this, but there have been a number of KEY suspects which we can look at..

George Hodel


Image Source: All That's Interesting

George Hodel has become the main suspect in the case of the Black Dahlia; his son became a detective and in 1999 found what seemed to be images of Short in his dead father's belongings. He found his handwriting matched the killers and there was proof he'd bought cement bags around the killing.

That's Not All


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Upon further research, it was found that Hodel was one of 6 main suspects being investigated by the LAPD. His house was even bugged and they heard a woman's screams and then Hodel speaking on the phone; he said he killed someone. And then he even namedropped the Black Dahlia and how they couldn't prove it. Isn't that enough to bring him in?

Mark Hansen, Leslie Dillon and Jeff Connors


Image Source: All That's Interesting

You might remember the name Mark Hansen from earlier, his name appeared on one of the documents that was sent to the Examiner. Supposedly, in the past, Short had spent time with Hansen although she had rebuffed his advances. A man named Jack Sand began claiming to know details only the police could.

They All Worked Together


Image Source: All That's Interesting

None of the three were ever charged, but they were all supposedly seen at the Aster Motel, a room Dillon was staying in. He had previously worked for Mark Hansen and the motel owners admitted they found a room covered in blood, and fecal matter around the time of the crime.

Bugsy Siegel


Image Source: Bugsy Siegel

The publisher of the LA Times, Norman Chandler was at one point supposedly in a brief relationship with Elizabeth Short. The whole theory is based on a hunch but it's believed by some that he hired Bugsy Siegel, a well-known and quite popular gangster to have her killed.

George Knowlton


Image Source: All That's Interesting

Janice Knowlton, George's daughter, believes he was behind the death of Elizabeth Short. She claims to have a disturbing story of her father killing 'Aunt Betty' and then going with him to dispose of the body. The LAPD have claimed that her story isn't consistent with the casefiles.

Robert Manley


Image Source: Calisphere

We're back to Mr Manley again, the last known person to see Elizabeth alive. They stayed in a hotel together and seemed to have a secret relationship (he was married). Police obviously considered him a prime suspect, but after polygraph tests and interrogations he was let off.

Walter Bayley


                                    Image Source: Deranged LA Crimes

After finding that Elizabeth Short was expertly cut in two, they suspected a surgeon must be behind the killing. Later research brought up the name Bayley, who's daughter was friends with Short and his office was round the corner from the hotel. He also matched the profile of the FBI.

Orson Welles


Image Source: Reddit

This is by far the most bizarre suspect of them all, as he is a famous film director (and actor). Welles had pretended to cut woman in half before and had mannequins with the smile that was left on Short's face. He designed them three months before the murder. Bit of a stretch though.

The Killer Might Have Ended Their Own Life


Image Source: Newspapers.com

In March of the same year as the murder, a pile of clothes were found by the side of the ocean. Within the shoe, a small piece of paper claimed to have been a suicide note was found. The clothes however gave no known evidence to who it could be, and it could have even been fake.

No One Has Ever Been Convicted


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And despite all the suspects we've looked at, alongside the more than 100 others that were investigated, it looks like no one is ever going to be convicted of this horrific crime. It seems wholely unfair for this poor woman to have been killed and no one was made to pay for it, but that's the case.