On the morning of February 15, 1950 the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office investigators interviewed Dr. George Hill Hodel at their downtown office in the Hall of Justice. He was detained and questioned at length.  Simultaneous to his detention, a team of electronic experts from both the DA and LAPD had secretly entered (burgled) and were installing several microphones in the walls of his private residence, “The Sowden/Franklin House.”  The officers then ran a phone line from the residence to the basement of Hollywood Police Station where they would monitor and tape-record the conversations.

These were live microphones (not a phone tap) and were meant to listen to and record live conversations coming from both his home office and bedroom.  The surveillance consisted of a joint taskforce of 18 detectives from LAPD and the DA’s office. In charge was, Lt. Frank B. Jemison, who had been assigned by the 1949 Grand Jury to reinvestigate the then two-year-old unsolved Black Dahlia Murder. (For the grand jury to give such an order was unheard of and to my knowledge this is the only time in the history of L.A. law-enforcement that such an action has ever occurred.)

The surveillance (both physical and electronic) of George Hodel as “the prime suspect” lasted 40 days and involved over 40 wire recordings, which contained over 1000 man hours of surveillance.  (LAPD has recently announced that all of the DA tapes have “disappeared.) What remains are the DA Hodel transcripts, consisting of 146-typed-pages, which are the officers’ verbatim entries during their stakeout in the basement of Hollywood Police Station, where they monitored and recorded the conversations.

I am here providing the actual detectives entries as they appear on the transcripts with no editing so their misspellings and phonetic entries (“Baron Herringer”instead of Harringa etc.) are as they appear in the original pages.  Separate to and below the actual conversations I have annotated the transcripts with explanations and identification of persons, when pertinent.

The 146-pages of transcript are here reduced to 15-pages of what I consider to be the most important conversations. I here provide them in PDF format  for your review. Keep in mind that these are the detectives’ entries and represent only a brief description of what was actually spoken in the conversations, which naturally would have been a much lengthier discussions. (For example, in one of the later conversations the officer merely writes, “Hodel talking about the Black Dahlia,” leaving the details of what was said, to be listened to at a later time.)

BDA II Chap 6 DA transcripts (6 MB file – please be patient while the transcripts download)


  1. Anthony Patstone on May 28, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Again the evidence abounds. I can’t believe some think it is NOT Dr. Hodel.

    • Joe Biden on September 27, 2016 at 10:48 am


  2. Steve Hodel on May 28, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I’m with you!

  3. Ray Murphy on October 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    This much-discussed photo found in Dr. Hodel’s photo album is a photo of Ann Toth.
    Doesn’t change the reality and it is just an observation.

  4. Steve Hodel on October 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I assume your talking about the yet unidentified reclining nude photo. To me, from the photos I’ve seen, it does not appear to be Ann Toth the part-time film actress. Many believe the photo resembles Jean Spangler and a number of photo comparisons can be found on-line. Fact is no actual positive ID has been made. As you rightfully point out,” it doesn’t change the reality.”

  5. Rick on November 27, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I have just finished your book and I believe you have proven the case is closed. But, several TV cable channels with credibility such as A & E and The History channel still declare it’s unsolved. Also the Medford, MA Historical Society as well.
    Any comments?

  6. Steve Hodel on November 27, 2009 at 11:25 am

    As you likely know, “today’s LAPD” position is, “We don’t have time to look at Hodel’s investigation to prove or not prove it. We are too busy with active investigations.” (This despite the fact that in 2004 LAPD Chief of Detectives James McMurray ordered them to “clear it, unless you can find some major holes in the investigation.” But, “old school LAPD detectives” rendered their “case solved” opinion long ago. Bottom line is that I wrote the investigation for YOU my readers to decide. YOU are the real jury. Most agree with you that the evidence is compelling and “beyond a reasonable doubt” which is the requirement for finding a defendant “guilty”. Recommend you check out the below FAQ 61 in my FAQ Section.

  7. Deuce on September 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I have to agree the evidence is compelling and “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” like him saying that they can’t talk to his secretary cause she is dead so they can’t prove nothing i worded it different but it is in the evidence box

  8. Tara on June 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Just finished your book, I could not put it down. I do agree with your theory, but at the same timeout continue to think about the impact your father’s lifestyle had on his children, the impact his misdeeds had on any advances women had made during that era to not be objectified, as well as all the family members left behind to mourn his victims. I applaud you for stepping out of such dysfunction and not only separating yourself from it, but also being able to take a clinical look at who your father really was. This is a book I will not forget for a long time.

