Laura Prepon, Co-star of television series- Orange is the New Black
Los Angeles, California
June 10, 2014
While I personally remain skeptical on “things that go bump in the night” and endorse science over ghost-hunting; nevertheless I recognize that a very large portion of the world’s population does subscribe to paranormal activity and such things as, “spirit hauntings.”
IN 2010, ACTRESS LAURA PREPON, CO-STAR IN THE POPULAR TELEVISION SERIES, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, APPEARED ON CELEBRITY GHOSTS SHOW TO QUESTION WHETHER HER HOLLYOOD HILLSIDE PROPERTY WAS HAUNTED”
LAPD Reverses Past Chief of Detectives, James McMurray’s Order to “Clear the Black Dahlia Murder Case” in Preference for Their New “Don’t Look, Don’t Tell” [DLDT] Policy
“I am also aware of your request to be allowed to present those theories [Black Dahlia and eight other serially-connected 1940s Lone Woman Murders] in a meeting… Unfortunately, I must respectfully decline that request. 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…I believe that Robbery-Homicide Division Detectives should expend their valuable skills on more contemporary investigations. I appreciate your interest in the Black Dahlia murder investigation and wish you the best in your quest to solve this notable crime.”
Charlie Beck, LAPD Chief of Police
Letter to Steve Hodel July 30, 201
“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.” … “I think [the Black Dahlia murder] may go down as one of the great Los Angeles mysteries.”
LAPD Detective II Mitzi Roberts
Robbery/Homicide Cold Case Unit
KMEX/UNIVISION interview May, 2013
“I know your guys [Dostie/Hodel] passion about this [Black Dahlia case] but we will probably not be doing anything.”
LAPD Detective II Tim Marcia
Robbery/Homicide Cold Case Unit
[Response to Sgt. Dostie after being informed of Buster’s Sowden House search results, October, 2013]
To Search or not to Search? – The Timeline
Let’s see if I can keep this simple and stick with “Just the Facts”:
- February 15, 1950–
A joint task force of eighteen (18)) detectives from the LADA and LAPD initiated an electronic stakeout of the residence of Dr. George Hill Hodel [Sowden House] at 5121 Franklin Avenue, in Hollywood.
- February 18, 1950-
DA/LAPD detectives on stakeout record a felony assault and or murder of an unidentified woman in the basement of the Hodel residence by George Hodel and Baron Harringa. Record sounds of her being beaten with a pipe and her screams. Take no action
- February 26, 1950-
DA/LAPD detectives (McGrath and partner) conduct follow-up witness interview with plumber who made recent visit to Hodel residence and inquire if he saw any signs of a grave or digging in the basement? McGrath makes a formal report documenting suspicions of a possible burial in the basement. This document is later  found in the DA’s secret file and made public in BDA II.
- April 11, 2003
Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez allowed to view secret Hodel/Black Dahlia transcripts by DA Steve Cooley. Writes two back-to-back articles including partial statements from Dr. Hodel admitting to various crimes including the Black Dahlia murder. Interviews a Confidential Informant and includes in his article that “his ‘source’ informed him that something was buried at the Hodel house.”
Physical evidence (cement paper sacks linked from Franklin House to Black Dahlia victim at vacant lot 39th & Norton through original receipts at UCLA Special Collections and LAPD crime scene photos. Additional evidence establishes Hodel residence likely original murder location.
- November, 2012
Police Cadaver Dog “Buster” and ret. Mammoth Police Department, Sgt. Paul Dostie conduct permissive search of Sowden/Hodel residence, 5121 Franklin Avenue. Buster alerts to human remains interior basement and rear alley behind structure. Soil samples obtained. Buster’s alerts confirm LAPD and DA detectives’ suspicions that human remains are in or near residence.
- September, 2013
Police Cadaver Dog “Buster” conducts a second exterior search of Sowden House alley and alerts in rear of property. Soil samples recovered by Sgt. Paul Dostie. Submitted to Dr. Arpad Vass and laboratory results “positive and specific for human remains.” Formal lab reports and Dr. Vass full report sent to LAPD advising that department lab results have confirmed both original LAPD suspicions and Buster’s alerts. (Reportt ent to Detectives Mitzi Roberts and Tim Marcia, current gatekeepers of the Black Dahlia investigation.)
- November, 2013
No response from LAPD, other than Detective Marcia’s comment, “We will probably not be doing anything.” Property owner/actress Laura Prepon’s attorney contacted and apprised of facts and that forensic anthropologist, Dr. Vass and Sgt. Dostie believe human remains are possibly buried in rear yard, uphill from Sowden/Hodel home, on his client, Laura Prepon’s property. Permission to do a simple non-invasive “walkthrough” of area with Cadaver Dog Buster denied. Follow-up letter from me to Laura Prepon making plea to examine property that might contain body of actress Jean Spangler submitted. No response.
- June, 2014
Public airing of soil analysis results aired on NBC News (Reporter Patrick Healy).
