Amongst the many theories that abound about the identity of the person who brutally tortured and killed Elizabeth Short aka ‘The Black Dahlia’ in January 1947, one in particular stands out; that Elizabeth Short was murdered by a jealous female lover or spurned wife.
Despite the vast majority of violent murders being committed by men, there are a number of indications that suggest the killer was a woman. These include:
- When it was discovered, Elizabeth Short’s corpse was discovered in two halves. It has been theorized that a body in two halves would be easier for a female to handle and carry.
- An autopsy revealed extensive mutilation to Short’s genitals, breasts, and face, and the killer had gone to great lengths to eradicate her attractive looks by slashing her mouth from ear to ear. This sort of mutilation is common in jealousy related murders, and women are far more likely to pay attention to facial mutilation than men in violent crimes.
- Short’s hair had been washed and styled after her death, an action that women are far more likely to be proficient at than men.
- A few days before she disappeared, Short told a friend that she had been chased down the street by a woman wearing mens clothes.
- On the last day she was seen, Short mentioned she was going to stay at a friends house over the weekend. The man who drove her part of the way noted that Short had taken no clothes or makeup to her friends house, which may mean that her friend was a female who could have loaned her some, and this same friend could have killed her.
- Short was known to associate with lesbians and frequented a lesbian bar in the year before her murder.
On January 15, 1947, a woman walking with her daughter stumbled upon the badly mutilated corpse of a young woman lying beside the footpath. Naked, the corpse had been bisected at the waist, drained of blood, and scrubbed clean. Soon identified as twenty-two year old Elizabeth Short, the injuries to the body were so extensive it was impossible to determine if any particular injury killed her. Here are some interesting findings from her autopsy report:
- Trunk entirely severed with a single incision, parallel to the navel
- deep vertical cut on pubic area, mimicking a hysterectomy (womb intact)
- Inner thigh deeply gouged, lacerated; small chunk of flesh removed.
- Pubic hair clipped and inserted forcibly into anus. Anal rape by foreign object - no sperm detected.
- Intestines and lower organs had been removed after the trunk was severed; found under buttocks, still attached.
- Both breasts had been gouged with the tip of a knife and her right breast had been almost entirely removed.
- Her mouth had been slashed at either side whilst she was still alive; most of her teeth had been broken by a blunt instrument, possibly a baseball bat.
A mugshot taken of Elizabeth Short in 1943, after being arrested for underage drinking. Less than three years later Short’s dismembered, mutilated corpse would be discovered in a vacant lot in Los Angeles, and the wannabe starlet - who never once scored a movie role in her life - would go down in history as the infamous “Black Dahlia”.
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