Black Dahlia Update: New Clue Further Links Dr. George Hill Hodel to 1947 Jeanne French “Red Lipstick” LA Lone Woman Murder

September 26, 2016
Los Angeles, California

Yesterday I discovered a new “taunting clue” left by my father in his commission of the 1947 murder of former actress and aviatrix, Jeanne French.
Though it was in plain sight all along and readily discoverable, I had simply missed it for the past fifteen years.

Before revealing our newly discovered clue, let’s take a short refresher course of GHH’s crime-signature MOs as presented in Black Dahlia Avenger I & II.   Specifically, let’s examine his unique “catch me if you can” MO of placing his victim’s bodies adjacent to streets that relate directly to his crimes.

Chicago Lipstick Murder
January 6, 1946, Chicago, Illinois

Suzanne Degnan age 6
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In the horrific kidnap-murder of little Suzanne Degnan, the child was  taken from her home and slain in the basement of a nearby apartment complex which detectives determined was “The Murder Room.” A surgical procedure known as a hemicorpectomy was performed (body bisected between the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae), and her body parts were then placed in sewers in the neighborhood.

Six weeks after the crime the victim’s arms, posed and “bent at the elbows” were discovered in a sewer one-half mile away from the murder room. As indicated in the below Chicago Daily Tribune article, they had been posed and placed in a sewer just off “HOLLYWOOD STREET.”
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The gruesome discovery of Suzanne Degnan’s arms found in an alley off Hollywood Street.

Black Dahlia Murder
January 15, 1947, Los Angeles, California

Elizabeth Short, age 22

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Elizabeth Short’s body was surgically bisected at George Hodel’s Hollywood residence.  A surgical procedure known as a hemicorporectomy was performed (body bisected between the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae), and the body parts were then transported to a  vacant lot in Liemert Park district of Los Angeles some seven miles south of Hollywood.

On January 15, 1947, her body “arms bent at the elbows” was found posed just off the sidewalk.  Geoge Hodel as a taunting clue placed the body on what he thought was “DEGNAN BLVD,” (a subtle “catch me if you can” clue to his Chicago, Suzanne Degnan “Lipstick Murder.” Unbeknownst to GHH, the street transitions from Degnan Blvd to become Norton Ave, just south of where he posed the body.)
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Elizabeth Short body parts shown posed on a vacant lot at Norton/Degnan Ave.

The Jigsaw Murder
May 28, 1967, Manila, Philippines

Lucila Lalu, age 28
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Lucila Lalu was kidnapped from her place of business in Metropolitan Manila on May 28, 1967. Her body was surgically bisected by a skilled surgeon and her body parts placed on a vacant lot in the Makati district of Manila, adjacent to a street named Epifano De Los Santos immediately adjacent to a street named ZODIAC. (Six months earlier, Riverside, California murder victim, Cheri Jo Bates,  (George Hodel’s first known Zodiac victim) was slain and in a typewritten note, sent one month later, he promised he would commit a kidnap/murder and “I shall cut off her female parts and deposit them for the whole city to see.”

Circle in below graphic shows the approximate location of Lalu body part adjacent to ZODIAC ST.
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The Red Lipstick Murder- The New Clue
(Discovered September 25, 2016)

Jeanne T. French, age 40
Actress/Aviatrix
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Mrs. Jeanne French was last seen having dinner with “a dark-haired man with a mustache” at the Picadilly Restaurant, 3932 Sepulveda Blvd.,  in West Lost Angeles on February 10, 1947. Mrs. French left her vehicle, a 1928 Ford Roadster, in the restaurant parking lot and left with the suspect at 2:00 a.m.  in what a restaurant witness described as a “1937 Black Sedan.” (GHH drove a 1937 Black Packard.)

The coroner estimated Mrs. French was slain at approximately 4:00 a.m. Her nude body was found posed in a vacant lot near the intersection of Indianapolis and Grand View. Written on her torso in red lipstick were the words, “FUCK YOU, B.D.” (Killer’s taunt meant to inform police and press he was the Black Dahlia Avenger, and the same man who had slain Elizabeth Short just three weeks earlier.)

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The New Clue

Just two weeks before the Jeanne French “Red Lipstick Murder,” funeral services were held for Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short. The Short family decided to have her buried near one of her sister’s home in Oakland, California.

