January 15, 2015
Today is the 68th anniversary of the murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short.
It also marks the 12th anniversary of the day I called my step-mother, June Hirano Hodel and informed her that I had just completed a nearly three-year sub-rosa criminal investigation.
During that three-hour conversation I informed my father’s widow that my investigation had been submitted to then active L.A. Head Deputy DA, Stephen Kay, former Charles Manson prosecutor, who after reviewing all of my evidence, provided a legal opinion that it was his belief that my father, “Dr. George Hill Hodel, was in fact responsible for the 1947 torture-murder of Elizabeth Short. Further, that he had, some three weeks later, also, committed the sadistic stomping murder of Mrs. Jeanne French (1947 “Red Lipstick Murder”) whose semi-nude body had been posed on a vacant lot some six miles west of the Dahlia crime scene.”
Sadly, that was the last communication I have had with June, who after hearing all the evidence said, “This is not possible. Your father was a scholar and a physician.”
Black Dahlia Avenger (Arcade 2003) published in April, 2003.
The original evidence was strong and compelling enough for Head DDA Steve Kay to opine that he was confident he “could win a conviction on both counts of murder, were Dr. Hodel still alive and the witnesses available to testify.”
A year later, with the publication of BDA (HarperCollins paperback 2004) a new chapter containing the secret DA Hodel/Black Dahlia Files was published along with new witness statements and official police reports connecting the victim Elizabeth Short with George Hodel as “acquaintances before her murder.” (This fact rendered moot any question of whether the photographs found in George Hodel’s album were or were not Elizabeth Short. Law Enforcement here independently documented “they knew each other and were acquainted.” )
The secret files also recorded George Hodel admitting to multiple murders including the Black Dahlia and that of his secretary, Ruth Spaulding, which LAPD acknowledged they had investigated as a “suspected forced overdose” some eighteen months prior to the Elizabeth Short murder. (Based on this updated edition, then LAPD Chief of Detectives James McMurray ordered his Robbery Homicide detectives to “clear the Black Dahlia case, unless you find some major holes in Hodel’s investigation.” To date, some eleven years later, detectives claim they have not had a chance to review my investigation.)
Two years later, (2006) a second new chapter was added to the HarperCollins paperback with additional forensics and linkage, along with extensive documentation of George Hodel’s skill as a surgeon documenting over 740 hours of surgery in medical school, and the fact that he was the sole practicing surgeon at a logging camp in Arizona/New Mexico in 1937-1938.
In 2012, I published Black Dahlia Avenger II, and updated it in 2014 with five new chapters which examined all new evidence obtained from 2006-2014. This included hard physical evidence connecting items found next to the victim’s body, at the vacant lot (body dump location) and tracing and tying them back (through original receipts) to having been at the Hodel Franklin/Sowden House just four days prior to the body being found.
With the new chapters added in 2014, there is too much new linkage to attempt to summarize here, (see below table of contents for additional chapters),however, to honor Elizabeth Short’s anniversary, I am here making available the three major myth chapters from BDA II.
One of the most famous quotes (and one of my favorites) is the oft-repeated line from John Ford’s 1962, classic western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. It is the closing scene.
Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) has just finished telling editor/publisher, Mr. Maxwell Scott (Carleton Young) of the Shinbone Star newspaper the “true story” of “who shot Liberty Valance.”
“… When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
That is exactly what has happened with the Black Dahlia Legend.
For over fifty years, opportunists, hack writers and sensationalists have been making up and printing “the Dahlia Legend,” fictional accounts as books, and in film and television, replaced the original facts and the long forgotten truths—lost to history, replaced with hucksters and hoaxsters selling their snake-oil lies, turning the victim into a “virgin tramp,” “a back alley low-life prostitute” and worse.
As we have discovered in recent years, many of those truths (The Hodel Black Dahlia Transcripts) were deliberately kept locked away in Law Enforcement vaults, hidden from the public until the L.A. Times first revealed some of the information post-publication of BDA in 2003. I later, partially included in my BDA 2004 update, additional pages, which were followed by my complete, unabridged publication of the 146-page transcripts in 2014.
The Three Greatest Black Dahlia Myths
Black Dahlia Avenger II (Thoughtprint Press May 2014) 564 pages
In BDA II, I present separate chapters (11,12, and 13), each dealing with one of the three major Dahlia Myths.
Chapter 11- Myth No. 1—“A standalone Murder” The myth claims, “The Black Dahlia murder was a stand-alone. Her killer never committed a crime before nor after her brutal murder.”
Chapter 12- Myth No. 2—“The Missing Week” The myth claims, “On the evening of January 9, 19447, Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, walked out of the Olive Street entrance f the Biltmore Hotel, turned right, and was last seen walking south on the sidewalk. She was never seen again until her nude, bisected body was found six days later, on January 15, posed the vacant lot.”
Chap 13- Myth No. 3—“Black Dahlia Murder Never Solved” The myth claims, “Since 1947, hundreds of suspects were questioned by LAPD detectives, but the killer of the Black Dahlia was never identified. The case was never solved.”
To honor the memory of Elizabeth Short and to continue to “set the record straight” and replace those three major myths (there are many more) with the truths, as we now know them, I am attaching those three chapters, in their entirety, as they appear in the 2014 BDA II edition. Click on below PDFs.
Chapter 11 Myth 1- “A Standalone Murder”
Chapter 12 Myth 2- “The Missing Week”
Chapter 13 Myth 3- “The Black Dahlia Murder Never Solved”
Rest in Peace Elizabeth.
Dahlia photo courtesy of author/photographer Robert Sadler