The Black Dahlia’s Body Was Discovered 77 Years Ago Today — And The Case Has Never Been Solved

Elizabeth Short's mutilated body was found on the sidewalk in a Los Angeles neighborhood in 1947

<p>Bettmann Archive/Getty</p>

Bettmann Archive/Getty

On January 15, 1947, Elizabeth Short’s dead body was discovered on a Los Angeles sidewalk.

Dubbed "The Black Dahlia" by the press due to her affinity for sheer black clothing and in reference to the 1946 movie The Blue Dahlia, the 22-year-old aspiring actress was brutally murdered, sliced at the waist and placed on the road in a mannequin-like pose. Now, exactly 77 years later, the case remains unsolved.

“Who killed the Black Dahlia and why? It’s a mystery,” reads the FBI’s official website page dedicated to the case.

Short’s case is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood murders, still garnering attention from people around the world.

Related: Who Killed 'The Black Dahlia?' New Series Examines Hollywood Murder Mystery

<p>Bettmann Archive/Getty</p>

Bettmann Archive/Getty

When her body was found, it had been bathed and drained of blood, with her face mutilated to make her look like a clown. Because her body was so cleanly cut, many people wondered if someone in the medical field could be responsible for the crime.

Years later in 2003, a retired LAPD detective wrote a book pointing to his father, gynecologist George Hodel, who died in 1999, as the murderer. Hodel and Short had dated prior to her death.

The lack of blood at the scene where Short was found led investigators to consider other locations where she could have been murdered. Many theorized she was killed at Hodel's Los Feliz estate, which sold for $5 million in 2018.

Related: Unsolved Crimes and Disappearances: The Black Dahlia, Zodiac Killer and More Notorious Mysteries

Despite leads throughout the investigation, the FBI was never able to match DNA to anyone in their database.

“In a tantalizing potential break in the case, the Bureau searched for a match to fingerprints found on an anonymous letter that may have been sent to authorities by the killer, but the prints weren’t in FBI files,” states the FBI on its website.



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After searching for new clues, receiving false confessions and hitting many dead ends, The Black Dahlia case has left people with little hope that it will ever be solved.

“The murderer has never been found, and given how much time has passed, probably never will be,” the FBI site says.

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