Below photos show the funeral, held on January 25, 1947. The Oakland Tribune article reads, “the victim was laid to rest in Oakland’s Mountain View cemetery.”

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Two weeks after those services, Dr. George Hill Hodel kidnaped and brutally murdered Mrs. Jeanne French. The cause of death was “blunt force trauma to the head.” ( The coroner suspected a possible tire iron was used.) The victim was then dragged from the vehicle stripped of her clothing and stomped on causing her ribs to puncture her heart. The profane lipstick message was then written on her torso and her fur coat placed on top of her body.

As seen in the photo and map diagram below, in 1947, the location chosen to dump the body was another isolated vacant lot. The street directly adjacent to where the body was placed?  MOUNTAIN VIEW AVE.  Another, (his fourth) taunting street clue connecting himself to his crimes.

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Victim Jeanne French body posed adjacent to MOUNTAIN VIEW AVE

 

Comments

  1. Steve, It makes sense because GHH had a photographic memory right and liked riddles, thinking abstractly.
    Do you know if he ever worked at or did a residency at Bellevue Hospital anywhere…there had to be some planning of these murders. The reason I am asking about Bellevue is because I sent you a link regarding a ligature murder and strangulation of two young women. In the video clip they showed a street sign of Los Angeles St and Bellevue…it was also at a “Y” intersection. Or maybe I am just reading way too many of your books…this was also in an area that the Zodiac was familiar with as suspect of the Lass et all murders (2 nurses) clothes found underneath victims.
    Teresa

    • @u/Teresa- Would of made it to obvious
      though we don’t live in the past these monsters have one trait in common,
      they talk to each other.
      Fn.Keep up the good work Steve!

  2. Oh my gosh, Steve! I’m only a few chapters in on your 1st Black Dahlia book, but this clue blew me away so much, I think I might have to skip ahead to the latest editions of your other books. Also, after watching you on numerous news shows I was very frightened to see an example of Dr. Hodel’s handwriting and found it very very similar to mine. That knocked the wind out of me! But that Zodiac Street in Makati floored me. Doesn’t Makati mean water? Makati’s sister city is Los Angeles.

    Jerry

  3. This is so weird cause I was doing a full research on Elizabeth and found this lady Mrs. French like early last year I went to visit theses places.

  4. Kudos to you sir on:

    1) Finding another undeniable connection to the series of murders connected to your Father.

    2)Having the personal fortitude, integrity, honesty, willingness and incredible courage to set aside familial bonds to seek the truth for the victims…..

    I read this post a night or two ago and found myself returning to it (in my mind) and wasn’t sure why until a few hours ago. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized I have stood within a few feet of where it occurred.

    Stranger still, and due to having worked in Los Angeles for decades (a significant chunk of it having a delivery aspect to it), I also remembered that I had made a delivery on Norton Blvd. I distinctly recall the Norton/Degnan change over and being extremely agitated about it.

    At first, I drove back and forth on Norton a number of times before I found the address. I then had to walk up and down that side of the block (the Dahlia site) a number of times. I had to find a neighbor willing to accept the package I was delivering (the actual recipient wasn’t home) so I wouldn’t have to return later. I remember just wanting to get the hell out of there and not knowing why. It wasn’t until I read your first book that I realized I passed within a few feet of the murder site repeatedly.

    If that isn’t strange enough, I have been doing some research for the last few hours and came to some very startling revelations. I have made deliveries on the same blocks (and in several instaces within a house or two) of the following murder locations:

    The Black Dahlia
    Jeanne French
    Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
    Jose and Kitty Menendez
    Marilyn Monroe
    George Reeves
    Thelma Todd
    Charles Desmond Taylor
    Sharon Tate
    Wonderland Murders

    These are just the ones I have researched so far. I only bring this up to remind people that just because something SEEMS unbelievable and/or impossible doesn’t mean it isn’t true or that it couldn’t have possibly happened.

