Elizabeth Short – The Black Dahlia

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Elizabeth Short’s life and death have been a big topic of discussion in the years since her body was found in two pieces in the Los Angeles area. Many movies have been made that depict her in many different ways; from aspiring star to sexual tease. Everyone in law enforcement is aware of this case and it is still referred to quite a bit. A lot of people still like to delve into the depths of her case from the comforts of their home to see if they can pinpoint her killer even though the killer has probably been dead for years.Elizabeth was 22 years old and unemployed. Her body was discovered by a housewife on a foggy morning on January 15, 1947. The body had been cut in half and was face up in the dirt. The arms were raised over the head; the lower torso was placed about a foot away with the legs open. Blood seemed to have been cleaned and the intestines were tucked neatly inside.Due to the lack of blood, detectives determined she’d been murdered somewhere else and brought to this particular location. They also determined she’d been placed there after 2am and the temperature at that time was 38 degrees. The murdered used a knife on her face and ropes on her wrist. Police determined her to be about 5’6 and 115lbs.Fingerprints were lifted from a previous job she had at an army base as well as a criminal record of underage drinking and the identification was made that it was indeed Elizabeth Short. Her mother was also a victim of sorts, by the media. The Los Angeles Examiner got wind of the case and contacted Elizabeths mother, Phoebe. They told them Elizabeth had won a beauty contest to pry information from her and then informed her that her daughter was dead.At the army base where she worked, every soldier is said to have lusted after her. They told her she was “movie star pretty” and fought for her attention. She liked to visit nightclubs often and in December 1944 she wrote to her mother “”I met someone New Year’s Eve, a major, Matt Gordon. I’m so much in love, I’m sure it shows. He is so wonderful, not like other men. And he asked me to marry him.” Shortly after, a messenger stopped by her house to inform her that her soon-to-be husband had been killed in a plane crash on his way home.She knew the value of good looks and used it to her advantage with a string of men after that, all who had plenty of money. They often paid for her meals, rent and other bills. Money she earned on her own went to buy clothes, she seemed very into fashion and refused to wear outdated clothing. She spent some time in Chicago in an attempt to be a fashion model.After her murder, 40 officers went in search of evidence and came up empty. They also contacted her father who refused their request for body identification. The coroner determined she had been killed by internal bleeding caused by multiple blows to the head. Because the body had been so cleanly bisected, the FBI required a list of every medical student at the University of Southern California. This list is 203 pages long and full of declassified information on the case.Her purse and one of her pumps were found in a dumpster at 1819th E. 25th street, away from the crime scene. Someone, a lot of people believe her killer, sent the Examiner a package which smelled of gas where the individual cleaned their fingerprints from the items. Inside it was her photographs, birth certificate, social security card and her late husbands obituary. It also had a black book with the numbers of 75 men. However, key evidence has been lost… including 13 taunting letters the killer sent to media and the police.Short was buried in Oakland’s Mount View Cemetery with 6 family members in attendance.While the case will likely never be solved, no matter what reputation this young lady might have had, she was still someone’s family; someone’s daughter. That is why those in Criminal Justice do what we do. Everyone means something to someone, no matter what. Reputations and backgrounds should not, and do not, take away from the seriousness of criminal acts.