Chapter 13 ~ The Lady in Red

“..and this lady in red, as they call her, disappeared.”

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Suite 215 in the Cherokee Building on Hollywood Boulevard held just two medical offices. Dr. Arthur M. Faught was a physician  from Nebraska who had once been a surgeon for the Union Pacific Railroad. The doctor  had the corner office in suite 215 for about 23 years before he died in late 1949. His  brother Claude helped out in the office with bookkeeping and financial matters. The doctor also had a nurse, Mrs. Lillian Zickler.

Dr. Melvin Schwartz was the other doctor in Suite 215. He was a younger man, in his late 20’s. Dr. Schwartz was a dentist. He also had a nurse, Miss Barbara Martin. The two doctors got along well. Dr. Faught usually left his office for home between three and four in the afternoon. If patients wandered in, Dr. Schwartz would evaluate their needs, and if they weren’t urgent, he would tell them to come back the next day when Dr. Faught was in. Dr. Schwartz said, “- occasionally a straggler, someone walking the Boulevard, walking around looking for a doctor would happen to land up there.”

Whacked Out

One afternoon, after Dr. Faught had left for the day, a young woman walked into the office and asked for the doctor. Dr. Schwartz talked to her, explaining that the Doctor was gone for the day. He asked her the nature of her problem in order to see if she needed immediate attention or if she could wait until morning.

According to Schwartz, “she seemed to be rather reluctant to talk, this was in the reception room, there were other patients waiting, we stepped in Dr. Faught’s office and she related the fact that she had an inflamed gland.” She said that Dr. Faught had once lanced the gland for her and it had worked but now she needed to be treated again.

She told Dr. Schwartz that she thought she was allergic to rubber. “Every time I play around and have a rubber used on me, I get into this trouble.” Dr. Schwartz also said she told him, “Gee, I’m tired, I’m whacked out. I didn’t get in until about four or five o’clock this morning. I was practically in San Diego.” She said to Schwartz, “You’re a pretty good looking doctor.” He thanked her and she said, “Why don’t you examine me?” Schwartz said, “she proceeded to grab my hand, she lifted her dress, and I pulled my hand away and stepped away from her.”

Schwartz said it all happened quickly and then nurse Zickler “stepped into the office, and this lady in red, as they call her, disappeared.” Schwartz checked with Faught the next day, but he said she had not returned. According to Schwartz, Faught told him that she had been in previously, and referred to her “as a streetwalker, the type, pick-up type.”  Schwartz said the young woman, “appeared to be a very fast individual, very fast, fastest woman I had ever seen.”

The Black Dahlia

Two uniformed policemen first came to the Cherokee Building and talked with Dr. Schwartz.  “I was very much surprised that uniformed men came  up on a case like that, inasmuch as I have seen and been around the police department as much as I have, I always thought that would be handled by plainclothesmen.”

Schwartz said, “They wanted to know the date or when we had seen what they referred to as the Black Dahlia, and told them the reason I’m so positive of the date we had seen her, we were addressing Christmas cards, and it was approximately 10, 12, 14 days before Christmas-.”

Later, when investigators showed a photograph of Elizabeth Short to Dr. Schwartz, he said, it “resembles her very, very closely, I’m inclined to think that was her.” He also said that Mrs. Zickler “appeared to be” positive that the young woman was Beth Short.

Dr. Schwartz said that Dr. Faught and Mrs. Zickler “called her the lady in red, she was known as the lady in red, I think she wore red nearly every time she came in, or had a red flower in her hair, I don’t know, they referred to wearing a carnation or some type of flower  all the time.”

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