    • Hi Mark: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. That’s quite a list of “deliveries” that you’ve made over the years. The names really do capture just how very real life NOIR the City of Angels really is. (Whole lot of diablos out there.) Yes, Degnan/Norton is really one of the most unusual streets. I don’t ever recall the name of a street changing mid-block from one name to another. But, there it is. Best Regards, Steve

  5. Hi Steve, I agree with your assessment that the “city of angels” is a misnomer and appreciate your kind response…

    Upon reflection, I realize my earlier comment about my deliveries sounds incredulous. For reader clarification I offer the following:

    I don’t have a photographic memory in the classic sense but I can recall many images and places I have been (even from childhood) like I was viewing a video of the proceedings. All I need is a stimulus and a few minutes of focused effort to recall it or if it had a strong impact on me (like the Norton site) I can remember it very easily…………

    The Norton delivery was a one-off sample delivery and remember it because of the strange Norton/Degnan configuration and what I noted in my earlier comment

    The Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Palisades, Laurel Canyon (Wonderland) and Norton sites were the result of my having worked for a high-end specialty hardwood flooring and carpeting company based out of West Hollywood.

    It was my job to deliver needed products to the installers, samples to clients, coordinate/facillitate the unloading of hardwood and/or carpeting and act as a liason between our salespeople and our clients at these locations.

    These were active jobs sites that I delivered to or visited in some other capacity on numerous occasions throughout the life of the project. It wasn’t unusual to be at any of them a dozen times or more ……. It was very easy for me to remember the precise job locations after looking up the murder sites on google maps 🙂

    My recall of the French site is due to my having worked for the Salvation Army for two years. The area surrounding the site and Venice was my pickup area….I made numerous pickups in the area on an almost daily basis 🙂

    Mark

    Ps. Are there any other muders you suspect of being connected to your Father while he was in Asia? It doesn’t seem possible that there would be just the one. There is just too much frenzied “activity” on either side of it.

    • Mark: I’m sure there are additional murders in Asia most likely in the Manila Metropolitan area since that was his “home base” for decades. Also, expect some crimes occurred in the then Territory of Hawaii during his years there from 1950-1953. Have not researched Hawaii and Manila is very difficult if not impossible to investigate from afar. Regards, Steve

  6. Steve, Thank you for your response. I hope I am not being a bother, my interest in your work is quite genuine. I apologize for the length of my earlier comments and this one. I need to write once more at length to establish my credentials and basis of further inquiry. I assure you (in the future) that they will be severely shortened…..

    F.Y.I……Later in life, I obtained a B.A. in Communication. During my studies, I chose to focus heavily upon (as elective work) rhetoric and argumentation. It’s the latter that drives my fascination with your work and is the basis for my inquiries…..

    Personally and professionally, I feel you have correctly and effectively laid out a successful argument (a claim and supporting points) that your Father was indeed responsible for all of the murders you attribute to him.

    However, when I happened upon your first book, I admit I was highly skeptical and approached it (and your subsequent work) looking for flaws. On the surface, your work just seemed (and still does to many) to be incredulous, conjectjure and/or mere speculation.

    However, when I applied critical thinking, looked extensively for logical fallacies and applied the rules of argumentation, I could not (and still can’t) find flaws in your argument. There are simply far too many incidences of connectivity and a preponderance of evidence that are impossible to ignore. It would have to be an anomaly of astronomical proportions to not have all of this implicate your Father.

    Yet, many people (both laymen and professionals) still dismiss your work as conjecture or circumstantial at best. With regards to the non-believing laymen, it is pointless to try to change their minds. However, it’s most of the professionals I find quite disturbing, in that, they appear to be unconvinced solely for egotistical/face saving reasons.

    Do you think your conclusions haven’t been fully embraced because of the “embarrassment” factor for law enforcement?

    Do you think any of your conclusions will ever be officially accepted and the cases cleared?

    Do you feel (as I do) that there is extreme need of interagency work to search extensively for connectivity in cold cases nation wide?

    Mark
    Ps. Thank you for your time, I greatly appreciate it. I fully support your efforts to seek the truth and the proper application of justice.

    • Mark: Re. your questions:

      Do you think your conclusions haven’t been fully embraced because of the “embarrassment” factor for law enforcement?
      Well, I see it as being beyond embarrassment. In my books I point to the ego and territoriality factors that have prevented LE from even cooperating with each other, let alone an “outside author” nevermind that he has fifty plus years of criminal investigations behind him.

