You know that old advice about purchasing real estate? Location! First and foremost! Especially where amenities and parks and dumping lots are concerned. Wait a minute.
Dumping lots? Let me backtrack for a moment. We know that Short was found on Norton Avenue, Los Angeles. She was brought to the very end of the Avenue that was a vacant lot. A sign was posted that stated No Dumping. Needless to say the killer flaunted convention and the law even further by “dumping” poor Short’s remains beside the lot. There’s nothing original about that, to be sure. But wait! There’s more! LA Times reporter Larry Harnisch researched the Dahlia case for several months, as fascinated and obsessed as anyone has ever been. What he discovered about the location of Short’s corpse was quite intriguing.
Harnisch discovered that Norton Avenue was a significant name in Short’s life. Not only was it her dumping ground but years before when her sister married, one of her
bridesmaid’s whose married surname was Lindgren, lived on Norton Avenue in Los Angeles, about a block from Short’s location. The vacant lot is now built up into a pretty suburb. In 1944, the house that Lindgren lived in, at 3959 S. Norton Avenue, belonged to Lindgren’s mother, Ruth Bayley. Who was Bayley’s husband? Surgeon Dr. Walter Bayley. As former chief of staff at LA County Hospital, Bayley was indeed a good candidate. What’s more, after his death Bayley’s wife and girlfriend, Dr. Patika, fought over the content of his will. The implication was that Patika had a secret she held over him, forcing him to include her in a substantial portion of his will. Patika herself looks as though she could have committed – or assisted with – the murder. She must be one of the most ghoulish women I’ve ever seen. She reminds me of Irma Grese, also known inexplicably as the Beauty of Bergen-Belsen, a Nazi sadist who tortured Jewish prisoners in the women’s camp, except Patika was even homelier. She bared her teeth when she smiled, almost as much as Short’s Glasgow Smile, and Patika’s monstrous teeth were just as ghoulish.
Does Harnisch think Dr. Bayley killed Short? No. There is no obvious motive and it cannot be proven that Bayley even knew Short. Harnisch does believe that if ever police had found who killed Short, it would have come out long ago. A police officer from the LAPD stated more it more succinctly: if a person had proof about who murdered Short, that person would be worth “millions.”
Another doctor, George Hodel, also lived in the area. He too had anatomical knowledge and could possibly have been the killer. His son, Steve Hodel, certainly thinks so and has published a book about his suspicions, providing what he believes to be solid evidence. Could DNA help solve the case? Maybe. Alas, wouldn’t you know, all samples from Short’s body have been lost so DNA is not to be found. In fact all witness and suspect audiotapes are gone, photographs, original documents, envelopes, and more are all lost forever. Like the Dahlia herself.