The Black Dahlia murder of Elizabeth Short on January 15th 1947 is one of the great murder mysteries in the USA, along with Lizzie Borden & The Zodiac. But it has been speculated that the killer of Elizabeth could have been the same man who committed eight murders between 1931 and 1936. The inclusion of Elizabeth, eleven years late, only arose because she spent some time in San Diego. A very tenuous link, but the sheer sadism and brutality of the killings brought the possibility of the perpetrator being the same man. The eight murders began in February 1931 and escalated in violence with each murder. Police and Psychiatrists believed one man was responsible for all of them.
The first victim was 10 year old Virginia Brooks. She was enticed into a vehicle and then not seen for months. Her body was found trussed up in a sack. Then two months later, in April 1931, widow Dolly Bibbens was found dead in her home. She had been sexually assaulted and then brutally beaten to death. But the killer (if it was the same man) did not let up. Two weeks after the murder of Mrs Bibbens, telephonist Hazel Bradshaw was discovered in Balboa Park. Hazel had been attacked in a frenzy, and stabbed a total of 17 times. Whilst cops frantically investigated these killings, another body popped up. Divorcee Maud Detwiler had been killed in a sadistic fashion. But the series of killings stopped. There were no more murders marked by sadism. For three years. March 1934 saw a Mrs Adams murdered, and her body showed the hallmarks of the earlier killings. Authorities believed the man was back.
Now the killer upped the shock on San Diego. April saw the nude body of Louise Tueber, hanging from a tree on Black Mountain. The autopsy concluded that he had been murdered, then transported and hung from the tree. Then, a couple of months later, another young girl, 17 year old Celia Cota, was found very close to her family home. She had suffered rape, torture and then was strangled. The last victim was Ruth Muir, a Riverside YWCA secretary. It was in September 1936 that she went for a walk during the night along La Jolla shore. She was found near the Casa Manana Hotel. She had been sexually assaulted, slashed and stabbed. Then everything seemed to stop. Because Elizabeth Short spent time in San Diego, did her killer spot her and follow her to Los Angeles? In deed, could it have been the same man? Did one man commit the eight murders? We`ll probably never know.