Just when I thought it was finally OK to file away the LADA Black Dahlia-Hodel Surveillance Files, to coin a outdated an much overused term- “THE PLOT THICKENS”
In a recent re-reading of some of the transcribed pages from the LAPD/DA tape-recorded surveillance, I noted the mention of a name that seemed familiar, but a couldn’t place- “Dr. E.W. Delong.”
Here is an exact copy of the entries made by DA investigator Walter Morgan from the original pages found in the DA File:
The above transcripts document a link to Dr. George Hodel and Beverly Hills physician, Dr. E.W. DeLong. The transcripts mention a business connection between the two physicians and that George Hodel is going to pursue collection of funds owed to him by Dr. DeLong for work performed, apparently related to some laboratory testing. (George Hodel in addition to his V.D. Clinic and private practice, also owned and supervised his own private serology laboratory in downtown L.A.)
What makes this highly relevant to our ongoing investigation is that Dr. E.W. DeLong was a long time friend and the personal attending physician to Dr. L.C. Audrain. More than that, Dr. Delong on May 20, 1949, personally responded to Dr. Audrain’s Hollywood Hills home where he pronounced him dead at 3:00 a.m.
As can be seen in a copy of the below death certificate, Dr. DeLong listed Dr. Audrain’s cause of death was due to natural causes, “Heart Disease” and ordered that no autopsy be performed. Forrest Lawn Cemetery picked up the body and end of story. Natural death, no questions asked.
Well, at least not publicly. However, for those IN THE KNOW, I’m sure there were many whispered questions. In City Hall, in the DA’s Office and at LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division I’m sure the late night lamps were burning bright. Here’s why:
Who was Dr. Leslie Carl Audrain?
Dr. Audrain was a prominent longtime Los Angeles OB-GYN physician/surgeon, who had been the personal physician to famed Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson up until her death in 1944.
He was married, and his wife, Mathilde Audrain was a nurse who assisted him at his office, in the Professional Building, located at 1052 W. 6th St. (This is the same office building where Dr. Walter Bayley had his private practice, so very likely that the two physicians knew each other.)
Dr. Leslie C. Audrain, was named by LAPD Sgt. Charles Stoker in secret 1949 Grand Jury testimony, as being the head of an Abortion Ring of Los Angeles M.D.’s all of whom paid “protection money” to LAPD detectives, which kept them immune from being arrested. (M.D.’s and chiropractors who were performing abortions and who were not making police payoffs to LAPD, were arrested and given stiff prison sentences.)
LAPD Sgt. Charles Stoker
Those of you, who have read Black Dahlia Avenger, will recognize Sgt. Stoker’s name. I devote three full chapters: Chapter 25, Sergeant Stoker, LAPD’s Gangster squad, and the Abortion Ring, and two following chapters in an attempt to provide a historical perspective on his critical involvement and affect on Los Angeles during two of Los Angeles’ most dynamic and politically volatile years- 1948-1950.
Stoker’s expose, Thicker N’ Thieves, published in 1951 documents the police and political corruption of those years and NAMES NAMES. His book is extremely hard to find and if located currently sells for between $300-$500. That is unfortunate, because it better than anything I have yet read, accurately defines the times, conditions and place. His book is the true-life, L.A. Confidential.
In his book Sgt. Stoker documents the historical events that changed Los Angeles and the LAPD and narrates the historical changes as they unfolded from 1948-1950. His detailing of how the police cabal operated and the details involved in his chapter: Angel City Abortion Ring provided critical understanding and answers to many of my early questions. Stoker’s book gives us some real insights into the man, and reveal that he in truth was an honest cop, trying to do the right thing, but being somewhat naive, was unaware of how dangerous it was to try and buck the established system of corruption, which had been in place for a quarter century.
Sgt. Charles Stoker was testifying in secret before the 1949 Grand Jury Hearings revealing graft and corruption and naming names twenty-years before his New York counterpart, Frank Serpico. But, unlike Serpico, Stoker never received fame or recognition and died young, a broken and forgotten man.
