Well it's January 14th again and most people might not realize it's the 61st anniversary of the discovery of Elizabeth Short's mutilated body on Norton Ave and 39th street.
Before Elizabeth Short became the ultimate symbol of 40's L.A. Noir as the Black Dahlia she was simply known as Betty by her mom and sister. I like to think of Betty on this day as a young woman full of life rather than the image of the Dahlia cut in half in a vacant south L.A. field.
There have already been too many books written detailing the murder with theories ranging from mob bosses to film directors as the brutal killer. I say today we focus on the happiness; the smiling girl in the photos in Miami and Melford, MA. Not the slashed mouth of a kid led astray chasing the Hollywood dream.
During my fifteen plus years on the force I found myself visiting her last haunts on the anniversary of that gruesome discovery. While the case is technically still "open" I imagine we will never learn exactly what happened during that missing week of her life. Too much time has passed.
From what I've heard on the inside the L.A.P.D. of the 40's did a botch job on the crime scene. They let cops and photographers step all over the murder site damaging any additional evidence (shoe prints, tire tracks) that could have aided the investigation. But maybe that's exactly what the L.A.P.D hierarchy of the day wanted.
She was last seen alive leaving the Biltmore Hotel in downtown before she disappeared into the night. Betty, our thoughts and prayers are still with you.