Who Killed Elizabeth Short? 7 Possible Suspects In The Horrifying Black Dahlia Murder

Published September 8, 2022
Updated April 3, 2024

Leslie Dillon And Mark Hansen: Two Of The Prime Black Dahlia Suspects

Leslie Dillon Black Dahlia Suspects

Bettmann/Getty ImagesLeslie Dillon, a prime Black Dahlia suspect, in 1949.

One theory about the Black Dahlia murder posits that it wasn’t one person who killed Elizabeth Short — but perhaps as many as three. Author Piu Eatwell argued in her 2017 book, Black Dahlia, Red Rose, that the murder was carried out by Leslie Dillon and Jeff Connors at the behest of a Los Angeles nightclub owner named Mark Hansen.

As Eatwell explains, one of the first clues about the Black Dahlia murder came shortly after Short’s body was found. On Jan. 24, 1947, the Los Angeles Examiner received a number of Short’s belongings in the mail, including her birth certificate, social security card, and a number of photos.

The bundle also contained an address book with the name “Mark Hansen” on the front. Short had allegedly stayed a couple of nights with Hansen, a nightclub owner with friends in the LAPD, before her death. And Hansen had allegedly pursued the aspiring actress, though Short rebuffed him.

Elizabeth Short Belongings

INTERNATIONAL NEWS PHOTO/Getty ImagesA number of Elizabeth Short’s belongings were mailed to the Los Angeles Examiner shortly after her body was found.

Two years later, the LAPD seemed to get a break in the case when a man who called himself “Jack Sand” called and started to make claims about the Black Dahlia case. He said that a man named Jeff Connors had killed Short because, per Rolling Stone, she’d threatened to reveal “an affair not considered proper by the average person.”

What’s more, Sand — whose real name was Leslie Dillon — knew details about the Black Dahlia case that the police had kept secret. And he just happened to have worked for Mark Hansen in the past.

Though neither Dillon nor Connors nor Hansen were ever charged, Eatwell suspects that the three men worked together to kill Short. She believes that the men killed her at the Aster Motel, where Dillon was staying, and where the motel owners later admitted to finding a room “covered in blood and fecal matter” around the time of the killing. Witnesses also remembered seeing a dark-haired woman there — as well as a man who looked like Hansen.

But none of the three men were ever charged with murder. Hansen himself seemed to shrug it off when discussing the Black Dahlia murder in 1971, saying, according to Fox News, “She just asked for trouble. She probably went too far this time, and just set some guy off into a blind, berserk rage.”

author
Kaleena Fraga
author
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
editor
John Kuroski
editor
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Fraga, Kaleena. "Who Killed Elizabeth Short? 7 Possible Suspects In The Horrifying Black Dahlia Murder." AllThatsInteresting.com, September 8, 2022, https://allthatsinteresting.com/black-dahlia-killer. Accessed May 29, 2024.