Stoker’s testimony opened up a Pandora’s Box for L.A. politicos and LAPD. He blew the lid off most of the major corruption scandals of 1949, which included: Mickey Cohen Wire Taps, Brenda Allen Prostitution Ring and her payoffs to L.A.Vice Cops and their superiors. Earlier in the year Stoker in sworn testimony confirmed Hollywood Vice Squad intimidations and extortions of bar owners who would not “pay to play”, along with the systematic brutality and false arrests of their customers for trumped up charges of “drunk” or “lewd conduct.”
As a result, of the hearings and testimony from Stoker and others, the 1949 Grand Jury ordered a reinvestigation of the many unsolved Lone Woman Murders of the day, and ordered that the Black Dahlia Murder investigation be taken away from LAPD and reinvestigated by the DA’s Office. (An unheard of action by a seated Grand Jury, which to my knowledge had never been done before or since.)
SKH Note- In 1949 and 1950, Sgt. Charles Stoker was defended by prominent L.A. attorney, S.S.(Sammy) Hahn, who ironically also represented my mother, Dorothy Hodel in her 1944 divorce from George Hodel. Hahn won the trumped up “Burglary” charge against Stoker by LAPD and later helped establish that his LAPD female partner, who was the prosecution’s star witness against Stoker –had committed perjury.
Attorney S.S. Hahn was THE go to attorney in Los Angeles of the 1920s-1940s. Hahn and his counterpart, Jerry “Get Me” Giesler, pretty much cornered the market on high-profile crimes and divorces in L.A. Many of you will recognize Hahn’s name from the recent 2008 Clint Eastwood directed film, CHANGELING, where actor Geoff Pierson plays him as the “pro bono” attorney, representing the distraught mother, Mrs. Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) who in the courtroom scenes team up and take down the corrupt LAPD Captain J.J. Jones and Chief James E. Davis.
In 1957, attorney Hahn was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool. The L.A. Times in reporting the “mysterious death” quoted detectives as finding “a gash to the forehead and that heavy cement blocks had been tied around his neck which were holding him down at the bottom of the pool.” No note was found. The Times article also quotes investigating detective, Jim Wahlke as saying, “From all indications it appears to be a suicide, but…”
“Atty. Hahn Dies in Swimming Pool Mystery” L.A. Times June 26, 1957
As far as being “in the know” and connected to 1949 L.A. politics, S.S. “Sammy” Hahn was second only to Mickey Cohen’s lawyer, Samuel “Mouthpiece to the Mob” Rummel, who was gunned down in front of his Hollywood Hills home in 1950. That case was never solved, but two Sheriff’s detectives were suspected of the murder, and indicted on other unrelated charges.
As far as Sammy Hahn’s “suicide”, what can I say? 1950’s business as usual.
Dr. Audrain, Dr. DeLong, Dr. Hodel- Connecting the Dots
In BDA I stated early on that I believed that my father, Dr. George Hodel was a participant in, or at the very least had full knowledge of the operations of Dr. Audrain’s M.D. Abortion Ring, as referenced in Sgt. Stoker’s expose.
That was further confirmed post-publication with the revelations from the DA Hodel-Black Dahlia Files connecting known abortionist Charles Smith with Beverly Hills Dr. Francis Ballard performing the abortion on my half-sister, Tamar. (Also in the DA Files was the documented interview with Smith’s girlfriend, Mildred Bray Colby, who witnessed the early morning $1,000 cash payoff ($10,000 in today’s dollars) from George Hodel to Charles Smith made at the Franklin House on December 29, 1949.)
Then we had my father’s statements from the DA transcripts confirming he performed abortions at his V.D. clinic, “Lots of them.” We have his separate taped statements to Baron Herringer where he says, “I’m the only one who knows how everything fits together.” “This is the best payoff between law enforcement agencies I have ever seen.”
And now, what does this latest discovery tell us?
1) Sgt. Charles Stoker, in conjunction with State Medical Board investigators, and utilizing a female undercover officer sends her to Dr. Audrain’s medical office where Audrain’s nurse (not named, but probably his wife, Mathilde who was known to work there) confirms her worst fears, and tells her “she’s pregnant” and schedules her for an abortion. (According to State investigators and Sgt. Stoker, the sting arrest is blown due to the fact that law enforcement officers warn Dr. Audrain prior to the appointment and he is a “no show” and closes his office for a week.)
