By: Yazmin Brito
Caution tape, flashing lights and puddles of blood are what the residents of Los Angeles, California witnessed, back in January of 1947. Elizabeth Short’s, a.k.a “Black Dahlia,” life came to a complete stop when she was brutally murdered on the 3800 block of L.A.'s South Norton Avenue, at the age of 22, but: what does the community think about this misfortune, nearly 70 years later?
Elizabeth was the third oldest of five daughters born to Cleo and Phoebe Mae Sawyer Short. At the age of 5 years old Elizabeth was abandoned by her father Cleo, however this bump along the road did not discourage her to pursue a career in cinema. It was when she was in her teens that she decided to become an actress.
Massachusetts native, Elizabeth Short was an aspiring actress in Los Angeles, hoping to “catch a break” in Hollywood’s spotlight, which was in the mid 1940’s. In order to support her dream, she had to maintain a job as a waitress;little did she know that her dream would come to a halt.. “Unfortunately the girl was not that well connected around town, she was a nobody,” says U.S. History teacher, Mr. Gunther, who previously studied conspiracy theories; the black dahlia being one of them. Her body was found mutilated, cut in half, and her face disfigured. It was said that her face had gashes from her mouth that reached up to her ears, creating a cynical smile forever imprinted on her face.
Her case had caught the attention of the media, giving her the infamous name, “The Black Dahlia.” Her name was known throughout California, since she was on front page of multiple news sources for two consecutive months.
Here are some facts about her files:
Since it was big booming news, at the time, how did this event affect the community 70 years later?
“The black dahlia murder was found in [a] public place in Los Angeles, on a residential area,” says freshmen Moises Brito, who showed interest in Black Dahlia’s file. “If it was me, back in the day, I would be terrified at the fact that there is a murderer loose in the city.”
Most people would think, why didn’t the police catch the criminal behind this horrific act? “LA, in the 1940’s, was kind of a boom town who were not that well organized. They also didn't have very good forensics,” said Mr. Gunther. In fact, Mr. Gunther’s point was correct. According to LAPD “Forensic Science Division History” , the crime lab was starting to grow as fingerprint specialist and photographers were being added to the LAPD. In addition, the funding was going underway, as money was not easy to come across.
Although this case has gone cold after 70 years, this brings attention to not only celebrity deaths, but opens the viewer's eye to the potential murders that are out and about.
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