New DNA Evidence Potentially Opens Door to Solving of 1940s & 1960s Serial Killings


January 15, 2011

Los Angeles, California

6:45 a.m.


Today is the 64th anniversary of the murder of Elizabeth Short.  As I post this announcement I cannot help but reflect on the irony and the horrific fact that her sadistic killer had just completed his butchery and was at this exact same  time carefully posing the bisected body, “his materpiece” on the vacant lot at 3815 S. Norton Ave, in the Liemert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.




GHH BOOKING.jpg           


George Hodel October 6, 1949                           Generic sample showing STR Loci

LAPD booking photo for incest and

Statutory rape 


            On the eve of the 64th anniversary of the January 15, 1947 murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short, one of the nation’s top forensic laboratories has finally obtained a full-profile sample of Dr. George Hill Hodel’s DNA.


For the past two-years, Bode Laboratories in Lorton, VA, has been working on analyzing various personal effects known to have been owned by Dr. Hodel in an effort to isolate and obtain his full DNA. Bode Technology is recognized by the FBI and law enforcement internationally as state-of-the-art. Their newly developed “Touch DNA” process recently obtained a DNA suspect profile on the Jon Benet Ramsey investigation which resulted in the elimination of both her parents as “suspects.”


In the Hodel investigation, success came on the very last evidentiary item to be tested. An envelope, mailed by my father to me from the Philippines in 1971, proved positive.


The sample is now on file and will upon their request, be made available to legitimate law enforcement agencies in furtherance of their Cold Case investigations.


BODE LAB.jpg                                   Bode Technology, Lorton VA



1971 MANILA LTR.jpg 

Dr. George Hill Hodel’s DNA full profile obtained from this 1971 letter mailed from Manila, Philippines.


L.A. Lone Woman Murders-


            In addition to the Black Dahlia murder, between 1943-1949 a number of other Lone Woman Murders occurred all in a tight geographical area between Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles. LAPD was convinced that many of these unsolved murders were committed by the same suspect and released a summary to the press listing “11 Points of Similarity” in support of their belief.  In six of these crimes the suspect left a taunting note, just as he had in the Elizabeth Short murder. [Exceptionally unusual M.O. and signature.]


            With the recent obtaining of Dr. George Hill Hodel’s DNA, along with the newly develop technique of “Touch DNA”, which provides a process where the suspect’s skin cells can be collected off of a victims clothing, or even from a ligature used to tie or strangle the victim, the prospect of solving many of these additional LAPD and LASD murders becomes a very real possibility.


It would require minimal investigative manpower, a single two-person team to coordinate and oversee the collection of potential evidence for testing to the known unsolved Cold Cases for the presence of suspect DNA.  Those findings could then be  entered into state and federal CODIS for inclusion or exclusion to the known George Hodel sample.


            The names of some of the 1940s cold cases that remain unsolved and were actively investigated and suspected of being connected and could –if tested- potentially yield suspect DNA are:


Ora Murray, 7/27/43 (LASD); Georgette Bauerdorf, 10/12/44 (LASD); Jeanne French 2/10/47 (LAPD); Laura Trelstad, 5/11/47 (Long Beach PD);Marian Newton, 7/17/47 (San Diego PD); Lillian Dominguez, 10/2/47 (Santa Monica PD); Gladys Kern, 2/14/48 (LAPD); and Louise Springer, 6/13/49 (LAPD).


            Cold Cases in the 1940s and1960s crimes summarized in my sequel: Most Evil: Avenger-Zodiac and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel that could also potentially yield suspect DNA- if tested– are:


Josephine Ross, 1945, (Chicago PD); Frances Brown, 1945, (Chicago PD); Suzanne Degnan, 1946 (Chicago PD);


Cheri Jo Bates, 1966, (Riverside PD); Lucila Lalu, 1967, (Manila PD), Betty Jensen/David Faraday, 1968 (Solano County Sheriff’s); Darlene Ferrin/Michael Mageau, 1969 (Vallejo PD); Cecelia Shepard/Bryan Hartnell, 1969, (Napa County Sheriff’s); Paul Stine, 1969, (San Francisco PD).