Map showing Laura Prepon Property and possible gravesite at rear of Sowden/Hodel residence:
Excerpt from Black Dahlia Avenger II (updated 2014 ed. )
Chapter 24- Odor Mortis: The Smell of Death (PAGES 414-417)
To Search or not to Search?
“I know your guys passion about this [Black Dahlia case] but we will probably not be doing anything.” —Detective Tim Marcia, LAPD Robbery/Homicide Cold Case Unit, to Sgt. Paul Dostie, Re. K9 Buster’s search of Sowden House
During both the November 2012 and the later September 2013 searches at the Sowden House, Buster alerted at the base of an uphill slope directly behind the home.
Based on their experience examining chemical distribution and “plume flows,” both Dr. Vass and Sgt. Dostie believe the most likely area for finding human remains would be an area adjacent to and directly north of the Sowden House lot. (Soil samples recovered from the interior basement in the earlier 2012 Buster search and alert inside the Sowden House are still pending.)
From a strictly legal standpoint, the law is clear. Based on the evidence, ample probable cause exists that would allow law enforcement to obtain a search warrant for both the interior courtyard and the basement of the Sowden House. The known facts would also support a judge granting permission to search the level area of ground located on the property, some 60 feet north of the rear alley.
In a real-life Hollywood twist, public records show that property is currently owned by actress Laura Prepon, best known for her roles in the television series, That ’70s Show and Orange Is the New Black.
Actress Laura Prepon
Photo courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Laura_Prepon_crop.jpg
In November 2013, I personally contacted Ms. Prepon’s attorney and provided him with an overview of the facts linking my father to the serial crimes. I also told him of Buster’s recent searches and how Dr. Vass believed a likely burial site could be located in Ms. Prepon’s backyard.
The attorney advised me he would contact his client and get back to me the following week.
True to his word, he called me back on November 5, 2013, and informed me that he had recommended that Ms. Prepon not grant permission for an above-ground search by Buster.
I then wrote and mailed a follow-up letter directly to Ms. Prepon. Here are a few excerpts, appealing to Ms. Prepon to reconsider granting Buster, Sgt. Dostie and myself access to conduct a brief, non-invasive examination of her backyard:
Based on my investigation it is my belief that if there is a victim buried on your property is most likely would be, Miss Jean Spangler, a twenty-six-year-old film actress, and friend of veteran screen star, Robert Cummings. She was just beginning her career and was kidnapped and slain by an unidentified “date.”
Her body was never found, but her purse and identification were recovered just ¼ mile from the Sowden House, which was my father’s residence at that time. A note found in her purse indicated she was most likely seeking an abortion at the time she was slain. (DA documents confirm my father was both performing and securing abortions for women just months before Jean’s disappearance. Additionally, he was arrested for Incest and Child Molestation and had bailed out of jail the day prior to Jean’s kidnap/murder.)
I am writing to ask that you reconsider and allow us to conduct a non-invasive search of the rear-yard of your property. As indicated in my letter to Mr. ———-, Buster’s search would only take a few minutes and if he failed to “alert” on the property it could exclude it from being the potential burial site.
On the other hand, if Buster did alert and was able to pinpoint the location of human remains, and those remains were found, you would be directly instrumental in helping solve one of Hollywood’s most mysterious murders.
Jean Spangler, like yourself, was a young and vibrant actress who was brutally slain just as her life and career were beginning.
I have attached some newspaper articles on the 1949 crime showing that both the press and the police were convinced that Jean Spangler’s abduction and murder was connected to that of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short.
Based on my own findings I am convinced their original assessment was correct.
Should you have any questions, or desire to meet in person for additional information please contact me at either my email or home telephone number below.
Most Respectfully Yours,
Sherman Oaks, California
As of this writing, Ms. Prepon has not given us permission.
Nor has there been any public response from LAPD Robbery/Homicide Cold Case Unit detectives Mitzi Roberts and her partner, Tim Marcia, regarding Dr. Vass’ soil analysis results. They were the first to receive his full report in October, 2013, several months before the information was made public.
Specifically addressing Buster’s search, Detective Marcia informed Sgt. Dostie that “we will probably not do anything.”
Echoing Chief Beck’s written response to me that his detectives “should expend their valuable skills on more contemporary investigations,” Detective Roberts confirmed in a May 2013 press interview there would be no further efforts to investigate the historic case. “I think [the Black Dahlia murder] may go down as one of the great Los Angeles mysteries,” she said. (See BDA II Chapter 25: The KMEX/UNIVISION Interviews for Detective Roberts complete statements on the case.)
### [End of Chapter excerpt]
With LAPD’s current “fiscal restraints” and their “Don’t Look Don’t Tell” policy and absent a change of heart from property owner, Ms. Laura Prepon that would allow Buster to put his nose to the ground and conduct a non-invasive ten-minute search of her rear-yard– further efforts to pinpoint the possible human remainsgrave-site are currently stymied.
The Investigations continues.