Forensic Rescan of 1947 Dahlia Crime Scene Part II-

Does New Scan Present Additional “Hard Evidence” Linking George Hodel to Dahlia Crime Scene?

Readers straw poll leans toward the crime scene object being – “a watchband.”

Thanks to all of you that e-mailed me your responses in the past few days.  Here are the results:

Watchband- 8

Clasp or hairclip- 3


Piece of bicycle tire- 1

Handbag strap- 1

I agree with the majority vote- I too think it is a watchband, but, unlike you, I had some additional information. Still, I wanted to get your uninfluenced opinions before presenting you with some, “facts not in evidence.” Here they are:

In December, 2006, I decided to rescan the original Dahlia crime-scene photos to see if I had missed anything. In focusing my scans in and near the body I discovered the object which I had missed in previous scans. It was found in the grass about 12″ southwest of the upper torso.  The rectangular shaped object appears to be made of a cloth-like material possibly canvas or leather, white or tan in color, with black vertical stripes evenly spaced. The end of the object appears to be frayed.

Dahlia crime scene 1.jpg 


A few days after the rescan, I was preparing to archive my Man Ray photographs which included the photo taken by Man Ray of father holding the Tibetan God, Yamantaka. Dad’s dark-faced military watch immediately caught my eye. Within seconds I was at my monitor making an on-screen inspection and enlargement of-the watchband!

It appeared to be made of cloth, was white or tan in color with black vertical stripes and was a close match to the object found in the grass. Furthermore, there was a logical explanation as to why it could be there. Everything seemed to fit.



Hodel watchband in Man Ray photograph enlarged


 Hodel watchband rotated 90′ shown in comparison to crime-scene object

ghh watch to crime scene.jpg  Let’s reexamine what we KNOW.

Man Ray took the above Yamantaka photograph of my father after his return from China, and obviously after his one-month hospitalization.

We can establish his approximate hospital discharge date from what Elizabeth Short told her friends. “I’m going to marry my boyfriend on November 1st, when he gets out of the hospital.” (Other of her acquaintance/witnesses informed police Elizabeth told them his name was “George.”)

This establishes the Yamantaka photograph was probably taken between November-December, 1946, just weeks or days before Elizabeth’s murder.

Second, we know from a newspaper article in the Washington News dated January 21, 1947:

“The police department’s homicide squad figuratively starting from scratch, was augmented by 100 additional policemen, began a widespread search for new clues to the girl’s murderer. Half of them combed the area where the bisected body was found… the search turned up a military-type watch, still unidentified.”

In 2004, when asked about the watch, LAPD was forced to acknowledge that the watch, along with the rest of the physical evidence, “had disappeared from the locked property room.”

In comparing George Hodel’s military-style watchband to the object seen near the body the size and descriptive qualities including the unusual black vertical striping appear identical. The crime scene band is seen to be curved and frayed, which I believe was caused by the band being either intentionally or accidentally ripped away from the body of the watch. I suspect the cloth band then fell (or was thrown) to the ground where it remained hidden in the grass. It was likely never recovered during the search and is NOT VISIBLE in the normal sized original police photographs. Only now, after sixty-two years, for the first time is it revealed through the high-resolution scan and enlargements.

For ten years this investigation has repeatedly stacked irony upon irony and now once again in 2009 are we again forced to question FATE.

Did Man Ray’s,Yamantaka photograph, taken just weeks or days before George Hodel’s brutal crime, accidentally capture and preserve hard physical evidence linking his good friend to the murder of Elizabeth Short?



In Most Evil:  Avenger, Zodiac, the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel we examine the possibility that the watches and watchbands found at both the Avenger and Zodiac crime scenes were not  accidents, but rather a part of my father’s M.O. and a deliberate signature act.


  Zodiac victim Cheri Jo Bates-   1967 Riverside Crime Scene

Watchband torn from watch and both parts found near the victim’s body


Bates crimescene watch all.jpg 


So there are no misunderstandings.  I am not offering any of the above as “proofs.” Though in posession of this information in 2006 I did not include it as part of my  investigation in my second book, MOST EVIL. I do not believe that there is any possibility of developing anything further on what is here presented. Because of that the exhibits will likely remain subjective and interpretive. My findings and what they show are offered here rhetorically- as questions. Possibilities.  I leave it to the individual reader to decide for his or her self whether the information has relevance or not. Some readers have suggested the object’s shape is not quite right and the stripes seen in the crime scene object are shadows, which I admit is a possibility. Could it be a watchband, but from a different watch? Certainly.



  1. jim b on August 25, 2013 at 10:46 am

    To me, it appears to be coincidental. Respectfully, I submit its a blade of grass, bowed over in an ‘arch’, with sunlight shining on it and casting shadow stripes of other blades of grass on it. The watch band has stripes all the way to the end. The item in question does not…

  2. Steve Hodel on August 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Jim B: I tend to agree with your analysis. Steve

  3. Erin on April 17, 2015 at 2:35 am

    No photo’s… what gives?

    • Steve Hodel on April 17, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Erin: Some of the photos did not transfer over when my server was switched in 2013, these included. In this particular case, after further study and review, I tend to agree with jim B. See below comment. More likely just a blade of grass with shadows. We do know however that a man’s watch was recovered somewhere in the vicinity and was booked into LAPD Property Division then “lost.” Regards, Steve

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