After serving only two-years for the brutal rape and attempted murder of an 8-year-old child in Hollywood, a prison psychiatrist’s “expert” opinion that Rodney Alcala was “considerably improved” paved the way for his early release on parole in 1974.

Alcala is now on trial for five DNA linked serial killings (1977-1979) committed after that 1974 release.  Investigation is pending on his suspected involvement in additional East Coast murders.  


Alcala circa 1978    1979 victim Robin Samsoe  Alcala 2010


ABC News Correspondent, Mike Von Fremd interviewed me yesterday surrounding the facts leading up to my 1971 arrest, prosecution and conviction of child rapist and convicted murderer, Rodney Alcala. Alcala is currently on trial in Orange County for multiple murders alleged to have been committed after his release from prison in 1974.

My 1971 Hollywood case involved then 25-year-old,Alcala picking up “Tali” an 8-year-old girl who was walking on Sunset Blvd on her way to school. Alcala drove the second-grader in his car a short distance to his home and then raped her and struck her over the head with a steel bar.

Police were called to Alcala’s house to investigate after a citizen-witness observed Alcala pick the child up and followed them to the location and called the police. Hollywood patrol officers responded to the call and door-knocked his house, Alcala fled out the back, leaving the child for dead. The crime occurred in 1968 and Alcala managed to flee and avoid arrest for three years, until my 1971 arrest and extradition of him from Concord, New Hampshire.

The NIGHTLINE piece featuring Alcala will air this coming Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 11:30 PST. (UPDATE-  NIGHTLINE airing has been pushed back a few days and will. I will advise of new date/time. skh)

Alcala Crime Spree Chronicled after his 1971 release from prison

Alcala Linked To Cold Case Unsolved Murders through DNA in 2005

My old partner and retired Black Dahlia homicide detective, Kirk Mellecker took the stand in Orange County last Friday and testified to investigating the 1977 Hollywood murder of 18-year-old, Jill Barcomb, raped, strangled and beaten to death –her body left in the Hollywood hills. Forensics has reportedly linked Alcala to this brutal murder by DNA. 

Kirk Mellecker whom I trained and worked with at Hollywood Homicide in the 1970s later transferred to Robbery Homicide Division and became the partner to legendary homicide detective John St. John, known as “Jigsaw John.” 

Kirk figured prominently in my 1999-2001 Black Dahlia investigation as documented in BDA.

See BDA Chapter 30- “The Dahlia Investigation 2001-2002” (pages 390-399) which features my follow-up and interview with then retired Black Dahlia Case investigator, Kirk Mellecker. Kirk unknowingly in that interview, help me establish that the LAPD files were “sanitized” by the fact that though he and his partner, “Jigsaw John” were assigned the Elizabeth Short, Black Dahlia Files for an eight-year period neither detective was aware Dr. George Hodel had been the prime suspect.  Mellecker in his interview with me stated, “There was no mention in them (LAPD Dahlia Files) relating to a Dr. George Hill Hodel.” (We would later establish that more than a thousand pages of investigation including 14 witness interviews, secret tape recorded transcripts all linking George Hodel as the prime suspect “had disappeared from the LAPD files.”

Neither Kirk Mellecker, nor now retired detective Brian Carr (who inherited the Dahlia case files after Kirk’s retirement) had ever seen or heard the name-George Hill Hodel prior to the 2003 publication of Black Dahlia Avenger.



  1. Emilie Y on February 20, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Very interesting post. On a seperate topic, the 1940’s film THE BLUE DAHLIA aired on TCM last night. I had never seen it before broadcast on TV.

  2. Steve Hodel on March 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Yes, the screenplay was written by Raymond Chandler. Interesting backstory to the writing of the script, which I will try to post at some future time.

  3. Don Long on March 7, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    It always amazed me how certain files or tape recordings could disappear or be sanitized from time to time. With the advent of computerized record keeping, many files are purged by my CA municipalities after six years. Like it never happened. Don’t get me started on specific states or CA agencies!

  4. Jennifer on March 17, 2021 at 1:36 am

    Good to hear Dna evidence continues to push forward and connect killers/rapists to their crimes. I was reading recently about the case of 9 yr old Michaela who was kidnapped and body never found by David Emery Misch , as well two young women murdered by him in 86. Apparently the cold case investigator was able to analyze his print (from her scooter left behind) and manually match it, along with newly analyzing dna evidence from under the young women’s fingernails. 3 murders solved 30 years later because a cold case detective used new tools to reanalyze. After all your books, how does your detective friend Kirk feel about your ongoing investigation? At this point it’s clear that law enforcement doesn’t want the science near these cases, but why is it their choice???

    • Steve Hodel on March 17, 2021 at 9:48 am


      Yes, there exists potential DNA evidence in many/most of the LA Lone Woman Murders but LAPDs position of “we are too busy with ongoing unsolved investigations to take a look at Hodel’s investigation” will remain their position as they have no desire to confirm their (our) two greatest heroes: Chief William H. “Bill” Parker, and Chief of Detectives Thad Brown were involved in a 1050 Dahlia coverup (confirmed on tape) that resulted in Dr. George Hill Hodel being allowed to flee the country and not pursued or formally charged in a felony warrant. We may see results from other law enforcement agencies “down the road”? Assume the “Kirk” you reference is Kirk Mellecker, who had the case for fifteen years and who informed me “the name George Hodel never appeared in any of the Dahlia records in LAPD files.” He’s now long retired and not sure he is up to speed on all the new evidence since the original book published in 2003.

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