New Findings confirm Cadaver Dog Buster’s 2013 search and “alert” to human remains at the property as well as the DA/LAPD 1950 Investigative reports that documented detectives original suspicions that a victim might be buried on the residence property.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA—Dr. Arpad Vass, renowned forensic anthropologist, and the prosecution’s star-witness in the recent Casey Anthony murder trial after analyzing soil samples recovered from the suspected Black Dahlia murder house –property, has concluded:

“Chemical analysis of the irrigation box soil showed numerous markers for a decompositional event. These markers were human specific and indicates that human remains were, or are, present in the vicinity of where the soil was collected.” 

1 arpad vass







2 Buster Sowden House

Data analysis suggests human remains may have been present at location “in excess of forty-years.”
On September 11, 2013 Dr. Vass, accompanied by former Mammoth Police Department Sgt. Paul Dostie and his police cadaver dog, Buster, a court certified Human Remains Detection Dog, collected a second set of soil samples near where Buster had “alerted” to the smell of human decomposition, at both the front and rear of the property. (Soil samples recovered from an earlier November 12, 2012 interior search of the basement with multiple alerts by Buster, were sent to a San Diego laboratory, and have now been processed, but still await a technician’s interpretation of the data.)

Dr. Vass, one of the world’s leading authorities on human decomposition believes the potential clandestine human burial site and “decompositional event” could be coming from a hillside location, directly to the rear of the former Hodel home, which at the time of the 1947 murder was an open, undeveloped lot.  Based on his analysis and the presence of specific chemicals, Dr. Vass believes “human remains have likely been present at the location in excess of forty-years.”

Locating a Possible Grave Site – Is 1947 Actress Jean Spangler’s body buried on 2013 Actress Laura Prepon’s Property at the Rear of Sowden House?

Based on Cadaver dog Buster’s alerts at the base of an up-hill slope found directly to the rear of the Sowden/Hodel Estate, along with their hands-on experience examining chemical distribution and “plume flows” both Dr. Vass and Sgt. Dostie think the most likely location for finding human remains might be a plot of level ground approximately 40-60’ north of the alley. (See Aerial diagram below.)

3 air view sowden prop

Aerial view of possible burial site location is seen at the rear of Hollywood Sowden House, the former home of Dr. George Hill Hodel, prime suspect in the 1947 “Black Dahlia” and nine additional 1940s serially connected, L.A. Lone Woman Murders.

In an ironic twist in the investigation,  public records show this property is currently owned by celebrity actress, Ms. Laura Prepon, best known for her roles in the television series, That ‘70s Show and Orange Is the New Black. A formal request that Buster and Sgt. Dostie be permitted access to the rear yard of the private property to conduct an additional non-invasive search of the grounds has been declined by Ms. Prepon’s attorney. At the time of the 1949 Spangler murder and disappearance, this uphill slope was open and unobstructed, effectively serving as “the backyard” to the Sowden/Hodel residence.

4 laura preponPhoto courtesy of

Soil Analysis Reports Forwarded to LAPD 

Four months ago, on October 28, 2013, Dr. Vass’ complete Sowden House Investigation-Soil Headspace Analysis report containing his detailed analysis, results and conclusions, were forwarded and received by the currently assigned Black Dahlia case detectives, Mitzi Roberts and Tim Marcia at LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Cold Case Unit.

In a 2013 interview with Univision/KMEX news anchorman Leon Krauze for his special, La Dahlia Negra, a three-part review of the infamous Cold Case, Detective Roberts in commenting on my investigation, had this to say:

(Excerpts from 2013 interview)

“… I actually agree with you, I think he [Hodel] has made a very compelling theory. I think there’s a lot of things that looks like it and his dad could actually be responsible for the murder of the Black Dahlia

“If we had DNA that would be great. But, even as far as witnesses, a lot of people are deceased. There is just…Hodel’s is a great theory, but… Yes, he [George Hodel] was a suspect at the time, absolutely. But, it’s not with a 100% certainty that I could say, “Yes, it’s Steve Hodel’s father…And we are going to clear one of the most famous cases in Los Angeles’ history based on his compelling theory. Because some of his evidence checked out and some of it was also incorrect.”        

5 Krauze det roberts authorThe Sowden House, a historic landmark, originally designed and built by Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright) in 1926. It is named for its original owner, John Sowden.  The dramatic Mayan temple, located in the heart of Hollywood, has been used as a film location for such films as Martin Scorsese’s Aviator, and director Curtis Hanson’s, L.A. Confidential.

Dr. George Hill Hodel, then Head Venereal Disease Control Officer for Los Angeles County Health Department, purchased the Sowden House in 1945 and resided there until 1950 when he fled the U.S. to avoid arrest.

1950 DA Investigators Electronic Surveillance of Sowden House

In February, 1950, Dr. Hodel became the DA and LAPD’s prime-suspect in a series of ten Los Angeles, Lone Woman Murders all of which followed in quick succession, the sadistic torture-murder of 22-year-old, Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short on January 15, 1947.


