LAPD Officer Myrl McBride – A Surreal Interview
In the summer of 2001, my girlfriend, Roberta McCreary (my researcher extraordinaire) and I drove to the seaside community of Seal Beach in Orange County, where I would conduct the most bizarre homicide witness-interview of my entire career. An interview with fellow retired LAPD officer, Myrl McBride, the last person to see Elizabeth Short alive. (With the obvious exception of her killer(s).
Myrl McBride at 88, lived alone.(Visited regularly by her “pride-and-joy son,” LAPD Commander Tim McBride). She played golf three times a week, her mind was still sharp as a tack, and her sense of humor was as strong as her coffee. (Perfectly brewed!) Myrl was an absolute delight!
Excerpted below is the two-page interview from BDA that established that officer McBride HAD NO DOUBT that the person who ran up to her in fear, claiming “an ex-suitor had just threatened to kill her,” WAS IN FACT ELIZABETH SHORT. This occurred on January 14, 1947 at approximately 3:30 p.m.. Officer McBride calmed her down, then accompanied Elizabeth back to the Main Street bar where they recovered her purse. (The man was gone.) After Elizabeth assured McBride that she was “O.K.” the officer left, but confirmed she saw and spoke to her just thirty minutes later when Elizabeth exited a second bar, accompanied by “two men and a woman.” (Myrl could not recall their descriptions, but informed me she had given them to detectives back in 1947.) On this second contact, Elizabeth was calm and informed officer McBride that she, “was going to meet her father at the bus station.” This is the last known sighting of Elizabeth Short. Her bisected body was found the following morning at 10:30 a.m– just 18 hours after speaking with officer McBride.
Click for interview:
myrl mcbride bda excerpt.pdf
Here’s how I described my meeting with Myrl McBride in BDA, Chapter 30, page 398:
“This interview with Myrl was the strangest of my career. On the surface, we were sitting together in her home, sharing a cup of coffee, linked as we were, ‘fellow retired LAPD’ discussing the facts of an ice-cold murder case. Below the surface, the link was surreal. The last known witness to see and speak with Elizabeth Short — and that in the presence of her killers — was, five decades later, seated next to that killer’s son, now an ex-homicide detective, who was putting the final pieces in place to solve the murder.”
Myrl McBride and author at her home 2001
(photo courtesy of Roberta McCreary)
Myrl McBride & son Tim circa 1949
Myrl’s son, Tim, grew up to become an LAPD Commander, now retired.
Myrl McBride, a beautiful soul and one of LAPD’s finest, passed away, on
November 26, 2002.
R.I.P. Myrl and Thank You!
I hate to say it, but after reading this post and your prior one on the possible “basement murder”, one does come away with a rather dyspeptic view of LAPD brass, and their detectives, Back in the Day, doesn’t one! They did use something like an “Identikit” then I understand; why was this not employed at that time with Officer McBride?
One of your basic contentions is that, A) not only was the case “solved” but that B) there was something of a conspiracy to keep that solution a secret (for many and various reasons), thus keeping the case officially “unsolved”. With my first reading of BDA I must admit I was not fully persuaded by “B”; reading this though, looking at her picture here, and re-reading the excerpt provided I’m left shaking my head that her information, which could not have been more timely or relevant, was so blatantly discounted! This had to have been quite deliberate and not merely a result of incompetence. If the three “companions” had been depicted on the front page of the paper, right then, surely this ought to have been tied up with a bow fairly soon after. Maddening!
I think at this early stage because LAPD was catching so much media heat on the case, the detectives were in defense mode. They wanted to deflect or at least reduce criticism and the best way to do that was to create doubt in the public’s mind as to officer McBride’s orginal positive ID. Hence, the public statement by investigators that “she’s not completely sure now.” They knew she was, but let the public think it may have been someone else. My read on this is it was way too early in the investigation for any “cover-up.” Just CYA.
Understanding that Myrl really did see Beth just hours before her murder clears up a lot of confusion. It tells me that Beth really was around that whole week prior to her death and Myrl’s account also explains why nobody could figure out why Beth could go a whole week without her clothing. She didn’t!
Myrl’s account places Beth “going to meet her father at the bus station”. Obviously she wasn’t really going to meet her father, but she was going to the bus station. Why? That is the key to understanding the entire unaccounted for week of Beth’s life. I finally understand!
Beth did have access to her clothing. She wasn’t staying at the Biltmore hotel! She was living out of a locker at the Bus Station! Red had paid to leave her things there. It wouldn’t have been hard at all for Beth to get access to her things at the station and change clothes as often as she liked. She could easily have hung out with friends, gone to parties, and socialized while living out of a locker at the bus station.
So I wonder, did you ever look into the possibility that Beth came and went from that locker at the bus station retrieving clothing as needed?
I have had to edit down your comments due to length, but as to your question.
According to Robert Manley he checked her luggage for her so they were not stored in a private bus locker that was easily accessible by key. So, doubtful that she was able to easily gain access to them during that week. Reporters actually discovered the suitcases in storage after Manley’s interview. Impossible to determine if she had access to them on a “come and go” basis or not from fifty-years back, but my sense of it is that would be unlikely.