Elizabeth Short, more commonly known as the Black Dahlia, had moved to Los Angeles, California in hopes of making it big as an actress (theblackdahliainhollywood.com). Unfortunately, her life was cut short at the age of 22 when she was brutally murdered in January of 1947. Her murder was never solved and is considered one of the oldest cold cases in California. It is also considered one of the most famous. The murder of the Black Dahlia has forever changed American culture.
On January 15, 1947, Elizabeth Short was found dead in a vacant lot near Leimert Park in Los Angeles, California. Her body was found cut in half at the waist, drained, and scrubbed clean. Her cheeks had been cut to each ear as if she had a permanent smile on her face. Her murder completely shook the city of L.A. and everyone had one question: Who killed Elizabeth Short?
Unfortunately, that question was never answered. Shortly before her death, Elizabeth had been grieving the death of a man she had fallen in love with. This led to the befriending of several men from a jazz club she frequently attended, making it hard to know exactly who she was with at the time of the murder (time.com).
During the investigation after Elizabeth was found, police experienced several false confessions, a lack of hard evidence, and many faulty witnesses. Because of this, the killer was never found and the case went cold.
As media got involved, Elizabeth Short quickly became known as the Black Dahlia. Her shocking death was the most talked about thing in California for months. Brian Carr, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, said, "Early on, I think for two months it was front-page news in all local papers everyday." Short's death continued to be the hottest topic in California, even after the case went cold.
In 2013, the case reopened and an investigation was conducted by retired police sergeant, Paul Dostie on Dr. George Hill Hodel. After finding unusual items in his father's home, Steve Hodel reported his father and the investigation began. Dostie's police dog with a keen sense of smell uncovered evidence against George Hill Hodel. The scent of human decomposition was found in several parts of his basement and according to Steve Hodel, there is a old recording of his father and an unknown person. In the recording, George says, "Supposin' I did kill the Black Dahlia. They can't prove it now. The can't talk to my secretary because she's dead." This gave several people, including his own son, the idea that Dr. George Hill Hodel was the killer of the Black Dahlia. Although, there was never enough evidence to press charges against the doctor and in 1999, George Hill Hodel died (biography.com). The case still remains cold.
The murder of the Black Dahlia has changed American culture through the novel "The Black Dahlia" by James Ellroy that was also turned into a movie. In 2000, a childhood friend of Elizabeth's wrote a book pinning the murder on actor and director, Orson Welles (Pruitt).
"The Black Dahlia." Time Inc, accessed 2 December 2016.
"Black Dahlia Biography." Biography.com, 21 September 2016.
"Black Dahlia."The Black Dahlia in Hollywood, accessed 4 December 2016.
Pruitt, Sarah. Ask History, 6 January 2016.