In February, 1950, DA investigators in conjunction with LAPD secretly installed microphones inside the Sowden/Hodel home and conducted a six-week surveillance and monitoring and recorded live-conversations between Dr. Hodel and his house guests.

The Hodel/Black Dahlia DA recorded transcripts, consisting of over 146-typed pages of conversations, were secreted in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office vault for fifty-five years.

Those documents contain Hodel’s admissions to performing abortions (a felony in 1950 which would result in a five-year prison sentence). Also included were Dr. Hodel’s mention of payoffs to police and law enforcement and his admission to having committed both the Black Dahlia murder and that of his clinic-secretary, Miss Ruth Spaulding in 1945.

In May, 1945, some nineteen-months prior to the Dahlia murder, LAPD investigated Dr. Hodel as a suspect in suspicious death of his secretary/lover, Ruth Spaulding.  Her death was a suspected forced-overdose, however, at the peak of the investigation, Dr. Hodel left the country for China and detectives were unable to proceed and establish sufficient evidence to prove foul play and her suspicious death was ultimately listed as a “suicide.” (On the later 1950 DA surveillance tapes Dr. Hodel is overheard admitting to this earlier crime.)

Excerpts from the six-week secret transcripts capture Dr. Hodel making the following statements and admissions:

…They [LAPD] thought there was something fishy. Anyway, now they may have figured it out. Killed her. Maybe I did kill my secretary. [Ruth Spaulding]

“Supposing I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn’t prove it now. They can’t talk to my secretary [Ruth Spaulding] anymore because she’s dead. Don’t confess ever. Two and two is not four. This is the best payoff I’ve seen between law enforcement agencies. You don’t have the right connections made. I’d like to get a connection made in the DA’s office.

…I’m the only one who knows how all of these things fit together.

Police have a photo of me and that girl…I thought I’d destroyed all of them.

On another recording, Hodel is overhead speaking with a woman who tells him of having undergone an abortion in 1944. Hodel responds by informing her that he owns the First Street Clinic downtown and that he has “performed lots of them.”[Abortions]

On February 18, 1950,   the detectives’ electronic surveillance recorded what may have been an actual “murder in progress” at the Hodel residence. The transcripts show that Dr. Hodel accompanied by an accomplice, one Baron Ernst Harringa, went downstairs to the basement area and sounds of a pipe hitting an object were heard. “A woman screamed.” More beating. “A woman screamed again.” Though the officers were just two miles away, monitoring the crime at the Hollywood Police Station, they took no action.

Additional documents showed that detectives, just days after the crime occurred, conducted a follow-up in attempts to determine if any digging or a gravesite were seen by a plumber who was called in by Dr. Hodel to unclog a drain two days after the taped assault. However, detectives in their follow-up, made no physical examination of the actual premise.

On March 27, 1950, just days before his expected arrest by LADA Bureau of Investigations Lieutenant Frank Jemison, Dr. Hodel again, fled the country and remained abroad for the next forty-years.

The recordings and Dr. Hodel’s name were never made public, and the tape-recorded admissions and transcripts disappeared from the LAPD files. The DA Files in Lieutenant Jemison’s investigative follow-up report confirmed the fact that Dr. Hodel and Elizabeth Short were acquainted and were associated with each other prior to her murder with multiple witnesses placing her at the Sowden/Hodel residence prior to the murder.

Dr. Hodel’s identity as the “prime suspect” in the Black Dahlia murder was only made public in 2004, when Lieutenant Jemison’s “second set of books” along with the 1950 transcripts were found secreted in the LADA vault.

Is One or More of the L.A. Victims Buried “at or near the property”?

The burial site, if found, could possibly contain the body of 1949 murder victims:  (1) Actress Jean Spangler or (2) Beverly Hills matron Mimi Boomhower or (3) “Jane Doe” victim assaulted and suspected by police of being slain in the basement of the Hodel on February 18, 1950.

All three L.A. Lone Woman Murder victims were slain in the six-month period (Aug 1949-Feb 1950) before prime-suspect, Dr. George Hill Hodel, fled the United States. The victims’ bodies were never found

Original Press and LAPD Suspected Additional 1949 Murders “Dahlia Related” Ninth Victim Mimi Boomhower, “The Merry Widow”- Body Never Found

On August 18, 1949, Mrs. Mimi Boomhower, a “prominent heiress” was abducted from her Bel Air estate while showing it to an unidentified male posing as a prospective home buyer.

Days later Boomhower’s purse was found in a telephone booth in Beverly Hills with a taunting message, written in block printing similar to previous “Black Dahlia Avenger” messages signed by the killer.

The note read, “Police Dept. We found this at Beach Thursday Night.” Mrs. Boomhower’s body was never found, and the case remains an LAPD unsolved.

