Victim's Son Discloses 1958 Manila Clinic Rape of his Mother by Dr. George Hill Hodel

Bess Robison
1922-2009bess robison057.jpg ANOTHER SAD AND TRAGIC STORY

Los Angeles, California

I recently received an e-mail from Alan Robison, who informs me he
is the son of one of Dr. George Hill Hodel’s former victims. The crime
reportedly occurred in Manila, Philippines circa 1958.

Here then is Alan’s telling of the crime, in his, and his mother’s
own words. (I have omitted certain parts of his narrative, which are not
directly related to the actual crime, and which I believe should remain private
and confidential.)

              Dear Mr.

My name is Alan Robison.  I am 61 years old. My mother’s name was Bess
Robison. She died in 2009.  My father
died in 2012. I had been caring for him for fifteen months and he was suffering
from five separate diseases.

In 1989 I was staying with my
mother in her home in Tyler, Texas. At that time she disclosed to me that she
had been raped in Manila in 1958 while working as a radio missionary with my
father. At that time my parents were living in Manila and broadcasting a radio
show across the Iron Curtain.

Mother told me that she was having
“female problems” and had asked my father to find her an American doctor in
Manila.  He found her one, and during my
mother’s telling me the story she also told me his name, which was “HODEL.”

My mother took me with her to the
first appointment to see Dr. Hodel. I was seven ½ years old. I recall the
office, the nurse, her desk, the arrangement of furniture in the waiting room
and remember seeing Dr. Hodel. He never spoke to me, but he made eye contact
once, and it was icy to me.

In her conversation with Dr. Hodel
mother informed me that she mentioned that she was a musical prodigy and could
play five different instruments at the age of twelve.

Dr. Hodel brought up the fact of
his piano expertise after my mother described, in her interview with him, her
job of playing the piano on the radio.

I sat in a chair from which I
could see his desk, him, and the window behind the desk, which showed a view of
Manila harbor and the bay. I recall what he wore, his mustache, and his
offhand, cool manner. He was not friendly or relaxed, but he was polite.

After the first visit when I went
with her, I assume she returned alone to Hodel’s office for treatment. Perhaps
he told her to leave me at home? 

My mother told me that Dr. Hodel
raped her at his office (I assume she was sedated), and she immediately afterwards
wept when she reported it to my father. Mother never told me what Dr. Hodel was
treating her for; she indicated that he told her he must do a “pelvic exam” as
part of the general physical exam.

My father then did the wrong
thing. He refused to get involved and believed she had “led him [Hodel] on.” My
mother told me that father “was shocked, but was afraid involvement would ruin his

Mother went on to tell me that she
and my father were “having sexual problems”, and in a conversation with Dr.
Hodel he had asked her, “How often do you and your husband have sex?” She told
him, “Once a month.”  Hodel replied
lasciviously to her, “But you, you are a WOMAN!”, as if to alert her to his
appreciation of her.

The relationship between my parents
quickly degraded after mother telling father about the incident and his
decision to not believe her.

Within a week or two after that
mother decided to leave her husband and return to the U.S. with my brother and

Soon after our return to the U.S.
mother contracted a serious illness, peritonitis, and she had to be operated
on. To this day, I believe that her contact with Dr. Hodel caused this
peritonitis, but I can’t prove it. She almost died.

Both my parents suffered illnesses
from living in the tropics.

Thanks for reading all of this,
Steve. Bless you. If there is anything else I can try to provide, I will. But,
as of now, these details are the most relevant. All else is another story. You
are deeply appreciated by so many for your valiant career and sincere

Ken Alan Robison

See below obituary
describing Bess Robison’s life of service as a missionary:

B. Smith aka Bess Robison

SKH Note- Alan Robison provided some personal information in his
Email, which I am including since it addresses his motivation in contacting me:

I am poor and dying of heart
disease, severe aortic stenosis. I do not have cable or computer of my own. I
use public computers at the local library, where I walk to, since I don’t have
a car–walking, however, is good for me. The Veteran’s Association pays for my
meds.  I want the world to know she
[mother] was attacked.


To both Bess Robison, may she Rest
in Peace, and to her son Alan, and to the rest of your surviving relatives, let
me offer my most sincere apologies for my father’s terrible crime.

