Here is Part II of a three part article on the Black Dahlia, written by Kahina Sekkae for the French Magazine, PARIS MATCH.
Again, my apologies for having to use a computer translation to convert to English, as much of the writing becomes “lost in translation,” but for those of us that do not read French, it must suffice.
For those of you that do read French, Ms. Sekkai’s article appears HERE.
(Part 3 of 3 will follow on Monday)
Paris Match Magazine
The Black Dahlia:
The Investigator: The Killer’s Son?
George Hodel on this photo ID
taken in 1949 arrest for incest with his daughter Tamar
BLACK DAHLIA (2/3) :THE INVESTIGATOR,THE KILLER’S SON?
By Kahina Sekkai
(Translated from French by computer)
FOR 14 Years, retired police officer attempts to formally establish the identity of the murderer of Elizabeth Short. And the prime
suspect is very close to him, he
is his father. Second
part of our series on new twists
around the case of the Black Dahlia.
At first, he just wanted to clear his father’s name. But, as Steve Hodel
explained the clues he has collected have
“proved just the opposite.” In 1999, after the death of his father,
he began to take an interest in the case of the Black Dahlia. Sorting the papers of
George Hodel Jr., and retired from Los Angeles Police
Department for 13 years and kworking in private
investigations, discovered photos of a young woman he is
unaware. When he asked his father‘s widow, June, only the latter replied: “This is your father knew someone
there for many years.” Shortly after, Steve Hodel discovered a page of the “Los Angeles Times”
dated 1947 which calls:
a letter that said
the newspaper signed by the killer of Elizabeth Short,
he said he “recognized the writing
as being (his) father’s.
Intrigued, Hodel then
asks his elder half-sister Tamar, who
had accused their father of rape
when she was 14 years–acts for which he was arrested in the late 1940s, tried
and acquitted. It is at this point that Tamar entrusted that their father
had been a suspect of interest in
connection with the investigation into
the murder of Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia.
A suspect taken so seriously by the police that the house in which he lived had been tapped. “All these facts have plunged me on the
way to the investigation,” he
told us. After 14 years of research, the author now believes
that his father did not stop with the single murder of the Black Dahlia, “I believe that at least
eight other victims were killed
by George Hodel between 1943 and 1950.”
Cloudy Path of George Hodel
Beyond that Steve
finds clues to
the death of his father (left
in 1952), he quickly realizes that he is the person
suspected: the body of Elizabeth Short
was methodically cut,
investigators had quickly sought surgeons or butchers. However, George
Hodel was a surgeon
early in his career before becoming a respected venereologist. Graduated from high school
at the age of 14 years, George Hodel in the wake between
the faculty Cal Tech
in Pasadena, California, but an affair with the wife of one of his professors caused him to be expelled. At 16, he finds himself a reporter for several newspapers in Los Angeles, specializing in trivia. At age 29, Hodel officially
became a doctor, after going
through the universities of
Berkeley and San Francisco.
His career took off, and soon Hodel
is one of the most respected in its field, the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
In 1945, Steve explains,
his father was first investigated
as a suspect when
Ruth Spaulding, his
secretary, died from an overdose of barbiturates. The police have never really believed in the theory of suicide, even if the woman
wrote Steve was
probably the mistress of his father, she would have
killed out of spite when it
ended their relationship. She had threatened to
disclose all of the secrets of the doctor. The investigation
had to be closed due to lack of
evidence, especially as George Hodel
left the United States in the same year for China.
HE Rturned to California the following year, and renews his friendship with Man Ray, the famous photographer immortalized the whole family Hodel. The doctor has a lot of admiration for the artist, who is one of his closest friends, like Henry Miller and
John Huston. “All
were kindred spirits who shared a love for Sade, surrealism and black literature,” says Steve Hodel, whose mother has often posed for the photographer Dadaist. For him: “The Black Dahlia was the”
masterpiece “of my father. It
was both a tribute to his close friend and guru, Man Ray, which he used two of
his works, “The Minotaur” and “The Lovers Lips”,
to make a real murder. “The body of
Elizabeth Short was his canvas and the
scalpel was my father’s paintbrush. “According
to Steve, the resemblance between the crime
scene and the works of Man Ray”
was “my father’s crime signature.”
Long a suspect in the case of the Black
In 1949, the doctor again faced justice: his daughter Tamar, the half-sister of
Steve, accused of rape. After a three-week
trial, Hodel was acquitted
thanks to his attorney, Jerry Giesler, one of
the best criminal lawyers in the
country. The release was much more complicated to obtain, besides the damning testimony of Tamar, several people
claimed to have witnessed and
even participated, in the sexual intercourse between the
accused and the victim.
In 1947, the death of Elizabeth Short
returned all of Los Angeles. George Hodel
and quickly became a suspect of choice, so
much so that his house, the Sowden
House is tapped.
In all, 18 police officers are concerned only with the supervision of the case in the forties.
And recordings, although very disturbing,
do not allow investigators to collect
physical evidence of the guilt of
Hodel. “Suppose I killed the Black Dahlia. They cannot prove it now.
They cannot talk to my secretary as she is dead, “it is noted in the file, that was
reviewed by Steve Hodel. He suspects that she had discovered the
murderous propensities of her boss and lover, a
revelation that would have been fatal.
Again close to arrest
George Hodel fled
the country. Direction, again,
Asia. He became a psychiatrist and married a wealthy Filipina with whom he had four children. “He had 11
children from five different women”,
say’s his son. It was not until 1990 that George Hodel returned
to the United States. “We
had a close relationship, until
his death in 1999,” explains Steve. He also detailed
his entire investigation in two books, one of which was a bestseller in France, “The case of the Black Dahlia.” The second has not yet been
To Follow: The final part of our investigation on Monday.