6 Boomhower

1949 press article linked the Mimi Boomhower murder to earlier Dahlia suspected crime victim, Mrs. Gladys Kern, who was slain in Hollywood on February 14, 1948, and like Boomhower was also showing a home to a prospective buyer.  The Kern murder occurred just two miles from the Hodel home. NOTE- The killer in the still unsolved Gladys Kern murder mailed a taunting note to the police from the same downtown Los Angeles mailbox used by the 1947 Black Dahlia Avenger. That mailbox, used by the same suspect, was located just three blocks from the then medical practice of Dr. George Hill Hodel.

Film Actress Jean Spangler 1949 Hollywood Abduction Believed Black Dahlia Killer’s Tenth Victim—Her Last Known Movements and Found Evidence Point Circumstantially to Self-Professed Hollywood Abortionist, Dr. George Hill Hodel

7 Spangler

On October 7 1949, just seven weeks after the kidnap/murder of Mrs. Boomhower, the tenth victim, film actress and former showgirl, Jean Spangler, age 26, was abducted off the streets of Hollywood..  Based on witness statements police determined that Miss Spangler was last seen in the early morning hours of October 8, 1949 accompanied by a man fitting the description of Dr. George Hodel.

According to police and press reports from that day, at 2:00 a.m. that same morning (Oct. 8, 1949) Miss Spangler had been seen arguing with a man while seated at a table at the Cheese Box Restaurant, a popular eatery on the Sunset Strip.

Shortly after leaving the restaurant the couple was seen again at a nearby gas station.  The male, driving a convertible, pulled into the station and told the attendant to “Fill the gas tank, we are going to Fresno.”

The attendant, Art Rodgers, in a later conversation with the police, identified Miss Spangler as the woman he saw slumped down in the front passenger seat. As the car pulled away, Spangler yelled to the attendant, “Get our license plate and call the police.”

The witness immediately summoned a patrol unit to the location, but the police were unable to locate the suspect or his car.
On Sunday morning, October 9th, Miss Spangler’s purse and identification were found at Fern Dell Park, a distance of just ¼ mile from the home of Dr. Hodel.  Her purse had a torn strap leading police to believe that a violent struggle had occurred.

A handwritten note found inside the purse, identified as being written by the victim, read:

  “Kirk, Can’t wait any longer. Going to see Dr. Scott.
 It will work best this way while mother is away.”

 Based on the message, police speculated the victim may have been pregnant and was possibly in the process of attempting to obtain an abortion.

Over two-hundred police officers along with 60 mounted horsemen conducted a thorough search of the Fern Dell Park area, however, Miss Spangler’s body was never found and like the previous eight Dahlia related L.A. Lone Woman murders—to this day, some six-decades later, remains an LAPD unsolved.

8 spangler movements

 Saturday, Oct 8.1949-1:30 a.m.  Cheese Box Restaurant, 8033 Sunset Blvd. (Sunset Strip) Spangler is seen seated with a man at a front table.  Terry Taylor, the owner of the restaurant, and personal friend of Jean’s describes the man with her as, “male, 35 years, tallish, dark-hair, clean-cut.”  (George Hodel at that time was 41, but could easily pass for 35, was 6-1, black hair, and had a clean-cut appearance.)


Saturday, Oct. 8, 1949-2:00 a.m.   Spangler seated at the same table is seen by entertainer, Al “the Sheik” Lazar, a radio-personality who broadcasts his show live from the Cheese Box. Lazar approached Jean for an interview, and saw she was arguing with two men seated at the table. As he continued to approach, for a celebrity radio interview, one of the men forcefully, “waved him away”, and in the Sheik’s words, “I veered away, and did not attempt to conduct the interview.”


Saturday, Oct 8, 1949- Early morning–  8400 Sunset Blvd.  (Sunset Strip) Gas station attendant, Art Rodgers reports servicing a “blue-gray convertible” driven into the station by a male with a woman fitting description of Jean Spangler seated in the front passenger seat. The male ordered him to fill the tank stating, “We’re going to Fresno.”  Rodgers went on to report, “The woman shrank down in the right side of the seat, and as the car sped off she cried out to me, ‘Have the police follow this car.’” Rodgers immediately called the police, but the responding patrol units were unable to locate the suspect vehicle

Saturday, Oct 8, 1949-9:00 a.m. Spangler fails to return home. Sophie Spangler, calls LAPD and makes a “missing report.”


Sunday, Oct. 9, 1949-11:00 a.m.  Fern Dell Park employee, Hugh Anger, finds Jean Spangler’s purse in the park. The strap is ripped from the purse, indicating a struggle. Papers and Spangler’s identification are found in the purse, along with a handwritten note.
(Note:  Fern Dell Park is one-quarter mile distant (two minutes driving time) from the Sowden/Hodel residence. Police surmise from the note that Jean Spangler may have been pregnant and was possibly seeking an abortion from “Dr. Scott.”

In March, 1950, DA investigators Walter Morgan & Frank Jemison simultaneous to their covert physical and electronic surveillance of Dr. Hodel, conducted a follow-up investigation into the Jean Spangler murder and checked local Hollywood pharmacies for prescriptions written by any and all, “Dr. Scotts.”

