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"Another factor complicating
the case was the obsession developed by men with the Black Dahlia
in death -- as many as had been obsessed with her in life."
-- Finis Brown, LAPD
Short -- Born:
29 July 1924, Hyde Park, Massachusetts
15, 1947, Elizabeth
Short's naked body was was discovered on a vacant lot near
Leimert Park in downtown Los Angeles, by a mother with a young
child, her body surgically bisected, horribly mutilated, and
posed. Her body was severed in half at the waist. Both halves
were drained of blood and washed. 22 year-old
Short came from Massachusetts to Hollywood to be a star. Her
hair and clothes were always black, she wore a dahlia in her
hair, so she was known as "The
Black Dahlia" She was last seen as she stepped from an auto
in front of L.A.'s Biltmore Hotel.
the killer taunted the police and public, sending notes to "catch
me if you can." Other women in LA were murdered, and their cases
remained unsolved. Once the
body of the Black Dahlia was identified there was a steady stream
confessions as with this case. Unfortunately, the murderer
was never identified. Regional History Center,
Los Angeles Herald Examiner collection
Dahlia Avenger: The True Story by Anonymous by Steve Hodel
Hollywood homicide detective cop turned private investigator names
the latest suspect in the slaying, his physician father, the late
George Hodel, who abandoned the family when his son, the author,
was 9. Steve Hodel claims his father killed 20 women, in the 1940
- 50s, including Short during
a fit of jealousy. Hodel,
61, began investigating his father after finding photographs he
believes is Short. He saw similarities in notes the killer sent
to newspapers and his father's handwriting. A
musical prodigy, Hodel was a county health department doctor specializing
in venereal disease control for VD clinics that treated well connected
Los Angeles residents. He kept dossiers on clients. Jeanne
French, 45, dubbed "the Red Lipstick Murder" because the initials
B.D. (Black Dahlia?) were written in lipstick, on her nude, beaten
corpse. Hodel claims his father was quilty. Los
Angeles County deputy district attorney, Stephen Kay, said he would
have filed murder counts against Dr. Hodel. He has "no doubt" George "not
only murdered Elizabeth Short but also murdered Jeanne French." A
primary suspect he was about to be arrested when authorities feared
the suspect would expose the medical charts of well known, powerful
patients, including police officials. A 1949 grand jury was ordered
to stop hearing evidence because the LAPD's reputation would become
tarnished if the VD files became public. "At
that point, the whole thing was shut down and my father left the
country for 40 years and everything sunk below the surface." He
died at age 91 in 1991and was never arrested for the crimes. "I'm
asking the press and the detectives to now take up that responsibility
and reopen the murder books and continue the investigations so
that all of us may know the truth."
Dahlia - Elizabeth Short - crimelibrary
friend fingers Orson Welles - salon
A Grave - Elizabeth's
final resting place.
Reopens Black Dahlia Murder Case -- Offers a New Suspect
in One of the Most Famous Unsolved Crimes -- The
woman's black hair spilled across the grass of the vacant lot,
her dead blue eyes open in the sunshine, her mouth sliced at
the corners. About 8 inches from the sidewalk, her pale, naked
body lay in two pieces, cleaved at the waist and nearly drained
Volume 2: Hanson/ Black Dahlia-Perfect Crimes?
Reopened: The Black Dahlia with Joseph Wambaugh
When Elizabeth Short came to Hollywood she was not unlike thousands
of other young women, hoping her good looks and a little bit of
talent would propel her into the world of the rich and famous.
Elizabeth Short did earn notoriety, but in a horrifying way that
would come to chill even the most seasoned investigators. Within
weeks of her murder, 37 innocent men and women had confessed to
the crime. What is it that fascinates us so about the Black Dahlia?
What was the dark secret that police kept under lock and key for
over half a century? And what kind of person could have committed
such a violent, brutal, yet carefully planned and executed crime?
John Gregory Dunne turned the true story of Black Dahlia into a
compelling novel and then adapted the novel movie mystery directed
by Ulu Grosbard. A study of the ways power corrupts, and the way
corruption consumes the soul, the film stars Robert Duvall and
Robert De Niro as a pair of brothers (a cynical police detective
and a rapidly rising monsignor, ) who come into conflict over the
case of a murdered woman in 1940s Hollywood.
Bare: A Memoir of Wrecked Lives and the Hollywood Death Trip by
Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2006