Elizabeth Short, The Black Dahlia

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Elizabeth Short or to many known as The Black Dahlia was born on July 29, 1924 in Boston, Massachusetts. She moved to Santa Barbara at the age of 21, where she was arrested on September 23, 1943 for underage drinking. The six months before her death Short moved to southern California Hollywood to become an actress. During that time, she lived in several hotels, rooming houses, private homes, and apartment buildings; never staying anywhere for more than two weeks. During World War II, she had been a clerk at Camp Cooke in California. On January 15, 1947, Elizabeth Shorts body was found in a vacant lot located in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles. She was 22 years old. Betty Bersinger, who was walking with her three-year-old daughter, discovered the body. Elizabeth's body had been cut off at the waist and drained of blood and her face was slashed from the corners of her mouth toward her ears. She was posed, lying on her back with her arms raised over her shoulders, her legs spread apart. Rope marks on her ankles, wrists and neck indicated a horrible scene before she died. It was clear that she had been killed somewhere else, dumped, and left in the vacant lot sometime during the night. It appeared as though many of the lacerations were done after Elizabeth Shorts death. There was no blood on her body or on the ground where she laid. It looked as though her body had been washed clean of blood before the body had been dumped onto the lot. The autopsy stated she was five inches five feet tall, weighed 115 pounds, had light blue eyes, brown hair, and badly decayed teeth. According to the autopsy the cause of death was hemorrhage and shock because of a concussion of the brain and lacerations of the face. She was buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California. The Black Dahlia murder investigation was the largest LAPD investigation since the murder of Marion Parker in 1927. Elizabeth Short was given the nickname "Black Dahlia" because she almost always dressed completely in black and her hair was jet black, her skin was very pale, and her nail polish and lipstick were very red. Many people, though none of them knew who Elizabeth was, contacted the police and the newspapers claiming to have seen her during her "missing week." The missing week was a period between the time of her January ninth disappearance and the time her body was found on January 15. Police investigators ruled out each of the believed sightings, in some of the sighting, those interviewed were identifying other women they had mistaken for Short. The killer of Elizabeth Short mailed a packet to a Los Angeles newspaper that contained Elizabeth's birth certificate, business cards, photographs, and an address book with the names of 75 men. Approximately 60 men and women confessed to the crime. They included all kinds of people like known criminals, surgeons, abortionists, military men, ex boyfriends, drunks, the suspect's father and director and actor Orson Welles. Several of them were promising suspects, but were cleared by the LAPD and the FBI. Jack Wilson was a main suspect in the Black Dahlia case; he was a known drunk and criminal. The evidence contained that Jack Wilson was the killer was details that only the murderer could have known; like a supposed vaginal defect that was not listed in the autopsy, plus the possession of items belonging to Elizabeth herself. Jack Wilson died in a hospital fire before he could be questioned by the police and the investigation could not be brought to an end due to a lack of evidence. Robert Manley, who was a 25-year-old married salesman, was the last person to see Elizabeth alive. The two of them stayed the night in a local motel and Manley drove her the next morning to Los Angeles to a bus station. Elizabeth told Robert she was going to stay with her sister, who she was meeting at the Biltimore Hotel. He went with her to the hotel lobby but left at 6:30 p.m. and returned to his family in San Diego. He was originally booked as a suspect, but released because he passed a polygraph test. Robert Manley had a long history of mental health problems; in 1954 he was submitted to a psychiatric hospital by his wife. On 25 January 1947 Elizabeth black leather handbag and one of her black shoes was found in a dumpster a few miles from the crime scene. Robert Manley confirmed them as hers; the shoes were the same ones that he had paid for to be fixed while they were in San Diego. Another suspect Walter Alonzo Bayley was a surgeon and his house was located only one block from the lot where Elizabeth's body was found. His daughter was a friend of Elizabeth's sister Virginia. He was 67 and had no known record of violence or crime so he was never arrested because the murder was seen as a younger mans' crime. Another major suspect was Mark Hansen was a 55-year-old who owned Florentine Gardens, which was a Hollywood nightclub that featured burlesque acts. He had known Elizabeth when she was in Los Angeles; she had lived in his home on many occasions between May and October 1946. Mark Hansen received a telephone call from Short on January eighth, which mad him one of the last people to have spoken to her before she died. The address book sent in the package to the newspaper was had Mark Hansen's name on it. Mark Hansen remained a key suspect until 1951. Mark Hansen did not have any criminal records or history of violence; no charges were brought against him. In 2003, a retired LAPD detective named Steve Hodel described his father George Hodel as a tyrant and pervert who held orgies at the family home and was put on trial for raping his 14-year-old daughter. After his father died in 1999, Steve Hodel obtained his father's private photo album, which contained two snapshots of a dark-haired woman who Hodel claimed the woman was Elizabeth Short. The Cleveland Torso Murders are believed to be linked to the murder of Elizabeth short they took place in the 1930s. Elizabeth Short or also known as the Black Dahlia's murder to this day has not been solved. The Black Dahlia has been made into several books, films, and other media. In "September 1987 author James Ellroy published a book called The Black Dahlia was a book inspired from the true story of the murder of Elizabeth Shot." "A film by Brian De Palma, called The Black Dahlia, based on the James Ellroy novel was released in September 2006 staring Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart, Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank, Rose McGowan, and Mia Kirshner." Many versions of the case exist and many people have different opinions on who killed Elizabeth; but one thing everyone knows is that it was a tragic and sad murder.

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