Black Dahlia: Elizabeth Short’s ‘Lost Week’ and the Latest Alleged ‘New Evidence’

Jan. 15, 2022, Alex BaberOh dear. A self-styled “expert” has “new evidence” in the Black Dahlia case. I’m not even linking to this tacticool fool.

On the anniversary of Elizabeth Short’s murder, Chicagoland TV could apparently not resist some bizarre claims of “new evidence” in the Black Dahlia case, by a self-styled “expert.” Oh dear. Did they run their story past anyone who knows anything about the case? Well, this is Fox, so you can pretty much guess the answer is: “No, why would we do that?”

Note: If you are going to hang out your shingle as “solving” or “having new evidence” in the Black Dahlia killing, you better know the case forward and backward, upside down and right-side up, not just what’s been written about it in a couple of crackpot books, or what’s festering on the Web, ready to snare the unwary.
The Jan. 15 anniversary of Elizabeth Short’s murder was marked by two dubious events. The first was Steve Hodel insisting, as he often does, that there was no “lost week” and that there were numerous sightings of Elizabeth Short before her murder. As proof, he cites newspaper accounts of purported sightings — she was reportedly seen all over Los Angeles and in San Diego. And then in a bizarre twist of reason, he goes on to blame the press for creating the myth of the “lost week.”

The reality, which is what we deal with here, is that nobody saw Elizabeth Short after Robert Manley left her at the Biltmore on Jan. 9, 1947. Here we have the testimony of Homicide Detective Harry Hansen under oath before the Los Angeles County Grand Jury:

“We have never been able to find anyone that saw the victim after Robert Manley dropped her at the Biltmore Hotel at – on the 8th day of January (it was actually Jan. 9).”

I would expect Steve Hodel has seen this testimony – he certainly has access to it – so why he ignores it is beyond me.

In another trip to reality, I would note that Patrolwoman Myrl McBride, whom Steve Hodel interviewed many years after the fact, identified Elizabeth Short based on a description. When investigators showed McBride a photo of Elizabeth Short, she was far less confident in her story. The story, widely reported in the papers at the time, is long and the young woman wasn’t Elizabeth Short so I won’t rehash it here.

Executive summary on “new evidence” in the Black Dahlia case: Alex Baber, founder of Cold Case Consultants of America, has compiled a database of “serial killers’ letters” (no, I am not making this up). And he ran the so-called Black Dahlia letters through his Serial-Killer-Vac 3000 and determined similarities to other serial killers, both conveniently dead.

Forgetting that:

1) Only the first “letter” (addressed with cut-out letters and containing items from her purse) was from whoever killed Elizabeth Short. All the rest were pranks — All Of Them. Sorry, that means you, too, Black Dahlia Avenger. Think of it — a “true” crime franchise two decades in the making based on a prank letter.

2) The murder of Elizabeth Short wasn’t a serial killing. (What?) No, really, there’s nothing like it. That’s another post, but, truly, there is not another case like the murder of Elizabeth Short. Not Suzanne Degnan, not Jeanne French. Not anybody.


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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6 Responses to Black Dahlia: Elizabeth Short’s ‘Lost Week’ and the Latest Alleged ‘New Evidence’

  1. Brian says:

    I was going to ask you to clarify the missing week but didnt want to bother you. Thanks for posting.


    • lmharnisch says:

      I truly do not understand why Steve Hodel is so adamant that Elizabeth Short’s “lost week” is a myth. It’s well documented. The detectives said repeatedly at the time that they could not figure out where she was for six days and they expended an enormous amount of time trying to fill in that period. His claims on the matter are bizarre, frankly.


  2. Stephen Powers says:

    The Fox News reporter referred to Elizabeth Short as an “aspiring actress,” but should she be labeled as such given there are no known auditions or acting work? I realize she may have had friends in Hollywood who were aspiring actors/entertainers but I don’t think she even worked as a cigarette girl in a nightclub. Baber stated that her body was found in “downtown L.A.” That’s a stretch also, isn’t it? He claims she dated both of his suspects and one left a fingerprint at one of the Lipstick Killer’s crime scenes in Chicago and now law enforcement is reaching out to him. I can’t tell if he is saying the print was never matched to a suspect before. If the suspects had criminal records it’s strange to me that federal and local agencies are reaching out to him for info on these men. He indicated there are newspaper reports with the suspect’s names but I’m sure the FBI can find those reports online or in their own database as easily as he can.


    • lmharnisch says:

      It’s all ridiculous. Just a self-promoting clown trying to get some publicity from the Black Dahlia case. And a news outlet that’s unconcerned with the truth — or even reality, really.


  3. Steve K says:

    Are any books truthful? 😂 I read Gilmore’s Severed, and it definitely was junk. Eatwell’s book seemed so much more sober, but yea Dillon clearly was not even in LA and if it was Mark Hansen I assume he’d have access to thugs from the Cohen or Siegel or Dragna syndicates,? Why the F pass it down to some weirdo drifter like Dillon? Just seemed too flimsy… i got Hodel’s & Wolfe’s books laying here, I’ll prolly read them just because why not I got them cheap at a used bookstore store… but are any books truthful or on the right track?