Alan, I know the aftereffects of
that sexual assault brought much pain into both your mother’s and your own life,
and surely contributed to ongoing emotional pain and traumas in the decades
that followed.   For this, I am truly sorry, and hope that you
may find some peace in publicly speaking out and informing us of the Truth of
your mother’s victimization. The Truth, in many ways, does help, “set us free.”

 Gratefully Yours,

Steve Hodel

Los Angeles, California




  1. Kimberly on March 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Steve, I am so sorry to hear about another victim of George Hodel. (Coincidentally, I live in Tyler, Texas where Ms. Robinson lived.)
    I have always wondered, and I am sure you have suspected, that there would be additional victims wherever Dr. Hodel might have lived. Do you suspect there are a lot more cases lurking out there?
    On a related note, I just this evening finished reading The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe by Donald H. Wolfe. (I see that he also wrote a book called The Black Dahlia files which I haven’t read. Is it any good?)
    Anyway, what jumped out at me during the last few month of Marilyn’s life and events of her death was that some of the same names from BDA show up in the events surrounding MM with the Kennedys, especially Bobby Kennedy, when they were in LA, and the time of her death. Amazing coincidences of evidence and files going missing, stonewalling the press, etc. Sounding very much like the mysteries surrounding Dr.Hodel’s cover up. Chief William Parker and Captain Thad Brown seem like they were in it up to their necks, along with Captain James Hamilton.
    Maybe your next book should be an expose on LAPD scandals?
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Steve Hodel on March 23, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Hi Kimberly: Sadly, I am working on the fourth book related to my father’s criminality, which will be “The Early Years” so yes, I KNOW there are more unsolved murders “out there.”
    I try to avoid commenting on other Dahlia related “theories” since my position along with most of the original high ranking LAPD detectives is that, “George Hodel did it and the case was solved by them back in 1950.” Also, Head Dep DA Steve Kay, and former (then active) LAPD Chief of Detectives, James McMurray also agreed that “George did it.”
    I go into details on the WHY of the LAPD/DA Dahliagate, or “cover-up” in my sequel, Black Dahlia Avenger II, which I published last year. Lot more linkage and new evidence. Best Regards, Steve

  3. Kathy on April 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Steve, I did not hold out much hope that anyone would come forward as having been or knowing of a victim of Dr. George Hodel in the Philippines. I was very sorry to hear of Mrs. Robison. There must be many more victims out there. It is really heartbreaking to be a victim of someone and then to tell a person who is supposed to support you and love you only to have that person not believe you and indeed tell you that he thinks YOU somehow brought the attack upon yourself. That is awful! I hope that Mrs. Robison will rest in peace. I would like to encourage Mr. Robison, her son, to persevere, as I know what it is like to have heart disease and to never know what may be around the corner. I hope that more people will come forward. This is what makes your work so important. The victims finally get a place to let their story and their pain be known, rather than their being robbed of a voice as so many of them have been in the past.
    Keep up the good work!

  4. Marie Tsikopoulou on March 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Here we go again…the monster never stops. He continues on with his SICK SHTICK! There must be some murders as well in Manila ans surrounding parts. Maybe differently done (just 2 tease + taunt everybody). He certainly thought that his “superior intellect” was a license 2 do whatever he desired. The world was his “oyster” and since he had already gotten away with murders, what the heck???? Catch him (if U can) because everybody ELSE is “pathetically stupid”.
    I say SHINE a RELENTLESS, PENETRATING light on this S.O.B. and his acts of horror. There should be NO PEACE 4 him, even AFTER his “death”.

  5. Linda Whitman on February 27, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Thank you again, Steve, for your graciousness and kindness to this man who shared his pain.

  6. Joseph on January 15, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    In 1967 I spent my summer in Cebu City where I stayed with my elder siblings going to universities there. The gruesome dismemberment of Lucila Lalu’s body dominated radio news and prints of the day.

    Reading your article now, and learning that your dad flew to the Philippines and spent 40 years there after the Black Dahlia murder, I can’t stop from thinking if there were some connections between him and Lucila Lalu’s murder.

    The case is left unsolved.