In 1949, Dr. Hodel was the DA & LAPD’s “prime-suspect.” Decades after the murder four of the top law enforcement officers involved in the original investigation confidentially disclosed that “the case was solved” and secretly confirmed that Dr. George Hodel was her killer.  [See below exhibit for individual command officers statements]


In February and March, 1950, a task-force of eighteen detectives conducted five-weeks of 24-hour electronic surveillance of Dr. Hodel’s private Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. built residence in Hollywood and obtained secret tape-recorded statements from him admitting to the murder of Elizabeth Short, and to also killing his personal secretary, Ruth Spaulding in 1945, just eighteen months prior to the Dahlia murder.  [LAPD confirmed George Hodel was suspected of foul play in the1945, “suicide/overdose” of his clinic secretary/lover.  The Ruth Spaulding LAPD active criminal investigation was halted in late 1945 due to Dr. Hodel joining UNRRA and absenting himself from Los Angeles. In Feb’46 he was sent from Washington D.C. to doctor in Hankow, China for eight-months.] 


D.A/LAPD Franklin House electronic surveillance [live microphones concealed inside the walls] lasted nearly six-weeks from Feb 15-March 27, 1950 and was terminated only because George Hodel again left the country.





DA/LAPD investigators also recorded Dr. Hodel in 1950 conversations on the surveillance tapes, admitting to performing abortions, “lots of them” at his V.D. clinic in downtown Los Angeles and to making “payoffs to local law enforcement agencies.”





Original LAPD, LASD, and LADA investigators confirm “case solved.”





 DNA Basics:  http://www.dna.gov/basics/




  1. T. A. Scott on January 16, 2011 at 11:52 am

    This is tremendous news, Det. Hodel. Solid data is finally available to firmly rule Dr. George Hodel in or out of several cold-cases.
    I count twelve stamps on the pictured envelope, so I’m not surprised the lab was able to extract a full DNA profile.
    Two questions: How did they confirm the DNA was from your father’s saliva? Did they compare your DNA with the sample extracted from the envelope to confirm the parental affiliation?

  2. Steve Hodel on January 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Hi TAS- Happy New Year!
    Yes, exactly so. The saliva found on the 1971 Manila mailing was compared to my own DNA and established 1) George Hodel’s profile and 2) He was my biological father. It was further subtantiated by making additional sibling comparisons. Bottom line- We have George Hodel’s definite DNA profile for comparison. So, now the ball is in law enforcement’s court. Whether they will seize the opportunity is another question.
    Best Regards,

  3. Kathy on January 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Dear Steve,
    Wow this is an incredible piece of evidence!
    No one can say that there would not be a sample of your father’s DNA amongst all those stamps on the envelope from Manila. Finally, with the DNA of your father, the arguments as to whether or not he committed the lone woman murders can be put to rest.
    Don’t ever let anyone say that you are not smart enough!
    You have solved the murder that no one could or wanted to solve, that of Elizabeth Short and some other lone women in various locations.
    I still doubt that law enforcement will do anything even with this new evidence, however, sorry to say.
    You are using facts, not having a dream or a vision, experiencing or remembering false memories or speculating that some mad meat butcher was the murderer. No one can take this away from you. You are the best!
    This is a great day for justice for the victims!

  4. Nancy R. Simpson. PhD on January 20, 2011 at 12:14 am

    It is a mixed thing to say–congratulations on getting your father’s DNA, sir. But it would be hoped this can put your mind to rest one way or the other. Is there anything that we, your public, can help to get law enforcement to make these comparisons?

  5. B. Moss on January 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Congratulations Steve,
    This is a huge break, and one I know you have been pursuing for a long while.

  6. Steve Hodel on January 20, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks Nancy:
    Well, the ball is really in law enforcement’s court now (as it always has been.)
    I seriously doubt there are any suspect DNA very the very very Cold Cases like those of the Lone Woman Murders from L.A. in the 40s that have been worked up. Ideally, the LAPD’s Cold Case Unit would review all the cases I mention as Category I’s (those I consider highly probables) and see if they can get some suspect DNA. Then compare to the GHH sample.
    Ditto with the 1960s cases. Unless they get some pressure from media I doubt anything will be done. But, maybe a forward thinking detective will come along and say, “Let’s give it a shot.” You never know.

  7. Steve Hodel on January 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Thanks Kathy. We can HOPE.

  8. Steve Hodel on January 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Hi B:
    Thanks. Yes, down to the last test. So, I guess that means PeRSISTENCE RULES!