In the months preceding her murder, Jean Spangler had bit parts in two Hollywood films. The first was Champagne for Caesar, starring Vincent Price, a personal friend and documented house guest of Dr. George Hodel. The second was, The Petty Girl, starring Robert Cummings, who befriended Jean and was one of the last to speak to her, just days before her murder. Cummings, along with George Hodel was also personal friends and had acted in films with Marya Marco, whom George Hodel had photographed at the Sowden/Franklin House. Both of these movies were filmed on location in Los Angeles and released in 1950, some months after Spangler’s murder. (In a 2006 interview Marya Marco in viewing a photo of Jean Spangler acknowledged recognizing her as a fellow actor at the studio lots, but indicated they were not personally acquainted.)

9 spangler purse

A Dr. Hodel/Marco/Cummings/Spangler Connection

10 spangler cummings hodel

(Top) Actor Robert Cummings, a good friend to both Jean Spangler and Marya Marco. Inscription to Marco reads: “To my dear friend, Maria, beautiful, exotic, charming, and I mean very. Your friend, Robert Cummings.”  Cummings seen kissing Marya in scene from 1948 film, Sleep My Love.

(Middle) Dr. George Hill Hodel, friend of Marya Marco.  Below photo of her taken at the Sowden House. Marya credited Dr. Hodel with, “Having started my career in the 1940s when two producers saw my picture on George’s desk at his house.

(Bottom)  Cummings and Spangler worked together in the 1949 film, The Petty Girl. (Film was not released until August, 1950, six-months after her murder.).
Spangler tells Cummings just days before her Oct 8, 1949, disappearance that she has, “met a man and am having the time of my life.”


  1. Bud White on February 24, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I can’t say I am surprised about these lab results but it’s still astounding how far this investigation has come since the first addition of Black Dahlia Avenger.

    Up until Jamison’s DA files were released, I thought it was an interesting circumstantial case. After Jamison’s files, I thought it was probably solved.

    Then came Buster’s “alters” which sealed the case for me (for those who don’t know, these dogs will not give a false positive for dead animals. When I was in law school, a professor had an AFT agent bring their working dog in and he could sniff out a live bullet round placed in backpack in a room of 70 students. Their ability to smell is at the parts per billion, and they distinguish between even slight variations. But I digress….)

    This is the final proof I need. From the photographs June gave you which triggered your thoughts to the bugging transcripts to Dr. Vass’s finding, you have established a case which is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” to my mind.

    Your perseverance and dedication is inspirational, Steve, and your respectful regard towards the victims is to be admired.

    • Steve Hodel on February 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Bud: Thanks. Kinds words are much appreciated, as always. Buster gives you a Bark Out too.

  2. John Ayers on February 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    What is Laura Prepon’s attorney concerned about?

    Somehow, some way, this case will be recognized as solved by the LAPD and the world.

    • Steve Hodel on February 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm


      I think he’s just doing what all attorneys try to do for their client. Protect her privacy.
      Expect he’s thinking well if LAPD isn’t interested enough in taking any action why should we?
      Disappointing for us, since all we wanted to do with a twenty-minute walk through with Buster to see if he alerts in the suspect area. No digging or invasion, just a dog and his nose. Maybe things will change?

      • Marie Tsikopoulou on March 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm

        Well, I think it is cowardly and not morally just for this Prepon woman to refuse the trained dog on her property. What “privacy”????? She didn’t commit the crimes!!!! She should step up 2 the plate and DO THE RIGHT THING! How about if it was one of HER family members who was murdered??? Wouldn’t she want to get justice for them? I would. THESE CRIMES SHOULD BE SOLVED ONCE AND FOR ALL.

        • Steve Hodel on March 18, 2014 at 3:26 pm

          MT: I am in full agreement with you. Maybe Ms. Prepon will reconsider and permit a non-invasive four-legged walk-through by Buster. We will see?

          • Terri on August 4, 2014 at 2:45 am

            I also agree.
            Perhaps we should start a petition to try to nudge Prepon in the (morally) right direction?

          • Pam on September 11, 2022 at 10:38 pm

            I been reading about these cases for a long time. I truly believe there were horrific murders at the house. I believe when George and Dorothy were at the hotel he offered her a ride. I think she accepted. I think he stopped by his house and said he needed to get something offered her to come in. She did he offered her a drink that was drugged and there you go he had her. I also think that when she was being tortured the strap across her mouth is what gave her the deep cut on both sides of her mouth her body was going into convulsions. She was probably looking for a cab. So he offered. I do believe he did this any many many more.

        • Lisa M Monroe on November 4, 2020 at 10:17 pm

          Unless she has a buried body there

      • Pam on September 11, 2022 at 10:37 pm

        I been reading about these cases for a long time. I truly believe there were horrific murders at the house. I believe when George and Dorothy were at the hotel he offered her a ride. I think she accepted. I think he stopped by his house and said he needed to get something offered her to come in. She did he offered her a drink that was drugged and there you go he had her. I also think that when she was being tortured the strap across her mouth is what gave her the deep cut on both sides of her mouth her body was going into convulsions. She was probably looking for a cab. So he offered. I do believe he did this any many many more.