    • Steve Hodel on January 15, 2019 at 7:36 pm

      Joseph: In my follow-up investigation of my father’s serial crimes I do investigate and include the Lucila Lalu Manila murder in 1967 as one of my father’s crimes. It was a Black Dahlia copycat murder in 1967 and I present compelling evidence connecting George Hodel to that crime. See Most Evil (Dutton 2009) for details. Regards, Steve

  7. Elizabeth on March 13, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Hi Steve,
    I commend you for all you have shared about your knowledge of George Hodel despite your personal connection, I really can’t imagine the pain that may have caused you and the bravery you have demonstrated in speaking about this. I lived in the Philippines and have an enthusiasm for justice and true crime. I would like to do some investigative research on the Philippine connection to George Hodel, Lucila Lalau and Bess Robison. In no way do I intend to sensationalize the crimes, but I would like to shed light on the potential Philippine victims, Filipinos being dear to my heart and often forgotten. I wonder if you would pass my email to Bess’s Son, Ken, if he would like to get in contact with me to share details, to aid my efforts in tracking George Hodel’s movements in Manila. Given the location and the times, I fear we may never learn more with victims and family members aging.. My email is … Kind regards,

    • Steve Hodel on March 14, 2019 at 10:05 pm

      Elizabeth: Thank you for the kind words. Yes, I will pass on your contact info to the relative of Bess Robison. Regards, Steve

  8. Margaret on August 8, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    How did you come out of it with integrity, and a sense of right and wrong? You are doing such good work on behalf of the victims. And in your personal life (I’m assuming), as a police officer. Dr. Hodel seemed to have been quite an accomplished brainwasher, leaving everybody feeling like his behavior was normal, healthy, or even artsy. Children often follow their parents footsteps. Where did you find the strength to not accept this as normal and to be this better person?

    • Steve Hodel on August 8, 2019 at 9:38 pm

      Margaret: In a word. Mother. Dad was only with us from age 1-9. And, not full time. We were in and out of the home with mom and saw very little of him really. After he left the country in 1950 we were with mom for the next 7 years until I joined the Navy at 17. She instilled values of honesty, truthfulness, along with the need to treat all people, all races with equal respect, and kindness. It stuck with all three of her sons. We all chose public service in one way or other. So, despite her alcoholism and many difficulties, she gets the credit for the values we chose in adulthood. Regards, Steve

  9. Keelie Kalay on May 21, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    I think your father is DEFINITELY the largest serial killer in the world. Because of your connecting the dots to Ms. Short it has blossomed into a field of countless “Dahlias”. Being a Dr. and highly educated, Dr. Hodel traveled quite often. And his victims were children to adults, any race. He didn’t seem to have a type like most serial fiends. After doing some of my own research on and off over the years I think Dr. Hodel had multiple victims in the Philippines. On May 28, 1967 in Manila part of a womans body was found. She was nicknamed, “chop chop” because her body parts were found scattered over time…just like 6 yo Suzanne Degnan. Investigators said her killer was either a medical student, butcher, or a surgeon because of their knowledgeable skill of dissecting and cutting. Was your father in Manila at that time? The victims name respectively is, Lucila Lalu. It’s disturbing to find out that Dr. Hodel also received a degree in psychiatry and counseled inmates in Hawaii for three years. I wonder if he was either receiving knowledge of criminal thinking to further his escapades or possibly trying to understand himself by studying the inmates. Like many serial killers there is probably a link of Dr. Hodel and mutilation/missing victims around the years or dates he was in the locations. I myself believe some people are a product of their childhoods and environment but I also believe some people are literally ‘born that way’. I know your dad was an only child, extremely gifted intellectually and musically. With his heightened sexuality mixed with his educational interests I can’t help but wonder if something happened to him in adolescence. Again, some people become perverts without anything of the sort happening too. I think Dr. Hodel couldn’t resist his urges and was becoming worse over time and that’s why he moved around and travelled so often; to keep his victims diverse and unconnected if you will.

    • Steve Hodel on May 21, 2022 at 12:45 pm

      Keelie K:
      Yes, you need to read my books to see how all his crimes come together over fifty years and fifty victims. He started as a teenager and never stopped. He lived two miles from where Lucila Lalu’s body was found and I do include her murder as one of his crimes in Manila. See the below-recommended link to the suggested reading order. I also go into examining the many “triggers” that likely lead to his pathology.

      Regards, Steve

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