A-Bomb Doom to Hang Over Bikini For Decades

March 24, 1947

Today in New York, Col. Stafford Warren, M.D., chief of medical and radiological safety of last summer’s Crossroads Operation, now Dean of the UCLA Medical School, predicted that Bikini Lagoon and its twenty islands should remain depopulated for decades, at the very least, until radiation returns to safe levels.

Husband Kills Bride and Self After Quarrel

Douglas Wiggins, 24, a milkman, shot and killed Gladys, his 18-year-old wife of four months, then killed himself Friday night.

Friends and relatives told police that Mrs. Wiggins was suffering from anemia, and had urged her husband to accompany her on a trip home to Colo, Iowa, where they were married. This was the only known source of disagreement between the couple, who lived in a tiny furnished room over Mrs. Georgia Blattenberg’s garage (2527 1/2 S. Orange Dr.).

The murder weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, had been taken from its hiding place behind pictures on Mrs. Blattenberg’s mantle.

2527 1/2 S. Orange Dr. to-day

Apologies for failing to get a proper shot of the tastefully furnished apartment where Wiggins opened up on teen wifey with his .38; you can see the window peeking out at the far left. Mrs. Blattenberg is long gone — locals eyed me suspiciously as I snapped from my idling vehicle. Their nods and glances indicated that they were intending to question me intimately as to my purpose, so I waved like Roosevelt and ambled away.

Another shingled Craftsman home sprayed with pink stucco, its double-hung windows replaced with aluminum sliders. Purty gate, too. Special level of hell for all of them.

Husband Kills Self After Phoning Wife

March 21, 1947
Los Angeles

Robert Duff, 27, was looking for his wife, Ruth. He located her by telephone, in her attorney’s office where she’d gone to discuss a separation. “So that’s where you’ve gone,” he said. “If that’s the way it is, you’ll never see me again.”

Mr. Duff hung up, and William Esterman, his wife’s attorney, called police. When they arrived at the Duff home (1116 Waterloo St.) they found Robert Duff’s body on the living room floor, a .38 revolver nearby. Elsewhere in the house were the couple’s young son and daughter.

Woman Faces Stabbing Death Trial After Inquest

March 19, 1947
Los Angeles

Ruth “Sunny” McKenzie today was formally charged in the stabbing death of fiance Jack Floyd, and Torrance Police Captain E. M. Ashton provided a Coronor’s jury with additional details of the attack. He stated that, according to Miss McKenzie, the pair had just enjoyed a private dinner in her apartment, and were discussing their nuptials, planned for April 13.

“Just think, baby, in another month I’ll be a hanged man,” whispered the victim.

“No you won’t,” replied Sunny, “You’ll be a stabbed man.” She told Ashton that she meant to suggest her beloved would be pierced with arrows of love, but as it happens, she had a knife in her hand at the time.

McKenzie, who declined to testify, also told Aston that with his last breath, Jack Floyd had assured her that he still loved her.

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.”

39th & Norton to-day

Having been to 39th and Norton more times than I care to remember, may I direct you here:



Larry notes: Hi. Despite what you read everywhere, Elizabeth Short wasn’t found at 39th and Norton Avenue. She was found between 39th and Coliseum, about roughly the midpoint of the block.

To which Nathan replies: Larry is correct. Here’s a shot looking north on Norton, with Coliseum in the distance. I would posit that the action is a bit closer to 39th than halfway up the block, but if so, not by much–Norton is a long block here. One source has her at “54 feet north of the fire hydrant at mid-block” so there you go.


While off-topic for LA47, I still have to ask this, as I’m sure one of you out there knows… Short was bagged in Santa Barbara in ’43 (whence came that famous photo, and her post-murder ID) for underage drinking, and what I want to know is, where was she popped?