South Norton Avenue Today

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Mapquest map of Norton Avenue

Satellite photo of Norton Avenue
(disregard the address used to generate the map and the photo)

© Text copyright 2003 Larry Harnisch

Over the years, some people have offered the theory that the crime scene was chosen because when it is viewed on a modern map it resembles the lower portion of a woman's anatomy.

This 1945 map of Los Angeles rebuts that notion. For those who are unfamiliar with the area, think of the overall neighborhood as a candelabra. The base of the candelabra rests on Santa Barbara (now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard), the stem rises north along Degnan, splitting as Norton Avenue on the west side and Degnan on the east side. The stem rises further, and splits again, as Grayburn on the west and Edgehill on the east. Although it is not shown on the 1945 map, there is a small, triangular park at the point where Degnan and Norton split.

Some crime buffs have suggested that the killer looked at a map of Los Angeles, noticed that the streets resemble a woman's anatomy (especially because of the park) and left the body a block and a half away. Imagine for a moment, that you have just killed someone. Now look over this map and quickly pick out the crime scene.

Hint: If you can't find the crime scene, it's at C-1

Some conspiracy buffs believe that the body was placed in the 3800 block of Norton as a "sign" by the killer to link Degnan Boulevard with Suzanne Degnan, a 6-year-old Chicago girl who was killed in 1945. Without delving into all the conspiracy theories involving the William Heirens case (it's always interesting when two conspiracies are blended to become an even bigger conspiracy), it's enough to say that this scenario conveniently ignores the fact that there are two streets, Grayburn and Edgehill, between Norton and Degnan at the point where Elizabeth Short's body was found.

South Norton Avenue, 1945

map image