      Do you think any of your conclusions will ever be officially accepted and the cases cleared?
      They already have depending on who you ask. LA Head Deputy District Attorney Steve Kay has written his legal opinion that both the Black Dahlia and the Red Lipstick LA murders “are solved” and he stated if he went to trial based on my findings and evidence he “could win the case on both before a jury.”
      Then active LAPD Deputy Chief James MacMurray also reviewed the material and stated in his opinion the “case was solved” and ordered his detectives at Robbery/Homicide Division to “go ahead and clear the case unless you can find some major holes in Hodel’s investigation.” (The sergeant in the unit did nothing knowing Chief MacMurray was retiring in another 9 months and just ignored the order to clear it.) LAPD cannot defeat the evidence so there ongoing position for the past ten years has been, ‘We don’t have time to look at Hodel’s investigation or work on the Dahlia or other Lone Woman Murders. We are too busy with current homicides.” Add to that the fact we have four of the highest ranking LE officers (LAPD Chiefs Parker and Brown, LADA Lt. Frank Jemison, and Undersheriff James Downey) all from that time period of the 1940s, confirming that “the Dahlia case was solved” and confidentially naming Dr. George Hill Hodel as the killer.

      Do you feel (as I do) that there is extreme need of inter-agency work to search extensively for connectivity in cold cases nationwide?

      Absolutely. the lack of inter agency sharing of cases is the prime reason the solve rate nationwide remains right around fifty-percent. That is extremely low and means that every other killer is getting away with his murder. Not acceptable! Again, it comes back to egos and territoriality. With the current technology and DNA testing, the clearance rates on homicides should be up around 75%. Detectives in local jurisdictions police and sheriff’s, city and county, need to regularly sit down one on one and meet and discuss crime-signatures and MO’s within their local jurisdictions.

  7. Steve, Your research into your Father conclusively proves (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that George Hill Hodel was a serial killer of an extremely heinous nature. His crimes are deplorable , yet the most extremely disturbing aspect of his case was that they were allowed to continue via selective prosecution.

    It seems inconceivable that any detective (case hardened or not), or any officer responding to the scene or any prosecutor (after the fact) not instantly knowing that the Dahlia murder was a “one and done” singular event. They had to know that the perpetrator(s) would strike again or had before.

    Therefore, what are you views on the following:

    Is this “blindness” (during the investigative phase) a necessary component of crime scene analysis and detective work?

    Is this “blindness” (after the fact) due solely to selective prosecution (for whatever deplorable reasons)?

    In your estimation, how do you think the responding officers and rank and file of the LAPD responded to this decision?

    Could such a case of “blindness” (and in such a heinous nature) occur today?

    In your estimation, how blatant and/or prevalent is selective prosecution today?

    • Mark K:

      Therefore, what are you views on the following:
      Is this “blindness” (during the investigative phase) a necessary component of crime scene analysis and detective work?
      The detectives investigating the original Dahlia murder back in the 1940s were, in fact, aware that the crime was likely connected to other LA murders. They were actively investigating them as what they termed “chain murders” (the term serial killer did not enter police jargon until the 1970s.) Only later in decades following did the crime transition to become “a standalone crime, none before, none after.”
      Is this “blindness” (after the fact) due solely to selective prosecution (for whatever deplorable reasons)?
      Only a few were aware of the cover-up, and after all the written linkage was removed from the files, the future investigators had no knowledge of the facts. GHH was gone, and those “in the know” had no desire to reopen that Pandora’s Box, which could only result in a lose-lose for LAPD.
      In your estimation, how do you think the responding officers and rank and file of the LAPD responded to this decision?
      Difficult to know, but I expect those that knew the truth were in line with Parker’s and Brown’s decision to keep a lid on it. Probably the only real opponent of the cover-up was DA Lt. Frank Jemison, but he too, took it to his grave, with the exception of locking away the Hodel/Dahlia transcripts as “a second set of books.”
      Could such a case of “blindness” (and in such a heinous nature) occur today?
      I expect so. Some things never change. Public information on sensitive investigations is often at extreme variance with “the truth.” Most hidden truths are never revealed for decades after the fact, if then.
      In your estimation, how blatant and/or prevalent is selective prosecution today?
      There have been and always will be “selective prosecutions.” Political agendas. I expect there are a lot less now than before thanks mainly to the “watch dog” attitudes of the Press. However, with the advent of less professional, less skilled investigative reporters and the increase of “fake news” it may return to the “Bad Old Days” of yesteryear?

  8. Hi Steve
    I have done a fair amount of internet research and have noticed a proliftration of conspiracy theories with regards to Zodiac (and BD et al for that matter)

    Will law enforcement ever acknowledge your Zodiac work with all of the “competing” theories (granted, most can easily be dismissed) it has to contend with and investigate?

