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Both local and national publications covered the story heavily, many of which reprinted sensationalistic reports suggesting that Short had been tortured for hours prior to her death; the information, however, was false, yet police allowed the reports to circulate so as to conceal Short's true cause of death—cerebral hemorrhage—from the public.
Further reports about Short's personal life were publicized, including details about her alleged declining of Hansen's romantic advances; additionally, a stripper who was an acquaintance of Short's told police that she "liked to get guys worked up over her, but she'd leave them hanging dry."s Bevo Means) and detectives to look into the possibility that Short was a lesbian, and begin questioning employees and patrons of gay bars in Los Angeles; this claim, however, remained unsubstantiated.
Prior to the autopsy, police had quickly been able to identify the victim as Short after sending copies of her fingerprints to Washington, D. via Soundphoto, a primitive fax machine of the era; the prints matched those given by Short during her 1943 arrest.
Immediately following Short's identification, reporters from William Randolph Hearst's Los Angeles Examiner contacted her mother, Phoebe Short, in Boston, and told her that her daughter had won a beauty contest.
During the next three years, Short lived in Florida during the winter months and spent the rest of the year in Medford with her mother and sisters.
A native of Boston, Short had spent her early life in Massachusetts and Florida before relocating to California, where her father lived.
It is commonly held that Short was an aspiring actress, though she had no known acting credits or jobs during her time in Los Angeles.
Despite the efforts to clean the packet, several partial fingerprints were lifted from the envelope and sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for testing; however, the prints were compromised in transit and were thus unable to be properly analyzed.
The same day the packet was received by the Examiner, a handbag and a black suede shoe were reported to have been seen on top of a garbage can in an alley a short distance from Norton Avenue, 2 miles (3.2 km) from where Short's body had been discovered.