. . . And Shades of a Homicide Investigation . . .
Tragedy. That's what the FBI found when they gathered background info on Ed Burns. Ed served in the US Army during WW II. During part of this period, he was married and had a daughter. When Burns was away his wife killed their two-year-old daughter and suicided. At this, Ed went bloooey and spent time in a mental hospital . . . Ed was honorably discharged from the Army in 1945, and bought a house in September 1945. He did extensive repairs and remodeling on this house, which was not in California. Shortly after Easter of 1946, Ed Burns remarried. The FBI thinks Ed's wife is from Los Angeles.
Ed's wife is positive Ed was home, not in California, continuously during the months just prior to the Black Dahlia murder, save a few days in December and occasional "one-day trips." She isn't sure of hubby's whereabouts around time zero of the murder . . . She flew to California to visit her parents on January 10, and didn't head for home until January 15 . . . The 10th into the 15th: Ed's kind of time window. It was his window. He had built it. And he'd included himself out of this wintery vacation with Mrs. Burns. On the 8th, Burns had received a from- San Diego phone call, from Mrs. Barnes, aka Elizabeth Short. And he'd set up a "Barnes and wife" date at The HIRSH Apts. in south-downtown LA.
. . . Time Means Change . . .
By the time of the Dahlia murder, Ed no longer resided in the LA Harbor District nor worked in a Long Beach hospital. He had lived there, done that. My source was as good as that of '47 LAPD: identically. I'm sure the FBI was wrong as to when the changes took place. That notwithstanding, resourceful Ed Burns utilized these changes as intrinsic parameters in his Black Dahlia alibi.
. . . A Secret Segue to Eternity . . .
The last two entries of the De-Censored FBI-File Fragments affirm a hunch: once Ed Burns suspected his arrest was imminent, he made himself unavailable for arrest. He deserted his wife. He flew the coop in February to preserve his fully schemed and encrypted suicide. Ed would be a lamster for about two-and-a-half weeks . . . the rest of his life. In his suicide note, Burns wrote: "I have waited for police to capture me . . ." There's Heirens illusion and face value here.
. . . Some Fog Burns Away . . .
The FBI ID'd Ed Burns via an informant. The FBI, not LAPD, did the primary investigation of Ed. FBI findings likely were passed to LAPD through Chief C. B. "Cowboy" Horrall, then Captain Jack Donahoe, then Detective Harry Hansen. I'd say this is the main reason Harry Hansen managed to keep Ed Burns a secret to most of the LAPD detectives who would work the Black Dahlia case. He was in a position to be a full-range filter. Harry Hush could decide who would be privy to data on Burns, and who wouldn't. The would-be-privy set was a select set: a small coterie. Earlier in Solution, we considered why Hansen would've wanted it this way. Cogitate . . . It was over in a hurry for LAPD. By late-February Ed was a fugitive, by the ides of March the rabbit was dead: LAPD Dahlia-case sleuths' chances of arresting their ultra-likely suspect were dead . . . So Harry Hansen redirected his sleuthhounds.
. . . As the Fog Burns Away . . .
Why couldn't LA newspapers fill the public in on that grinner with the Dahlia in the photo-booth shots? Well, where would they find data on Grin Guy? LAPD was hush-hush about Ed. People weren't contacting LA newshawks with info on Ed. Likely tipster origins were lacking: Ed had no LA workplace nor permanent residence in LA. It was like this: out-of-towner Ed went to town and did a murder, and the FBI ID'd and investigated out-of-towner Ed and passed the findings to the local police who couldn't resolve the out-of-towner case, and the lead cop on the case would forever keep mum about Ed. To this day, Ed Burns, the Dahlia killer, is "the little man who wasn't there," to the Los Angeles news media.
Detectives Harry Hansen and Finis Brown sometimes spoke disparagingly of Elizabeth Short. Hansen once referred to Betty as "a bum and a tease." Was it primarily because they knew about Dahlia-killer Ed Burns' tragic background, and new marriage, and felt sorry for him? Don't feel too sorry for him, Harry. Ed was hanging around Hollywood dance halls and bars, and playing around on his wife five months after he remarried. That's how he met Elizabeth Short.
In section Guess Who of Chapter Deciphering the Cryptograms, we saw that the Black Dahlia's favorite boyfriend, Maurice, was Ed Burns. We figured out one reason why Ed would use "Maurice" as an over-the-phone and address-book alias. Now we have one more reason: Ed Burns was married.
Informants clued the FBI in on Ed: ". . . very heavy drinker, spends money freely, not employed." This conflicted combo will be reconciled later . . .