    • Nadia John on February 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      i know this is an old comment, but I just wanted to second tara’s sentiment about ‘stepping outside the dysfunction and taking a clinical look at who your father really was”. my father is a psychopath, who brainwashed/controlled me with fear as a child and i never got to see him for who he was and im 21 and just now recovering from everything he has done and seeing beyond who he wanted me to perceive him as. I find ALL of your work courageous and I am inspired by you (and RIP Fauna’s ) drive to seek for justice.

      Blessing to you and your family

      • Steve Hodel on February 5, 2018 at 2:07 pm

        NJ: Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated. Steve

      • robert cook on June 2, 2018 at 9:00 am

        Nadia… this MKULTRA related? I have always thought George Hodel was sent to France as a kid to have him broken in a technique that would become famous after WW2 as MKULTRA. I think perhaps they were trying to create a musical prodigy but failed.

        I would do a heavy dive on the parents of George Hodel. Even a heavy dive on his Grandparents. I think there is a story there also.

  9. Steve Hodel on June 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Tara: Thanks for the kind words. Yes, the physical and psychological carnage he left behind is tremendous. So many lives and families impacted. Each of us leaves behind waves of good or ill in varying degrees, but his was tsunamic. Tragedy was that he had the potential to do so much good. Very sad. Steve

  10. Jane Howkins on January 11, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I was always wondered who he was talking to in the transcripts. He refers to himself and someone else as ‘smart boys’. Who is joe?

    • Steve Hodel on January 11, 2017 at 11:42 pm

      Jane H: He’s talking to his friend/confidant Baron Ernst Harringa. The “Joe” he is referring to is Joe Barrett, a young artist and a roomer at the house at that time. He will later become a major witness for the DA’s Office then decades later for me in my investigation.

  11. Sonne on May 9, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Hi, I’m having trouble downloading the file. It tells me I can’t access it. Is anyone else having this problem?

    • Steve Hodel on May 9, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Sonne: Let me try and reload Chapter 6 from BDA II again. steve

      • Sonne on May 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm

        Thank you very much!

  12. […] Here is a link to the earlier DA Tapes Chapter that includes information on GHH and Baron Harringa. […]

  13. David Ramirez on March 21, 2019 at 2:26 am

    I’ve been listening to the Black Dahlia case on Spotify podcast and it’s like so crazy how everything has happened. I do believe that George Hodel was the murder of Elizabeth Short.

    • Steve Hodel on March 21, 2019 at 8:15 am

      David R: Glad you enjoy the podcast. Yes, the evidence now is “beyond a reasonable doubt” and he would be easily convicted in a court of law based on what we now know. Best, Steve

  14. Rachel on March 21, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    It seems so bizarre to me that an actual murder was taking place during the surveillance and the police did nothing. It’s almost as if they weren’t concerned about the murders but instead something much bigger. That seems to be the only plausible explanation for the police not interfering. Why bother even doing surveillance – I think they were after George for a bigger issue. They definitely would’ve had what they needed right then and there if their motive was to catch him in the act of murder. Have looked into other theories as to why they were doing the surveillance? Just seems like there is more to the story.

    • Steve Hodel on March 21, 2019 at 10:49 pm

      Rachel: Well, there are some other possible explanations. One thought I had was that it was just the third day of the stakeout and maybe the two detectives didn’t want to “blow the case.” Maybe they tried calling Lt. Jemison for “what to do?” and no answer. Maybe they thought well Dr. Hodel is known to be into kinky stuff maybe its a “sex thing”? They listened and “all quiet” so reasoned that everything must be OK. Hard to know or justify their actions. skh

      • Dan O on July 29, 2019 at 3:56 pm

        That’s an interesting comment regarding alternate explanations. I have to admit that I’ve only just found this website but have read the transcripts, or police logs as they might more properly be called, via another route and the explanation that jumped out at me was that Dr Hodel was a spy. Not a primary intelligence gather but someone acting as a paid intermediary, who would arrange meetings and pass information around. Much of the mysterious phone calls, the running water or playing of the radio while conversations were going on, and the hugely oblique nature of the conversations where transcripts are given actually suggest someone actively carrying on a clandestine operation while being aware the FBI was likely listening. The high level surveillance seems strange for a local case but one that the FBI had arranged as part of a counter-espionage operation would fit very well, as would Dr Hodel’s awareness that surveillance by federal agents rather than police was likely. Was there not travel to China in Dr Hodel’s life? Didn’t he have an office near Chinatown? The Chinese communist revolution had occurred the year prior to these events and they would have been very busy in foreign espionage in the west. Has anyone checked with the FBI or CIA to determine if the missing recordings ended up with them?

