Will Fowler (a Los Angeles Examiner reporter who lived to be 81 years old) and his photographer, Felix Paegel, arrived at the scene before the police. They were only a half-mile away from Norton Street when they'd heard the radio call.

Will's lively Examiner articles (many of which are in the FBI file), and Paegel's pictures (taken before, and after, the police arrived), gave the Examiner a running start with the story. Fowler's later book, which featured Elizabeth's murder, provides more details and graphic pictures.

In 1947, investigating police officers and press reporters worked together in a way that seems foreign now.

Will, and his Examiner colleagues, did the best they could to keep ahead of the law and their opposition. In exchange for helping the FBI to identify the body found on Norton Street, police gave the Examiner the scoop on the victim's name.

The following are excerpts from the Examiner's January 17, 1947 story (contained in the FBI's file):

Identification of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short as the Los Angeles victim of one of the most brutal murders in crime annals was a cross-country feat of enterprise and scientific coordination today.

Participating were the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Examiner, the Washington Bureau of the Hearst newspapers, International News Photos, and Detective Sergeants Harry Hansen and Finis A. Brown of Los Angeles.

Successful, almost instantaneous transmission by wire across the continent of the delicate whorls, loops and "tents" of the dead girl's fingerprints is believed to have expanded the boundaries of crime detection.

Once reporters knew her name, they were able to investigate the details of Elizabeth's life.

Jack Smith, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, called a Long Beach drugstore after he learned it might have been a place Elizabeth visited. The pharmacist told him:

She used to hang around with the kids at the soda fountain. They used to call her the Black Dahlia - on account of the way she wore her hair. (Jack Smith's January 23, 1975 column, LA Times)

Now the victim, and the case, had a name. And with a name in hand, the police could look for a suspect.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5186stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 01, 2006

Updated Last Revision: Jul 25, 2014

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"POLICE and PRESS COOPERATE" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 01, 2006. May 24, 2019.
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