Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Black Dahlia Profiled

A Linked Crime?

Given the offender's apparent degree of being comfortable around the body — enough to preserve it, wash it, and inflict postmortem injuries — it's likely that he had been around corpses before; he may have even murdered before, and Gilmore makes a connection to an unsolved murder that had occurred the year before of Georgette Bauerdorf, a Sunset Strip socialite and oil heiress.  While she had little in common with Short, there were some interesting links.  They sometimes went to the same lounge, the Hollywood Canteen, they knew each other, and some people even mistook one for the other.

Georgette Bauerdorf, murder victim
Georgette Bauerdorf, murder

As a result, Aggie Underwood, an aggressive crime reporter for William Randolph Hearst's Herald-Express, urged the LAPD to re-investigate the Bauerdorf murder.  Bauerdorf had been strangled and raped before she was dumped in her bathtub, face down, with a piece of towel wedged in her throat.  Deputies were never able to locate the 6-foot-4, limping, dark-complected soldier who had dated (and frightened) Georgette—similar to a man seen near the murder scene.

However, Hearst, out of deference to the prominent Bauerdorf family, with whom he was friends, stopped the story and removed Underwood from the case.  Nevertheless, it's important to note that we have two young women who resembled each other, crossed paths, and were murdered within a year of each other.  Both were brutalized and both crime scenes bore marks of anger and hostility against women.

Elizabeth Short in 1947
Elizabeth Short in 1947

I think the commonalities suggest that they both could have attracted the same offender. If there are no other similar crimes attributable to other offenders, these two become unique and the probability of them being linked increases.  We didn't have all the forensic tools back then that we have today to make that determination, but there is a possibility that the offender also went to the same clubs, encountered the victims there, and assaulted them in a similar manner.


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