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Born July 29, 1924, in Hyde Park, Mass., Beth Short was the daughter of Phoebe and Cleo Short. Although her legal name was Elizabeth Short, many called her Betty, and as she grew up, she preferred to be called Beth.
The officially cause of death was "hemorrhage and shock due to concussion of the brain and lacerations of the face." Although the Los Angeles Police Department will not comment on the specifics of the weapon used to sever Beth's body, it is believed the killer used a butcher knife to eventually saw her in two.
Following are excerpts from the official coroner's report:
There are multiple lacerations to the midforehead, in the right forehead, and at the top of the head in the midline. There are multiple tiny abrasions and lacerations. The trunk is completely severed by an incision, which is almost straight through the abdomen.... There are multiple crisscross lacerations in the suprapubic area, which extend through the skin and soft tissues.
There are lacerations of the intestine and both kidneys. The uterus is small and no pregnancy is apparent. The tubes, ovaries, and cul-de-sac are intact.... Within the vagina and higher up there is lying loose a piece of skin with fat and subcutaneous tissue attached. On this piece of loose skin there are several crisscrossing lacerations. Smears for spermatozoa have been taken.
The anal opening is markedly dilated and the opening measures 1 1/4" in diameter.... There are multiple abrasions.... Smear for spermatozoa has been taken.....
The stomach is filled with greenish brown granular matter, mostly feces and other particles, which could not be identified. All smears for spermatozoa were negative.
It appeared as though many of the lacerations, including the dilation of the anal opening, were done after the woman's death.
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