  3. Kevin O'Neil on February 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Absolutely huge news Steve. I’ve eagerly awaited news of Buster’s findings for months now.
    As B White states above, this latest development really could be the clincher in the case. Hopefully Prepon will renege on her attorney’s decision.

    • Steve Hodel on February 24, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Kevin: Yes, been anxious to report it to the public. We gave the report to LAPD as soon as we got it four months ago, but so far NADA. Sadly, not surprising. Yes, be nice if Ms. Prepon would allow the non-invasive search, just taking Buster’s nose to the back yard, but not holding my breath. (Excuse the pun.)

  4. Marcel Bonner on March 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    With these new findings being turned over to Det. Mitzi Roberts, as the person in charge of the Dahlia case doesn’t she have to act if there is strong evidence of human remains at this site?

    • Steve Hodel on March 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Marcel: Unfortunately, NO. Based on all the information we now have available there exists plenty of legal “Probable Cause” which is what would be required to obtain a search warrant for both the interior basement and for the area at the rear up-slope. (Laura Prepon property.) However, it is up to the investigating agency to submit the affidavit in support and request for a search warrant.

      LAPD Chief Beck made the following statement last year:

      “Given the fiscal constraints facing the City, and the impact on investigations assigned to my command, I do not believe it prudent that we pursue the Black Dahlia investigation at this time.”

      His detectives at Robbery/Homicide are following his lead and the simple reality is, nothing will be done.

      The only way they would take action is if a human skull, bone, was found. Then they would be forced to take action. Absent that nothing will happen.
      Best, Steve

  5. Marcel Bonner on March 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    In your opinion, are the “fiscal constraints” the reason for ignoring the moral obligation of trying to solve these crimes for the families of the victims (Who are also taxpayers), or is it simply the desire to avoid exposing the department to embarrassing revelations? If it’s the latter, shouldn’t a world class police department like the LAPD be able to admit that they’ve made some mistakes in the past, try to rectify them by doing the right thing now, and try to do better in the future? If they did this I think they would earn a lot of respect for their brave decision, and they would finally be free of having to constantly deal with people asking what’s going on with the case, which I would imagine is not something they enjoy.

    • Steve on March 8, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      No, LAPD’s refusal to conduct any follow-up investigation since the original publication of BDA I in 2003 has nothing to do with “fiscal constraints” and never did. That is merely an excuse for them to not take any action.

      Yes, it has everything to do about, as you say, “exposing the Department to embarrassing revelations.” I like the way author Michael Connelly conveys it in several of his novels. In “Angel’s Flight” he say’s:

      …Bosch had an idea what was coming. The fixer was here now. The investigation was about to go through the spin cycle where decisions and public pronouncements would be made based on what best served the department, not the truth. ”

      Then again in “City of Bones” where Hollywood Homicide Detective III Harry Bosch addresses his somewhat naive partner’s surprise at discovering an LAPD inside cover-up.

      “Bosch almost laughed.
      The department [LAPD] doesn’t care about it. The department cares about the image, not the truth. and when the truth endangers the image, then fuck the truth.”

      I go into all of this in detail in the soon to publish 2014 revised edition of BDA II. I will be introducing five new chapters with new evidence and forensics and underscoring the WHY of LAPDs inaction. Truth is there is nothing more for them to do. They know its solved and all of the top brass past and present, including then active LAPD’ Chief of Detectives, James McMurray said so, and ordered his men to “clear the Black Dahlia murder based on Hodel’s investigation.”
      They’ve been running from it ever since.

      Think Penn State and that organization’s initial cover-up and closing down of the Sandusky investigation in order to “preserve and protect” their image. Sadly, by not pursuing it they allowed a pedophile to continue molesting children until eventually caught decades later. Ditto the Dahliagate only worse. By not originally pursuing George Hodel and by making the decision to close down and seal off the “smoking gun” (taped murder in progress and his recorded confessions) they allowed a sadist and serial killer of the highest order to remain free and commit more crimes and more murders. Big Time blood on their hands, based on decisions made by our department’s two greatest heroes, Chief Bill Parker and Chief of Detectives, Thad Brown. Today’s brass are not about to as you say, “do the right thing” now. Still trying to keep a lid on it. But, the public is my judge and my jury and they get it. All my best, Steve.

  6. Marcel Bonner on March 8, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you for the response. I guess I would be naive to think that if Det. Roberts wanted to do do the work, since she seems to agree with you( “… I actually agree with you, I think he [Hodel] has made a very compelling theory. I think there’s a lot of things that looks like it and his dad could actually be responsible for the murder of the Black Dahlia”), that she would be allowed to.

  7. Derek Olson on March 11, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Hi, Steve. First time commenter here, but a long-time fan of your heroic work. You remind me so much of my grandfather, who was a highway patrol officer for many years. He never talked about work with us grandkids, and I was too young at the time to understand anyway. But I feel that reading your work and posts here has helped me understand what it must have been like for him on the job, an “old school” investigator and cop like you. I thank you for that.

