Clipped From Independent Press-Telegram

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 - The Case of the Black Dahlia Torture Murder of...
The Case of the Black Dahlia Torture Murder of Elizabeth Short Continues to Baffle Police By George C. Flowers R the talk turrs to famous famous crimes, veteran police officers officers always w i n d up discussing the mosl notorious unsolved murder of them a l l , the brutal k i l l i n g of Long Beach w a i t r e s s Elizabeth (Betty) Short, 22, on Jan. 15, 1947, in Los Angeles. To them ii seems incredible that such a crime could go unsolved. Belly Short--she was collet "The Black Dahlia"--was held captive in a I-os Angeles apartment for five days, and savagely tortured during that lime. When she died, her killer bundled her body into a car and drove 15 minutes minutes u n t i l he came to a vacant, weedy lot, where he dumped it. Her body had been horribly mutilated mutilated in five days of agony. AND, 10 DAYS a f t e r the crime had been committed, s o m e o n e coolly mailed to police a package containing her purse. Social Security card, address address book and miscellaneous papers and receipts. The Black Dahlia's address book conlained 200 names, nearly all of them men. In the slow process of tracing suspects, police finally wound up with 41 "confessions." Each "confession," however, failed to fit the facts of the murder. The Los Angeles Police Department still regards regards the case as open, often routinely routinely questioning suspects taken in on similar-type crimes. Who was so brazen as to kidnap a pretty girl off the street, hold her cap-' live for five days and torture her with a butcher knife, d u m p her body in the middle of a great city, and calmly mail her personal effects to the police? Police say, frankly, they haven't the ghost of an idea. BETTY SHOUT, one of four sislers raised by their m o t h e r in Salem, Mass.. an unusually pretty child, with visions of Hollywood stardom dancing in her head. She worked as a waitress, and sometimes sometimes as a theater usher. When she was 18, she went to Northern California, California, to live with her father, Cleo. They set up housekeeping in Vallejo, but Betty was unhappy almost immediately. immediately. There were the visions of Hollywood, and in ,1043 she and her father broke up. "I lold her to go her way and 1 would go mine," her father said. "She wouldn't stay home." Betty Short headed for Hollywood and heartbreak. She took an apartment apartment near the University of Southern California campus, bul couldn't settle ;£ down--and couldn't attract attention. ii3 Her mother, Phoebe, recalls: " ..-.. "Elizabeth r alwa^S'wanted-id be an actress. She was ambitious and beau- t i f u l and full of life, but she had her moments of despondency. "She would be gay and carefree one moment, then in the depths of despair the next." SHE TRIED job after job, and apparently apparently romance after romance, all ending in failure. She returned to her mother in Massachusetts, and another romance. When that feli through she San Diego to Los Angeles Jan. 10 with a male companion. HE WAS questioned as a prime suspect, but cleared. The shock, however, however, forced him to undergo psychiatric psychiatric treatment for a mental breakdown. breakdown. On the night of Jan. 10, Deity Short changed a dollar bill at a Los Angeles hotel cigar stand and made a couple of phone calls. She waited a while in the lobby, as if expecting an answer. Sixteen years have elapsed since the brutal slaying of Elizabeth Short bur the unsolved crime remains an open case in Los Angeles police files] came back to Southern California, finally finally to Long Beach. Working as a waitress in a coffee shop, then in a bar, she thought she had finally found her man, an officer in the Air Force stationed here. She announced to her few friends that marriage was in the offing. The romance collapsed when the officer was transferred east, and Betty Betty Short started along the drifting path '.hat lead to her death. Tracing the' days'before shfe'-was killed, 1 police 'fournir'slie 'frove 'from But none came. At 10 p. m. she abandoned her vigil, smiled to the d o o r m a n and walked out into'the street. No one has been found who has seen her alive since she left the hotel. FIVE DAYS LATER, a mother and her 5-year-old daughter were walking along a sidewalk toward a grocery store. The girl pointed into a vacant lot and .asked:. ...,,,,, ,. v , ... ,., "What's thai?"" ·- ' t-,...,i f . ,,,,!,,. It was the body of the Black Dahlia Grotesque torture m a r k s covered the legs and trunk. Autopsy investigation revealed that Betty Short's body had been slashed repeatedly with a large k n i f e for five days before she died. Then, they declared, the body was drained o f i t s blood, c a r e scrubbed--and the hair of the head shampooed. Doctors found rope burns that indicated indicated Miss Short may have been tied up during the five days of her torture and captivity. THERE ARE many theories as to why she was called "The B'ack Dahlia" Dahlia" but the most popular was her fondness for black lingerie. However, Long Beach Police Sgt. Edward C. Boynton, who revealed her nickname to the press, thinks it was the result of a chance remark made in a drug store here when another woman, observing observing black-haired Miss Short pass by, said: "They ought to call her the Black Dahlia." The beauty of the victim, her unusual unusual name and habits, and the arrogance arrogance of her murderer, drew so much attention that the Los Angeles police department assigned 50 detectives detectives to the case. However, not until Sept. 13, 1949 did they e v e n find the apartment where Miss Short was probably tied and tortured. Blood-stained sheets and clothes found there indicated a relationship relationship to the crime, which occurred on a busy downtown street. RUMORS OF SCANDAL followed. L. K. Waggoner, a Los Angeles police police officer, told the county grand jury that he had been "pulled off" the case when he was "working a hot Long Beach angle." A grand jury spokesman said it was investigating "widespread and persistent persistent rumors of a payoff to authorities in Los Angeles." Waggoner said: "The case could have been solved if we had been allowed to continue our investigating. I was · suddenly taken off the case and I never did know why. Other officers and myself were making remarkable progress." THE GRAND JURY, however, also questioned seven other officers who played key parts in investigating the ··Black Dahlia case, and in the end decided decided it could find no evidence of "payoff" in the situation. Consequently, the Black Dahlia murder case remains unsolved. This despite the fact that the killer had the audacity to commit kidnap, torture and murder in the heart of a big city, ' fhdn mai!'the' victim's 'personal effects effects to'polic-fe: "" ' . .:·""-· . 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Clipped from
  1. Independent Press-Telegram,
  2. 27 Jan 1963, Sun,
  3. Page 90

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