Here’s a creepy parallel to the Elizabeth Short murder. One of the suspects on the LAPD list was one George (in correctly entered into LAPD reports Claude) Welsh, brother to Leila Adele (incorrectly entered into LAPD reports as Dorothy) Welsh. Allegedly, a person named Claude Welsh was in California at the time Short was murdered, but it was unknown if he and Short had ever met. Leila Adele Welsh was born in 1917 and died on March-09-1941 at the age of 24. Leila was the heiress of Kansas real estate mogul James Welsh, (her grandfather). She was a pretty brunette and was a runner-up in beauty contestant at University of Kansas City in 1937. While there she was part of a sorority. After Welsh’s murder a friend there told police a man Welsh had dated only once asked her to marry him. Clearly, her money was the motive. Welsh stated she would think about it. Her sorority sister believed Welsh didn’t know how to handle the situation. As with the Black Dahlia story, there are many facts that were misrepresented in this case, as in most murder cases. I have researched all the facts that I can find thus far.
Also interesting is a fact that suspect in Short’s case, Carl Balsiger, was stationed in California at Camp Cooke at the same time (February 1943) during Short’s employ there at its commissary. Further, Balsiger had apparently attended school in Kansas City with Leila Welsh. The method of operation in both murders contained distinct similarities although they were six years apart. In two separate incidents, Balsiger had been involved in giving women “vicious beatings.” Balsiger and Welsh were two of the original 25 suspects in the Short murder investigation. It was never proven, though, that Welsh ever knew Short.
Clearly, one reason why George Welsh was on the LAPD list is the uncanny resemblance between Short and Leila. Police hoped the man who killed Welsh also murdered Short, hence the connection. The resemblance between Short and Leila Welsh was uncanny, perhaps indicating a preference for a certain “type” of woman. Put a dahlia in Leila’s hair and you’d almost think it was Short. Both siblings were incredibly beautiful and the family was wealthy. Nice. For two years, Claude was a suspect listed on the DA’s papers and for good reason: he lived at the murder site and was present when his sister was murdered.
Leila taught school in Knoxville, IL until 1940, at which time she returned home to Rockhill Road in Kansas City, to live with her mother Marie and George. She was killed horribly and in a manner similar to Short: three blows to the head with a 4 and 1/2 pound railroad hammer and a slit in her throat that almost decapitated her. Blood was drained from her body onto the floor, through the floorboards and into the basement of her mother’s home. Leila’s pajamas were shredded and a man’s shirt, minus collar, was stuffed into the wound in her throat. A 6 inch, circular piece of flesh was cut from her right thigh/buttock after exsanguination, rather decent of the murderous chap. The letter G or S was written on the victim’s calf in the victim’s blood. The victim had not been sexually assaulted. If this doesn’t sound like Short’s murderer, I don’t know which does.
Incredibly, this murder took place in Marie’s house, when both she and her son were home sleeping.The killer entered Leila’s bedroom through an open window after she returned home from a date at the circus. Leila followed her date with a nightcap at a local hotel at around 1:30 am. Her mother heard a thump at some point in the night, but thought it was her son rolling off the davenport he was asleep on. After the murder, the killer left the hammer at the foot of the victim’s bed and stuck the knife into the ground outside the window. Police discovered the killer’s bloody cotton gloves as well as the sizable chunk of flesh he cut from Leila’s thigh/buttock, about 100 yards from the house.
Marie didn’t discover her daughter until late morning the following day. The killer wedged a chair against the door of the victim’s bedroom making it difficult to enter. Leila’s friend told police that the victim mentioned a recent marriage proposal by a male she recently met in Knoxville. This man was not named. Leila told him she would have to think about his proposal. The police eventually and predictably arrested the victim’s brother George Welsh (named Claude), aged 27. This was based on the flimsy statement of the owner of a second-hand store, who claimed to have sold the knife used in the murder to the victim’s brother. Nearly four days prior the incident, a hardware store owner claimed to have sold the gloves found at the scene to George. Prosecutors also presented evidence from her diary indicating the last entry in which the words, “broke up,” had been written and they claimed it was George’s handwriting, hence the evidence for charging George with his sister’s murder. Trace evidence included a footprint and fingerprint, the latter of which may have had nothing to do with the crime. The fingerprint in question belonged to the suspect, George W. Welsh Jr., who was also Leila’s brother, living in the same household. The footprint was determined to belong to someone who had small feet.Good police work, that.
You may wonder how it was that the family slept through such a horrendous murder. I was wondering the same thing. Well there is the Jonbenet Ramsey murder as an example. This child was murdered in the basement of her home and her family slept throughout the entire incident. I suppose anything is possible, especially when you don’t have light sleepers in a family. The murder was never solved.
Leila’s brother George was a suspect in the DA’s office for two years. George was ultimately arrested based on circumstantial evidence alone but there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a trial. Police believed his motive was money and greed. For two years he remained a police suspect until he was finally cleared. No other men were considered as serious suspects including Leila’s date, Richard Funk, whom Leila had been dating for 5 years, from that fateful evening. No arrests were ever made. Depending on the case, since some opinions carry that a victim and a killer probably were acquainted or knew each other well, then to ponder that someone showed up at Leila’s open and screenless window for an invitation to sneak in becomes a plausible possibility. Police suspected the man who murdered the Black Dahlia might have been a candidate but since they couldn’t locate Short’s killer, it wasn’t likely they would find Welsh’s killer either. The Welsh case remains unsolved.