On Jan. 15, 1947, the remains of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, AKA “The Black Dahlia,” were found on the block of 3800 S Norton Avenue in Los Angeles. The body was cut in half and so pale and drained of blood that the woman who found the body mistook it for a mannequin at first…
The body was cut with surgical precision, leaving no trauma to internal organs and bones. Her face was also cut from her mouth to ears, leaving an eerie permanent smile. There was no blood on the ground, making it believed that the body was moved after she had been murdered.
Nine days after she was discovered, an envelope was sent to the examiner addressed by using individual cut and pasted letters from magazines and newspapers. It read “The Los Angeles Examiner and other Los Angeles papers, here is Dahlia’s belongings, letter to follow.” As promised, the envelope contained Short’s Social Security card, birth certificate, photographs, names written on pieces of paper, and an address book with pages missing and the name Mark Hansen embossed on the cover. Gasoline was used to clean the objects, removing the fingerprints.
On March 14, a suicide note scrawled in pencil on a bit of paper was found tucked in a shoe in a pile of men’s clothing by the ocean’s edge at the foot of Breeze Avenue in Venice. The note read: “To whom it may concern: I have waited for the police to capture me for the Black Dahlia killing, but have not. I am too much of a coward to turn myself in, so this is the best way out for me. I couldn’t help myself for that, or this. Sorry, Mary.” The pile of clothing was first seen by the beach caretaker, who reported the discovery to the lifeguard captain, John Dillon. Dillon immediately notified the West Los Angeles Police Station. The clothes included a coat and trousers of blue herringbone tweed, a brown and white shirt, white jockey shorts, tan socks, and tan moccasin shoes, about size eight. However, the clothes gave no clue about the identity of their owner.
Although many suspects were named, no authorities were able to identify the Black Dahlia’s killer and the mystery has gone unsolved for over 70 years.