    How is the Hawaii investigation coming along?

    • Steve Hodel says:

      Mark K: For the most part Law Enforcement doesn’t READ. So, to expect them to review a lengthy investigation such as BDA, doubtful, which makes the probability of them reading four books pretty much out of the question. At first glance (without knowing any of the factual support underlying it) presenting a theory that the 1940s “Black Dahlia Avenger” then went on to reinvent himself as “Zodiac” in the 1960s sounds preposterous. The full understanding and linkage can only come from actually reading the full investigation presented in the four books. That’s not going to happen with LE. So again I say, my jury is the reading public. I leave it at that. Regards, Steve

      • Exactly. It does sound preposterous unless one has read your books. I have tried to get people on the Reddit unresolved mysteries forum to read your books, but generally don’t get any comments back on my posts. I believe you have solved all of the unresolved murders you’ve attributed to your father.

        • hi Emily: Thanks for the support. Yes, requires an in-depth reading of the investigation to “get it.” All the pieces fit together, but one has to take the time to read it. Miniseries would be a good way to condense it since the investigation is maybe 75% visuals and graphic exhibits. Best, Steve

  9. Steve
    It’s a sad state indeed. All too often, most people (even highly educated ones) do not apply critical thinking skills. The unfortunate result is that legitimate inquiry and investigation (particularly by qualified people, such as yourself) gets lumped into conspiracy theory and dismissed outright.

    I want to thank you for all of the time you have graciously given me and your candid responses.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family

    Mark

  10. Steve,

    What do you remember of your father, as his son having grown up with him as your father, that would make this case even more compelling? Do you have memories of him that would fill in the gaps in terms of understanding his psychology? I am a clinical psychologist with a minor in forensics. I have not practiced in years due to raising a family. However, I would be curious to hear what it was like for you growing up. I would bet you have memories of things your father said, things he did, and patterns of unusual behavior that you can recall that will shed more light on your case and help to further prove your belated father’s guilt.

    • Amy: Suggest you read the updated 2015 edition of Black Dahlia Avenger. The first third of the book is spent backgrounding my memories and describing my father’s remarkable childhood and adult life. Musical prodigy age 9, intellectually highly gifted (186 IQ), enters CalTech age 14, and on and on. The book examines many of the “psychological triggers” in his growing up years and later. Lots of forensics follow in that and its sequel, BDA II. It’s all there. Way beyond any “Reasonable Doubt” now. Best Regards, Steve

  11. Justin Vaughn says:

    Steve: I listened to you on a podcast tonight, the episode dating back to 2015 or 2016. I was greatly impressed with you and your evidence. I had recently listened to another podcast suggesting that Dr. H.H. Holmes, who admitted to 27 murders in the late 1800s, was possibly Jack the Ripper, as well. I find it quite interesting that 2 highly intelligent and wealthy physicians became 2 of the most notorious serial killers in history, and both may have transitioned to distant locales where they took on yet another murderous persona (the Ripper becomes Dr. Death, and the Dahlia Avenger becomes Zodiac). In addition, both killers left taunting messages, and had a penchant for unusual mutilation. Taken together, these are significant commonalities. It’s as if the evil spirit driving the Ripper found a new home in a new century.

    I think you hit on it during the podcast when you posited one of the possible motivations: hubris. That trait is not unheard of within the medical community (eg, “the God complex”). I know it’s far more complicated than that; but it is undoubtedly a contributing factor.

    Best wishes to you on your continued sleuthing! Thank you for your significant contributions to your country, and to the truth.

    • Justin V.
      Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated.
      Yes, no question that GHH took inspiration from JTR and was well schooled in his signature MOs.
      Not only in copying his mailings and mutilations but even going so far as to complete in act, what
      JTR and threatened in writing! JTR threatened in a letter to cut off an ear and send it in. GHH in the
      Suzanne Degnan child surgical murder did just that. He boxed and mailed a human ear to the child’s parents
      home address informing Mrs. Degnan, “Your’s will be next.”
      As far as the “God complex” our father used to get on the intercom at the Franklin House and announce, “This is God Speaking. Any child that is not dressed and ready to leave for the Hollywood Bowl concert by 4:30 will be left behind.” (I wouldn’t make the connection to Zodiac’s unusual announcement to the police and press, “This is Zodiac speaking…” until 2008, some sixty years later.)
      Best Regards, Steve

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