LASD Cmdr Tom Vetter Confirms High Command Knew Identity of Dahlia Killer, but informed him in 1962, "It Will Never Come Out."


 Excerpt from Commander Tom Vetter’s television interview, September 2, 2004:

 “I was a detective then in 1962 and I was driving Undersheriff Jimmy Downy and he was going to lunch with then Chief of Detectives, Gordy Bowers and they were good friends. As we were driving along somehow the Black Dahlia murder came up in their conversation. And I heard Jimmy say that, “Oh that [Black Dahlia case] had been solved, but it will never come out, because it was some doctor they all knew out in Hollywood.”

                                                 LASD Commander Tom Vetter

If we were preparing for trial, L.A. Sheriff’s Commander Tom Vetter would be one of the prosecutions “dream witnesses.” Not only is he a U.S.M.C. Lt.Col, and was president of the 1st Marine Division, but he was also a top-command deputy with forty-years in law-enforcement and an unblemished record. 

Tom Vetter.jpg


(SKH NOTE-  I have attached the entire unedited interview below.What initially sounds like repetitious questioning is actually a skilled interviewer going over questions several times and as you will see the results add much more understanding of the facts. Normally the producer takes this interview and reduces it to 2-3 minutes of “airtime.” Unfortunately, because of time restraints none of the interview was included in the finished production, but it was preserved and is here presented in its entirety:

Click for Cmdr Vetter Interview.pdf

1-  George Hodel’s V.D. Control Officer (his office) L.A. County Health Dept., Chinatown

2-  Little Joe’s Bar/Restaurant, Chinatown (200 yards from Hodel’s office)

3-  Hall of Justice  (LASD Homicide and Lt. Jemison’s DA Bureau of Investigation)

4-  George Hodel’s First Street V.D. Clinic

5-  George Hodel’s private medical office



 NOTE- LITTLE JOE’s reataurant/bar in Chinatown (referenced in Commander Vetter’s interview) closed in 1999. Identified above as location #2 this is where he regularly met and drank with both LASD and LAPD detectives in the early 1960s. LITTLE JOE’S was THE “Watering Hole” for old-school detectives and “the brass” going back to the 1930s. (Had quite a few there myself in the old days.) As can be seen in the map above the “cops bar” was just 200 yards from Dr. George Hill Hodel’s County Health Department Office, where Dr. Hodel served as Chief Venereal Disease Control Officer for the entire county. (Police and Sheriff’s jurisdictions) Location #4, some six-blocks south, is Dr. Hodel’s privately owned First Street V.D. Clinic, and is the location mentioned by him on the DA Surveillance Tapes, where he admitted performing abortions, “lots of them.”

George Hodel’s Chinatown Health Dept Office and First Street V.D. Clinic

ghh downtown offices.jpg 

Below photograph shows the HALL OF JUSTICE just south of Chinatown.  As you gaze at this historic building ponder this. Between the years 1944-1950 inside its walls and halls the following events were ongoing:

1.  1943 – 1949 LA Sheriff’s Homicide detectives offices located in this building and as they conducted their Lone Woman Murder investigations of Georgette Bauerdorf and other victims, their killer worked in and roamed the halls of this same building. 

2.  1944-1945 it served at the primary L.A. County Health Dept office for Dr. George Hill Hodel (This was also his office at the time he was actively being investigated by LAPD in the suspicious overdose death of his girlfriend and personal secretary, Ruth Spaulding.

3. 1947-  Served as the L.A. County Coroner’s Office and on January 16, 1947, the autopsy of Elizaqbeth “Black Dahlia” Short was performed in the basement of this building.

4. 1949- George Hodel was arrested for incest and child molestation and booked and detained in the jail located in the top floors of this building.  His three-week jury trial was also held in a Superior Courtroom in this building.

5. 1950- The DA Bureau of Investigation offices were located on the 6th floor. Lt. Jemison and his investigators conducted their Black Dahlia investigation out of this building and George Hodel, their prime-suspect was brought to this building on Feb.15, 1950, questioned and temporairly detained while DA and LAPD detectives broke into his Franklin House and placed electronic bugs and microphones in the walls, thus beginning their forty-days of audio surveillance.

 Lower photograph shows George Hodel’s private practice medical office located 7th & Flower.

hall of justice & ghh office.jpg

     George Hodel’s booking photo taken at Hall of Justice Justice on 10.6.1949

GHH Booking 10.6.49.jpg














Leave a Comment