    Anyhow, this is big news and a major development in the case. Hopefully we’ll get a break from this. Even if Ms. Prepon won’t permit an investigation, this now attaches to the property value of her home BIG TIME and will HAVE to come up if it’s ever sold (which seems to happen pretty often over there in Hollywood). Maybe a future buyer will insist on finding out what’s buried there before they write the check.

    Another thought that comes to mind: What do we know about the current state of your father’s former property in the Philippines? Is there any chance that taking a dog through any of those areas might turn up something that the authorities there could pursue? Buster’s discovery here and its confirmation by chemical analysis would seem to provide ample basis for them to allow a similar search of anything there that may still be searchable.

    • Steve Hodel on March 12, 2014 at 2:17 am

      Hi Derek: Thanks for the kind words. Always appreciated. And a thanks to your grandfather for his many years of service to the public. I’m sure he did a lot of good.

      No, nothing left of dad’s Manila property or personal effects. Manila is a special place in time and space. Normal rules and procedures don’t really apply. I’d be happy if they just did some DNA attempts on the 1967 Lucila Lalu “Jigsaw” Murder. (Summarized in my second book, MOST EVIL.) But, too political. Ain’t going to happen.
      All my best, Steve

  8. Elaine Hargrave on March 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Hi Steve,
    Have you watched Season 2, Episode 9 of ‘Celebrity Ghost Stories’, the episode where Laura Prepon describes a haunting in her home? Check it out if you haven’t seen it, it is very interesting considering the location of her property and what Buster is indicating!
    All the best,

    • Steve Hodel on March 21, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Elaine:
      No, haven’t seen the episode. Just heard that she was complaining about one of the rooms in her newly purchased property. Have to see if I can find the episode.

  9. Kathy on April 13, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Dear Steve, This is really great news. I was looking forward to hearing the results of the soil samples taken in areas where Buster alerted to the presence of human decomposition and now Buster and you are proved out or proved correct. It’s really sad that this case will stay around absent the finding of actual human bones or something. Maybe someday the victims can finally find justice and the rest they deserve.

    Keep up your good works!

    Best wishes always!

    • Steve Hodel on April 13, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Thanks Kathy. New updated BDA II will be out soon.


      • Kathy on April 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

        Dear Steve,
        That’s good news. Forgive me if this has been answered elsewhere. Will the new book contain the early days of your father’s life?

        Best wishes always!

        • Steve Hodel on April 14, 2014 at 5:14 pm

          The new book will contain a summary of investigations into his “early crimes” and show how they link. Some new biographical information on my father’s early years, but don’t expect to uncover a lot of detailed information on him. Nothing remains to access.

  10. Kathy on April 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Dear Steve,
    That sounds good. There is only so much one can do and you’ve done a tremendous amount of research regarding the Black Dahlia murder, your father and other lone woman murders in and around the Los Angeles basin and surrounding areas.

    Best wishes!

  11. Donna on April 26, 2014 at 1:08 am

    Do you think your father continued killing people while living overseas? I can’t imagine him just stopping, especially after getting away with it for so long.

    • Steve Hodel on April 26, 2014 at 1:14 am

      Donna: Yes, I believe he murdered overseas. In my second book, MOST EVIL, I present a copycat “Black Dahlia” crime that occurred in Manila, Philippines in 1967 and offer a strong circumstantial case that my father committed the crime which was just a few miles from his then private practice and home. Regards, Steve

  12. LInda Musel on May 14, 2014 at 2:34 am

    Hi Steve
    First of all, thank you for sending me the update on your book! I appreciate your follow-up email!

    With all the new forensic methods of analyzing crime in this day and age solving cold case files as old as 30-40 years ago, I was glad to hear you were able to get your father’s DNA off of a postage stamp. Wow..just amazing and hope to see this being used to solve this cold case file of many years.

    A viable method that is becoming more acceptable through time with successful results is using a qualified professional psychic or clairvoyant with extremely difficult cases that forensic science cannot explain. I am surprised, Steve,you have not used this method after using the cadaver dogs. I realize many years ago, law enforcement laughed at the idea of using a psychic, but throughout the years, many in law enforcement have changed their viewpoint drastically . Sherri Dillard, a professional clairvoyant in Durham County, NC, produced successful results for Detective Ken Copeland on the Stephanie Bennett Murder Investigation with the Raleigh Police. Noreen Renier is infamous with her success rate of helping solve crimes with law enforcement in several states …cases that have come to a standstill with no leads or clues in sight…her record is impeccable. More professional psychics and clairvoyants.are available to help with crimes. Of course, there are quacks and fraudulent people claiming this talent, but the authentic professional clairvoyants have a good track record of positive results, are reliable, creditable along with recommendations of law enforcement. It’s another source to tap into that could create more clues to further this case…….At this stage of the game, it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

  13. Christina M on May 14, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Hi Steve,
    Can’t wait to order your new updates…….have read and re-read you books over and over.
    Shame on the LAPD for not following through with the new and compelling evidence; makes me wonder how they sleep at night knowing that they are continuing the cover-up. And double shame on the actress whom I don’t even recognize; apparently she hopes to obtain more publicity and notoriety. Certainly a “walk thru” at the corner of her property would not disturb her landscaping, etc. If her house is “haunted” the “spirit” must have floated around for awhile waiting for that house to be built long after the murders!
    Keep doing what you do best, Steve. Hopefully you’ll find a little peace in your life. Don’t let the naysayers and unbelievers get to you. You know what you know in your heart.

