Chapter 36 ~ Carl Balsiger

Of all the suspects in the murder of Elizabeth Short, Carl Balsiger held a unique place. He knew two murder victims, both attractive young women.

H. Carl Balsiger, son of Herman C. Balsiger of Kansas City, Missouri, was born on June 16, 1916. In 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. army as a private. At the time, he was a salesman. He was 6 feet tall and weighed 181 pounds.

Carl Balsiger was a fellow student of Leila Adele Welsh in Kansas City. Both Balsiger and Welsh attended college. Balsiger entered the service as a post graduate. Welsh, born in 1917, was a student at the University of Kansas City. She was also a beauty contest winner and a sorority sister in Sigma Pi Alpha and a member of the student council.

In 1941, Leila Welsh, 24 years old, was murdered in her bedroom in the family home. Her brother, George W. Welsh, Jr., born in 1916, was the number one suspect in her brutal murder. He was tried and acquitted.

Newspapers covered the story of the murder and the subsequent trial for months. Welsh came from a prominent family and her murder shocked the community. She was found brutally beaten with a track chisel, causing multiple fractures to her head. Her throat had been slashed from ear to ear with a seven inch knife, later found outside her bedroom. A piece of flesh from her right hip was removed and later found outside the home.

At the height of the investigation, 40 police officers and 20 deputy sheriffs worked the case around the clock. Hundreds of people were interviewed and many clues were discovered, but no one was found guilty of the murder. At the trial of Leila’s brother, “The crowd was so great at the preliminary hearing for George W. Welsh, jr., in Kansas City yesterday,” newspapers reported, “that he was forced to enter the courthouse through a window.”

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Carl Balsiger was at Camp Cooke in California at the time Elizabeth Short worked in the post Exchange. According to the Los Angeles district attorney, Balsiger was interviewed on January 20, 1947 concerning the murder of Short. On January 24, when Elizabeth Short’s personal belongings were sent to newspapers, the police found a folded piece of paper in her address book with Balsiger’s name. The Los Angeles district attorney noted, “It was established that this suspect on two occasions had given different women vicious beatings apparently for no good reason…”

It was also reported by the D. A. that George Welsh, Leila Welsh’s brother, was in Los Angeles at the time that Elizabeth Short was murdered. It was not established that Welsh and Short knew each other.

Carl Balsiger told authorities that he met Elizabeth Short at a real estate office on Sunset Strip in Hollywood on December 6, 1946 and that he gave her a ride to Camarillo, where, “he made a sale of supplies to a baker,” according to the D.A. report. He later returned to Hollywood, where he found her a room for the night on Yucca Avenue. Detectives were unable to discover a hotel registration on Yucca under the name Balsiger. The suspect said he later dropped her at a bus depot in Hollywood, where she told him she would catch a bus to San Francisco to visit with her sister.

Balsiger originally said he spent one day and one night with Elizabeth, but later said he was with her until December 8, according to Detective Finis Brown, who flew to Missouri to question Balsiger and give him a lie detector test.

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In October, 1949, the parents of Jane Ellen Moyer announced the December wedding of their daughter to H. Carl Balsiger. The bride to be was a graduate of the University of Nebraska and the University of Iowa law school. Her future husband was a graduate of the University of Kansas.

Years later, in 1966, Carl Balsiger was vice president and secretary of North Central Fire and Causality Insurance Company in Minnesota. At the time, a scandal erupted when $750,000 dollars was missing.

The Minnesota attorney general asked for an investigation of the missing assets. Carl Balsiger “attempted to withdraw $325,000 from Northwestern National Bank in Minneapolis,” newspapers reported.

Previously, $750,000 had been withdrawn from the Minnesota bank and deposited in Las Vegas banks. The transfer happened one day after Kansas City, Missouri investors purchased the company. Newspapers speculated that a higher interest rate in Nevada may be the reason for the transfer of funds. Vice President Balsiger had no comment.

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Carl Balsiger, as was the case with other suspects in the murder of Elizabeth Short, was eventually forgotten by the public, but he remains the man who knew two savagely killed young women. Many questions remain unanswered and many questions remain unasked.

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