Man in St. Louis Says He Killed Miss Short

March 18, 1947
St. Louis, MO

Melvin Bailey, 25, interrupted his own interrogation for car theft today, telling police, “Let’s forget about cars. I’ve got something hot. Let me tell you about the murder.”

Bailey claimed that he had been out on a date with Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles in January, during which he consumed a cocktail of coffee and Benzedrine. When Miss Short declined his offer of a trip to the East, he struck her head with the butt of a Marine combat knife. He then bissected the young lady in the back of a stolen car parked in the manufacturing district, dumping the remains in the notorious vacant lot at 39th and Norton.

From there, Bailey claimed, he drove to the home of acquaintance William E. Hughes (1710 Cerritos Ave., Long Beach), changed into one of Hughes’ suits, caught a bus to San Francisco, and later moved on to St. Louis. When reached by police, Hughes said he hadn’t seen Bailey in six months, had found no bloody clothing in his home, nor was one of his suits missing. However, Hughes’ landlady, Mrs. Ellen Scaife did recall a man matching Bailey’s description attempting to enter Hughes’ home around the time of Short’s murder.

Police Captain Jack Donahoe was quoted as saying Bailey was a “very good suspect.”

Published by

Kim Cooper

Kim Cooper is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including The Real Black Dahlia. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons and forensic science seminars of LAVA- The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.

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