    • Steve Hodel on May 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Hi Christina: Thanks for the support. With the updating of BDA II and the “naysayers” are down to a trickle now.
      Just a few hard-cores yelling out, “Don’t mess with my myth.” Best Wishes, Steve

  14. WS on July 7, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Not saying he wasn’t the killer. In fact I think he probably was, but the presence of human decomposition would pretty much be a given in and around the house of a man who was secretly performing abortions and disposing of the fetuses.

    • Steve Hodel on July 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      WS: Always a possibility, but we also have to take into consideration what we KNOW. We have him on-tape performing either a felony assault or actual murder in the basement as well as taped statements that he “performed abortions, lots of them at my First Street clinic.” Steve

    • Frank Houle on July 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      I don’t think that doctors were disposing of the fetuses at their home.

      • Steve Hodel on July 7, 2014 at 9:21 pm

        Frank: Agreed. The clinic would be the logical and easiest location for disposal.

  15. George on July 27, 2014 at 3:21 am

    For privacy reasons or otherwise, I find it completely abnormal for someone to ignore the possibility that there could be human remains buried on their property.

    • Steve Hodel on July 27, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Hi George: Obviously, I agree. And to not even allow a non-invasive, nose-to-the-ground walk-through, by Buster, is beyond my understanding. As is LAPD’s ongoing excuse of “just too busy to take a look.” Regards, Steve

      • George on July 28, 2014 at 6:05 pm

        Thanks Steve. I’m sure the search will happen at some point, even if it means waiting for the current occupant to move out. If Buster picked up on remains dating back that many decades, then whatever is there will still be there. Very frustrating.

  16. Richard Stanley on January 9, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Steve,
    I loved hearing you at Skylight Books years ago.
    Thanks for posting this exciting news. The bottom of my house’s lot is on the north side of the private driveway that used to connect to the section of the driveway behind the Sowden House. I recently had my garden re-landscaped. I would not have been surprised to find “something” related to your father’s era in the neighborhood. All I found were lots of antique bottles and broken china from the pre-1950s incinerator days. I can understand that Ms. Prepon and her attorney don’t want to stir up trouble, but the truth is that her house is now stigmatized as much as is the Sowden House. Ducking attempts to discover the truth does not relieve her from a duty to disclose to a subsequent buyer of her house about the suspected burial issues. I hope the truth will be revealed.
    Richard Stanley

    • Steve Hodel on January 9, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Richard:
      Thanks for the information and support. Good to hear from you. Lot has been discovered since that original talk at Skylight back over a decade ago. If you’re free you might want to come to my updated PowerPoint presentation on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at the Santa Monica Library. Will be presenting new evidence from BDA II, Most Evil and my just published Most Evil II. Best Regards, Steve

      • Richard Stanley on January 15, 2016 at 4:38 pm

        69 years ago today at the Sowden House…

        Look what someone put up today–a large photo of the Dahlia on the Sowden House front wall.

    • Mari on February 9, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      She has no duty to disclose to a subsequent buyer of her house about the suspected burial issues (obviously many already know), they maybe disturbing but are not considered a material defect of a residence/structure. Same applies to ghosts, spirits, a murder or death at a home, they don’t affect the material structure nor the enjoyment of said structure. And yes, a ghost or spirit may affect the environment but still they are not material defects. “Buyer beware”, it’s the responsibility of the buyer to do the research for other than material defects, those do have to be disclosed.

  17. Darrick Evenson on August 30, 2016 at 4:43 am

    Mr. Hodel,

    Ever have a seance? I know they work if you have a real psychic involved. I’d do it for FREE. Would could try contacting your father as well as Miss Short, and even the other women. You can have someone film it, and sell it. You keep whatever for it. I’d do it no charge. It need not be at the Snowden house. Could be anywhere. Just a thought. Thanks. Darrick Evenson 503-290-4213

    • Steve Hodel on August 30, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Darrick: I have avoided involving myself in any psychic or paranormal activity on my investigation other than providing historical references about the Sowden/Hodel residence, on one of the “Ghost Hunters” television shows and participating in the forensic investigation with the police cadaver dog, Buster. I know that other shows have conducted seances at the house and made the claim of contacting George Hodel’s spirit and obtaining “admissions” to the crime. Thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass. Best Regards, Steve

  18. Rich Avila on July 12, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Great books Steve! Tell us again where the 6 weeks of transcripts are ?

