The body had been cut completely in half between the second and third lumbar vertebrae, thus severing the intestine at the duodenum.Newbarr's report noted "very little" ecchymosis (bruising) along the incision line, meaning it had been performed after death.and described her as an "adventuress" who "prowled Hollywood Boulevard".Additional newspaper reports, such as one published in the Los Angeles Times on January 17, deemed the murder a "sex fiend slaying".
She would acquire the nickname of the Black Dahlia posthumously, as newspapers of the period often nicknamed particularly lurid crimes; the term may have originated from a film noir murder mystery, The Blue Dahlia, released in April 1946.
Her case became highly publicized due to the graphic nature of the crime, which entailed her corpse having been mutilated and severed at the waist.
A native of Boston, Short had spent her early life in Massachusetts and Florida before relocating to California, where her father lived.
Her life and death have been the basis of numerous books and films, and her murder is frequently cited as one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history, as well as one of the oldest unsolved cases in Los Angeles County.
Troubled by bronchitis and severe asthma attacks, Short underwent lung surgery at age fifteen, after which doctors suggested she relocate to a milder climate during the winter months to prevent further respiratory problems.