After the Black Dahlia

Gretchen Wenner

Paul Wellman

Gretchen Wenner

Not only is Gretchen Wenner, the author of this week’s cover story, the first journalist to see Santa Barbara’s police records on Elizabeth Short (aka the Black Dahlia), but the officers opened a closetful of historical documents for her to peruse. Accompanying Wenner that day was her former SBCC criminology professor Anne Redding, who is known to many at the Figueroa Street headquarters. The two women reviewed the police commission’s “meticulously kept minutes, so neatly typed,” with red-type headings and exquisite margins, as Wenner worked out the role of Policewoman Mary Unkefer, who had arrested Short for underage drinking. “In the arrest report,” Wenner said, “it actually describes walking across the street from El Paseo to the police station under City Hall ‘with a glass of liquor’ as evidence!”