    • Steve Hodel on July 12, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      Rich A: Thanks. The complete DA Hodel Bugging transcripts (145pages) can be found in the addendum of BDA II. The print is small, so if you want a larger easier to read source get the separate book, at below Amazon link. ($5.00 ebook, or $13.00 print) Best, Steve.

      Amazon this LINK.

  19. Lucas Pickford on July 13, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    In regard to contacting the “spirit” of GHH, I know you won’t be offended Steve when I say why in the hell would anyone want to do that? GHH caused so much misery and devastation when he was alive. Psychopathic serial murderers like him are the real life monsters of the earth. I have no idea what happens or where we go when we die, but conjuring up George Hodel for a chat about the bad old days isn’t something I’d have any interest in. Let Steve Hodel tell his father’s grim tale. He writes with soul, insight and most of all honesty. All things that soulless monster GHH didn’t have. The world was a worse place because of George Hodel, it’s a far better one because of Steve Hodel.

  20. Steve Hodel on July 13, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Lucas P.
    I totally agree. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not into the paranormal/psychic/seance stuff and not really a believer in things that “go bump in the night.” I have agreed to do several of the “Ghost Hunter” type shows only to try and keep the record straight re. the actual history of the Sowden/Franklin House. If I don’t involve myself in that part of the interview it tends to drop down to the worst common denominator and the vacuum is filled with myth and fantasy. I originally “passed” on doing the Ghost Hunter Show until they informed me THEY were bringing in a cadaver dog to search. That changed my mind. That is legitimate and offered a “first time forensic look” inside our home. The results were Buster’s alerting to “human remains” followed by the soil analysis being “positive and specific for human remains.” All good stuff. Again, thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. Best Regards, Steve H.

  21. Guillerno on January 11, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Steve, excellent job you got done there, sometimes as hobby i read this kind of stuff, with all my respect to the department and all officers working there but I must say that seems like the LAPD is needing a purge. A few weeks ago i read about a case of a Canadian tourist that was found dead in a water tank at The Cecil Hotel a few years ago, she was bipolar but she was taking medication for that, the security video tape, the main evidence was modified, blurring the date, time, cutting parts and pixelizing her libs when she talked (why? It’s a very good question and probably the right answer is the most obvious one). Case was closed saying that it was an accidental drowning, so I suppose that, she sneak up to the rooftop, saw the water tanks, went up to that tank somehow (employees needed a ladder just to take a look to the water level) she took off her clothes put them in the tank and jumped to take a swim and accidentally drowned, not before loosing her cellphone or disposing it in a trash can since her cellphone was never found (she was a very active blogger, so I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t just loose it); I’m sorry but I need to say that they are asking the public to believe a huge pile of bullcrap. And now I read your article, whats wrong with the LAPD? There is something going on and it might be just a matter of time before something big blows up, so these are calls for attention.

    I grew up in a country were no one either trust nor respect the police, and when that happens we shouldn’t blame the citizens for taking justice in their own hands, and it all started that very same way. Something must be done before further mistakes that might cost dearly are made

  22. Lilli on March 15, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Ok, so the house was for rent for a while Didi anybody tried to rent it or contact the rentiers to sniff out the backyard? 😀 Maybe they just allow it…

  23. Sue Baldwin on June 2, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    Yes, that photo looks like Jean Spangler…I never thought those photos looked like E. Short. from GH’s photo book.

  24. CinemaOCD on February 10, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    I recently became aware of the Jean Spangler case with the recent death of Kirk Douglas. Many people have speculated that he is the “Kirk” of the note. Any thoughts on this since you seem to have worked more thoughtfully on this than anyone, I can find…

    • Steve Hodel on February 10, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      CinemaOCD: I cover this in my BDA book/investigation. Thad Brown followed up and eliminated the “Kirk” as the actor and determined Spangler had just been an “extra” in a film an Douglas just knew her casually on the set. Nothing more. The “Kirk” is believed to have been a Dr. Kirk who she was planning to or had actually seen re. a probable abortion. See book for details.

      • CinemaOCD on February 11, 2020 at 12:04 pm

        Thanks for replying so quickly! I will check out the book. This theory makes sense, though people don’t usually refer to someone as “Dear Surname.” The note is unfinished which might explain if it were hastily written and she left out the “Dr.” The odd thing about it, is that newspaper articles seemed to indicate that Douglas was eliminated after a phone interview with Thad Brown. I’m assuming he actually checked on his alibi and didn’t just take the actor’s word for it. But then again given the level of corruption at the LAPD, it’s not a given, really. A reporter from Palm Springs did an article about the Jean Spangler connection to Palm Springs gangsters and the fact the police followed up on leads there but came up with nothing. Interesting because that’s where Kirk Douglas phoned from when he was interviewed by Thad Brown. Also, in one of the newspaper clippings I found online, it said that there was a brush fire in the area of Griffith Park that hampered the search. Obviously, fires start naturally or by accident at that time of year, but I didn’t half wonder if someone lit the fire because they didn’t want the body to be found.

Leave a Comment