  9. paul cutler on January 24, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Hi, probably very dumb question and maybe already been answered but i couldnt find it on the website, what happened to the wire spools that were used to record the bugs in the dr’s house? also do you know what kind of spools they were or which brand of wire recorder was used by the police?

  10. Steve Hodel on January 24, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Paul C:
    That’s a very good question, and rarely asked. Lt. Frank Jemison, as ordered, turned all 40 wire spools over to LAPD and gave them directly to LAPD Dep. Chief Thad Brown along with all the reports. All of that material including the wire spools has “disappeared” from LAPD files. Today’s LAPD was unaware that GHH was the prime suspect because all the documents and evidence was removed. As to the type of recorder and spools, the brand is unknown? Not a clue. Don’t know what type of machine LAPD was using in 1950.
    Best Regards,

  11. M.Simmons on January 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    I hope that it will solve the Zodiac case. With the partial DNA that they found in one of the Zodiac letter, I hope that it will matches your father’s DNA. I believe that we are in the brink of solving in this case. Keep up the good work, Steve!

  12. Melissa on December 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Im wondering if any of the DNA matches to your fathers yet? Have they contacted you? Can they potentially use YOU to try to get a match since you are his son? or even a partial match?

  13. barricas on February 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Don’t ever let anyone say that you are not smart enough!
    You have solved the murder that no one could or wanted to solve, that of Elizabeth Short and some other lone women in various locations.

  14. Linda Musel on June 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I applaud you on your tenacity of this case that has had so many people trying to understand this horrific crime back in the 1940’s. My simple question is this…since the DNA has shown prove of Dr. Hodel was involved in this murder, why has this new information been televised or released to the press? Such new information of this magnitude, would most certainly be extremely newsworthy.

  15. Steve Hodel on June 3, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I personally had the labs test and obtain my father’s DNA profile, so that I could be available for comparison to the killer’s DNA. That’s only half the procedure. Law Enforcement has to now obtain DNA on the actual killer so it can be compared to my father’s. They claim that all the physical evidence in the Black Dahlia investigation has “disappeared” so no comparison can be made. (They have not examined any of the other serially connected cases.) Ditto on Zodiac and all the other crimes. No confirmed DNA is available. Until LE tests and obtains suspect DNA there is simply nothing to compare it to. Hope this clarifies the situation. In BDA II I have a whole new chapter on “Touch DNA” and layout all the potential but yet untested evidence and make a plea for LE to respond by testing. The ball is in their court. Best Regards, Steve

  16. Michelle on June 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Mr. Hodel,
    I have read 3 of your books and as a fanatic for true crime stories, I have never seen anyone prove their case in the manner you have. Your books are riveting!
    I have read many books on The Elizabeth Short case as well as the Zodiac and never in my wildest dreams thought they could or would be connected.
    I applaud you for your work as a police officer and a fellow P.I. I also commend you on doing the hard right rather than the easy wrong in exposing the evil deeds of your father and those of a corrupt system.
    Spring, TX

  17. Steve Hodel on June 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Thanks Michelle:
    Glad you enjoyed all three books and the kind words are much appreciated. Steve

  18. DESSERTENNE Françoise on November 11, 2013 at 2:36 am

    I congratulate you for your job concerning Elisabeth SHORT and your father.
    Françoise Dessertenne

  19. Steve Hodel on November 11, 2013 at 10:13 am

    FD: MERCI. Your kind words are much appreciated. Steve

  20. Luigi Warren on May 29, 2022 at 12:57 am


    The unsolved 1962 Donna Frislie kidnap-murder in Antelope Valley might offer some hope on the DNA front. The autopsy showed that Frislie, a 14-year-old babysitter, had been sexually molested. Also, police put out word that the assailant might have sought treatment for a groin injury following the attack, which could suggest that the coroner found his blood on the victim. This crime occurred two months after the Ray Davis murder in Oceanside. The highest-profile lead involved a mysterious, well-dressed, 50-ish passenger noted by a stewardess on a flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas the day after Frislie vanished. The passenger made suspicious annotations on a front-page LA Times story about the case, including the phrase “I am not afraid of dying” (reminiscent of the recent Z340 solve.) Composites developed from the stewardess’s testimony resemble GHH, sans mustache. The marked-up newspaper was recovered, minus an internal page continuing the Frislie story. As far as I can tell, it does not appear that efforts to trace the “mystery man” were successful.



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