I read there was a fairly good case for such a doctor by the name of *Patrick S. O'Reilly, *who had strong sadistic tendencies, and a missing pectoral, which fitted the lacerations on her body, and relation to police (he was formerly married to a daughter of a police captain), which could have greatly assisted in a cover-up. Also were there any murders with similar modus operandi and patterns in adjacent years/locations?

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    Interesting though it may be, no one on this forum can answer this question or it wouldn't be an unsolved murder.
    – justCal
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 16:51
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    @user2448131 I tend to disagree. I think my answer below covers it. To paraphrase: "Nobody knows. Here's the evidence, such as it is. Make up your own mind." Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 17:21
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    @ sempaiscuba My comment is to explain my reason for voting to close this particular question. You agree with me there is no answer, so by definition it is a 'bad question' for the forum as only opinion or non-answers can be replies. You might check this meta discussion. I like (mostly) your answer style and information level, so I have not downvoted the answer, but expressed my opinion on the quality of the question.
    – justCal
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 17:49
  • @user2448131 Fair point. I've opened a discussion on Meta, and I hope you'll contribute. Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


The short answer to your question is "Nobody knows who murdered Elizabeth Short".

A lot of theories have been advanced over the years, and several suspects have been named. Patrick S. O'Reilly is certainly one of the names that has been advanced as a suspect, but it seems that it was actually George Hodel who topped the LAPD’s list of suspects at the time of the crime. Hodel's son became a detective in the LAPD and has published much of the 'evidence' that he believes confirms his father's guilt.

As for other similar or related murders, a few have been suggested, but none with entirely convincing evidence to support the link.

You can read a lot of the background information about the case on the Black Dahlia website, and the unclassified FBI files are certainly worth reading too.

  • latest FBI secret recordings admit the suspect Hodel most likely never met or knew short, and that while he was known as a womanizer, he was a very weak suspect from the start.
    – Bak1139
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 16:47
  • @Bak1139 Sadly that seems to be true of most of those identified as suspects. The unclassified files available online on the FBI vault are worth reading (I've added a link to the answer) if you're interested in the case, although I should say you probably won't end up any wiser about who actually killed Elizabeth Short.. Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 16:57
  • most of the other suspects appear weak or unrelated, this guy had a strong sadistic tendency, had already almost beat to death a woman once, and was in ties with the police.....It is strange he was not arrested.
    – Bak1139
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 17:00

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