        • Steve Hodel on July 29, 2019 at 4:29 pm

          Dan O:
          Possibly to some degree when he split and was overseas in Asia. He did a lot of “Market Research” for USIA and various government agencies so for sure opportunity. I doubt while he was in the U.S. just no time with so much else going on. Yes, he was in UNRRA and in China from Feb ’46 through Sept. Too much to try an summarize here, but mostly I see him as a “Lone Wolf” with one or two accomplices on some of his serial crimes in the U.S. prior to fleeing in 1950. His LA County Health Office was literally at the foot of Chinatown and as Head LA County VD Control Officer he had access to all the files and would have known who was doing what and when to whom. Really Untouchable.

  15. Chubachus on March 27, 2019 at 6:02 am

    I can’t believe in how many times evidence in the custody of the police/government disappears over time! Any leads on finding the original recordings in the past 10 years? Or confirmation they were destroyed? Do DA/police audio tapes from other cases from that era still survive? Thanks for all your work.

    • Steve Hodel on March 27, 2019 at 10:22 am

      Chubachus: Well, cannot really say for sure they were actually destroyed. What we know is that the tapes along with everything else was hand delivered by DA Lt. Jemison directly to LAPD Chief of Detectives Thad Brown. Those tapes and investigative documents according to today’s LAPD don’t exist or “were lost.” I suspect that Chief Brown took them home and kept them in his private possession hidden away at his home. I say this because, after his death, supposedly some of the Marilyn Monroe Death investigation reports and material were found in his garage. As to the Hodel DA Tapes whether he actually kept them or destroyed them who knows? All LAPD currently say’s is “They went missing.” Best, Steve

  16. Ava on December 12, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Download link for the transcripts is dead. Found it by searching the filename in Google here –

  17. Niteflyte on June 4, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    I’m speechless. This is beyond fascinating and educational.

    I just added Where Danger Lives to my list of movies to watch. The fact that many of these people are all connected and in a network, and likely know a good bit about all the goings on… I’m still trying to process it all, but this is a ton of material to gain insights from.

    Steven, this is amazing work. As I was listening to audio version of BD Avenger the other day, and how well it was written, it struck me that you are George’s son, and obviously a parallel of the IQ and talents in so many ways.

    Wishing you good health and a great week.

    • Steve Hodel on June 4, 2022 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks for the kind thoughts and wishes.
      I was just communicating with a good friend, Frans Vandenburg via email in Australia. Frans and his partner Claude Gonzalez recently produced the documentary, “John Farrow: Hollywood’s Man in the Shadows” which aired a few days ago at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. As you likely know we have the Lillian Lenorak drugging/staged att. suicide by GHH at the Franklin House in January 1950, witnessed by her young three-year-old son, John Lenorak (later to discover the boy’s biological father was John Farrow who was having an ongoing affair with Lillian in the early Forties.) The other bizarre connections are: 1. My mother on the DA Secret tapes mentions, “I knew/met John Farrow years ago. He’s Catholic and might be good for the script.” 2. Kiyo, my ex-wife had a walkthrough part in Farrow’s “Where Danger Lives”. 3. She and Jane Russell became good friends and Russell attended Kiyo’s Astrology classes during my three year marriage and I became friends with her and her husband, famed football player, Bob Waterfield. 4. Jane Russell was also the star of “Where Danger Lives”. 5. Tim Holt was in Farrow’s film, “His Kind of Woman” while dating Franklin House roomer and actress, Carol Forman (“Spider Lady”) and must have known Lillian Lenorak who also was at the Franklin House with her young son, John Lenorak Farrow. Further, I document “Zodiac” letter in which he makes reference to “Red Mask” (Tim Holt) and “Spider Lady” (Carol Forman) both of whom dated each other while visiting/knowing George Hodel at the Franklin House in the late 1940s/early 1950s. Total clusterfu*k. There are no accidents.

      • Maitreyi on September 18, 2022 at 4:01 am

        I just listened to the Spotify podcast about the black dahlia murder and needless to say, i am horrified and utterly disgusted by the extent of the gruesome acts committed by George Hodel. The only thing i can’t believe is how the LAPD dismissed it as an unsolved case, when it is absolutely not. The transcripts of the DA tapes make it clear as day that George Hodel was the killer; they are almost as incriminating as getting a confession from him. I feel so angry for the countless number of lives of women he ruined alongwith that of his own daughter’s who herself described George as “pure evil”. Why did the LAPD let him get away despite having enough evidence to convict him? They deserved justice.

        Also, Steve, it is so courageous of you for having followed up on this case. It must not have been easy investigating into your own father’s crimes, but you did the right thing.

        • Steve Hodel on September 18, 2022 at 11:48 am

          Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. Yes, LAPD and the DA’s “inaction” not only served as a terrible injustice to those victims that had gone before but also allowed GHH to commit future crimes. By my count nine or ten that I present. Likely many more? That is a lot of blood on their hands.

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