2) On May 5, 1949 Sgt. Stoker under subpoena to a Grand Jury Hearing testifies to all that he knows about LAPD police corruption, vice payoffs to Madame Brenda Allen, secret wire taps to Mickey Cohen’s home involving payoffs to cops, abortion ring payoffs, and most likely names Dr. Audrain as the head of the protected abortion ring.
3) On May 20, 1949, just two-weeks following Sgt. Stoker’s testimony, Dr. E.W. DeLong, a close personal friend of Dr. L.C. Audrain, responds to Audrain’s home, and pronounces him dead due to natural causes, “heart disease” and insures that no autopsy or toxicological tests will be performed and the body is removed to a private mortuary for burial.
4) Prior to Dr. Audrain’s death, a chiropractor, Dr. Eric Kirk, who is named and figures prominently in Stoker’s book, was arrested and was serving prison time for performing abortions. Dr. Kirk was under Grand Jury subpoena and was going to testify and name names of many of the doctors involved in Audrain’s Abortion Ring. (As a result of his filing a formal affidavit, Dr. Kirk was brought to L.A. from prison in September, 1949, four months after Audrain’s death. His wife received death threats if her husband testified against LAPD homicide detectives, and it is unknown if he actually followed through with his promise to identify corrupt cops?)
5) Dr. E.W. DeLong is doing business with and was obviously acquainted with Dr. George Hodel, which puts him in close association to two known abortionists (Hodel & Audrain). Working in Beverly Hills he most certainly would have known George Hodel’s abortionists of choice for Tamar’s September, 1949 abortion, Dr. Francis Ballard and his “assistant”, Charles Smith.
Drs. Hodel and Audrain both lived in Hollywood, and resided just three miles apart. Drs. DeLong, Ballard, Audrain, and Hodel all lived/worked within six miles of each other.
Did Dr. Audrain in fact die of natural causes, and the timing of his death was just “coincidental”? Was it a Suicide? Murder? We will never know the truth of it now. But, with this latest direct tie-in in the transcripts, there is certainly much cause for reflection.
At the time of his death Dr. Audrain was 73. If it was his wife, who had made the abortion appointment from their 1052 W. 6th Street medical practice, then she was at risk and would have most certainly been arrested with him for conspiring to commit an abortion. Dr. Audrain was facing a major scandal, disgrace and almost certain imprisonment. Those in power, his fellow abortion ring doctors, M.D.’s all, and the cops receiving protection money would have all wanted him out of the way. His pending arrest was a huge threat to every corrupt cop and official involved.
Grand Jury Indicts 10 in L.A. – San Francisco State-wide Abortion Ring
In April, 1950, just four weeks after George Hodel fled the country, the seated 1950 Grand Jury indicted ten doctors and nurses involved in what the L.A. Times (April 27, 1950) described as, “an alleged illegal surgical operations syndicate, then plunged headlong into investigation of reported protection payoffs to law enforcement officers.”
The article went on to indicate that a Dr. Eric Kirk, currently serving time in prison for performing abortions (and a major player in Sgt. Stoker’s expose of the L.A. Abortion Ring) would be called as a witness and promised to “tell all.” [SKH Note- This would be additional testimony on these new arrests as he had already testified before the 1949 Grand Jury in September, 1949]
L.A. Times article of April 27, 1950
SKH Note- In the updated version of BDA (HarperCollins July 2006) I include the information related to what DA Lt. Jemison’s refers to as, “Hodel’s friend, abortionist Charles Smith.” That information reveals Smith, in March 1950, was actively being investigated by law enforcement as being involved in a San Francisco/Los Angeles Abortion Ring.
On March 20, less than a month from the Grand Jury indictments in L.A., Lt. Frank Jemison while interviewing Charles Smith’s ex-girlfriend, Mildred Bray Colby say’s to her:
“Did you know that he [Smith] has been operating girls from San Francisco for abortions?”
Colby responds, “No, But, I wouldn’t put it past him.”
During this same interview by Lt. Jemison, in reference to my half-sister, Tamar Hodel and Smith’s abortion arrest in October, 1949 with Beverly Hills Dr. Francis Ballard Miss Colby tells Lt. Jemison:
“Smith said that some day he was going to fix Tamar. He was going to cut a chunk out of the calf of her leg and fry it and eat it in front of her eyes and then puke it in front of her face.”
“1949 Grand Jury Blasts Law Enforcement” , L.A. Times January 13, 1950