Black Dahlia Update: New Clue Further Links Dr. George Hill Hodel to 1947 Jeanne French "Red Lipstick" LA Lone Woman Murder

September 26, 2016
Los Angeles, California

Yesterday I discovered a new “taunting clue” left by my father in his commission of the 1947 murder of former actress and aviatrix, Jeanne French.
Though it was in plain sight all along and readily discoverable, I had simply missed it for the past fifteen years.

Before revealing our newly discovered clue, let’s take a short refresher course of GHH’s crime-signature MOs as presented in Black Dahlia Avenger I & II.   Specifically, let’s examine his unique “catch me if you can” MO of placing his victim’s bodies adjacent to streets that relate directly to his crimes.

Chicago Lipstick Murder
January 6, 1946, Chicago, Illinois

Suzanne Degnan age 6





In the horrific kidnap-murder of little Suzanne Degnan, the child was  taken from her home and slain in the basement of a nearby apartment complex which detectives determined was “The Murder Room.” A surgical procedure known as a hemicorpectomy was performed (body bisected between the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae), and her body parts were then placed in sewers in the neighborhood.

Six weeks after the crime the victim’s arms, posed and “bent at the elbows” were discovered in a sewer one-half mile away from the murder room. As indicated in the below Chicago Daily Tribune article, they had been posed and placed in a sewer just off “HOLLYWOOD STREET.”











The gruesome discovery of Suzanne Degnan’s arms found in an alley off Hollywood Street.

Black Dahlia Murder
January 15, 1947, Los Angeles, California

Elizabeth Short, age 22







Elizabeth Short’s body was surgically bisected at George Hodel’s Hollywood residence.  A surgical procedure known as a hemicorporectomy was performed (body bisected between the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebrae), and the body parts were then transported to a  vacant lot in Liemert Park district of Los Angeles some seven miles south of Hollywood.

On January 15, 1947, her body “arms bent at the elbows” was found posed just off the sidewalk.  Geoge Hodel as a taunting clue placed the body on what he thought was “DEGNAN BLVD,” (a subtle “catch me if you can” clue to his Chicago, Suzanne Degnan “Lipstick Murder.” Unbeknownst to GHH, the street transitions from Degnan Blvd to become Norton Ave, just south of where he posed the body.)




















Elizabeth Short body parts shown posed on a vacant lot at Norton/Degnan Ave.

The Jigsaw Murder
May 28, 1967, Manila, Philippines

Lucila Lalu, age 28







Lucila Lalu was kidnapped from her place of business in Metropolitan Manila on May 28, 1967. Her body was surgically bisected by a skilled surgeon and her body parts placed on a vacant lot in the Makati district of Manila, adjacent to a street named Epifano De Los Santos immediately adjacent to a street named ZODIAC. (Six months earlier, Riverside, California murder victim, Cheri Jo Bates,  (George Hodel’s first known Zodiac victim) was slain and in a typewritten note, sent one month later, he promised he would commit a kidnap/murder and “I shall cut off her female parts and deposit them for the whole city to see.”

Circle in below graphic shows the approximate location of Lalu body part adjacent to ZODIAC ST.









The Red Lipstick Murder- The New Clue
(Discovered September 25, 2016)

Jeanne T. French, age 40







Mrs. Jeanne French was last seen having dinner with “a dark-haired man with a mustache” at the Picadilly Restaurant, 3932 Sepulveda Blvd.,  in West Lost Angeles on February 10, 1947. Mrs. French left her vehicle, a 1928 Ford Roadster, in the restaurant parking lot and left with the suspect at 2:00 a.m.  in what a restaurant witness described as a “1937 Black Sedan.” (GHH drove a 1937 Black Packard.)

The coroner estimated Mrs. French was slain at approximately 4:00 a.m. Her nude body was found posed in a vacant lot near the intersection of Indianapolis and Grand View. Written on her torso in red lipstick were the words, “FUCK YOU, B.D.” (Killer’s taunt meant to inform police and press he was the Black Dahlia Avenger, and the same man who had slain Elizabeth Short just three weeks earlier.)










The New Clue

Just two weeks before the Jeanne French “Red Lipstick Murder,” funeral services were held for Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short. The Short family decided to have her buried near one of her sister’s home in Oakland, California.

Below photos show the funeral, held on January 25, 1947. The Oakland Tribune article reads, “the victim was laid to rest in Oakland’s Mountain View cemetery.”










Two weeks after those services, Dr. George Hill Hodel kidnaped and brutally murdered Mrs. Jeanne French. The cause of death was “blunt force trauma to the head.” ( The coroner suspected a possible tire iron was used.) The victim was then dragged from the vehicle stripped of her clothing and stomped on causing her ribs to puncture her heart. The profane lipstick message was then written on her torso and her fur coat placed on top of her body.

As seen in the photo and map diagram below, in 1947, the location chosen to dump the body was another isolated vacant lot. The street directly adjacent to where the body was placed?  MOUNTAIN VIEW AVE.  Another, (his fourth) taunting street clue connecting himself to his crimes.












Victim Jeanne French body posed adjacent to MOUNTAIN VIEW AVE



  1. Teresa on September 28, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Steve, It makes sense because GHH had a photographic memory right and liked riddles, thinking abstractly.
    Do you know if he ever worked at or did a residency at Bellevue Hospital anywhere…there had to be some planning of these murders. The reason I am asking about Bellevue is because I sent you a link regarding a ligature murder and strangulation of two young women. In the video clip they showed a street sign of Los Angeles St and Bellevue…it was also at a “Y” intersection. Or maybe I am just reading way too many of your books…this was also in an area that the Zodiac was familiar with as suspect of the Lass et all murders (2 nurses) clothes found underneath victims.

    • Jose on October 11, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      @u/Teresa- Would of made it to obvious
      though we don’t live in the past these monsters have one trait in common,
      they talk to each other.
      Fn.Keep up the good work Steve!

  2. Jerry Lentz on October 12, 2016 at 2:51 am

    Oh my gosh, Steve! I’m only a few chapters in on your 1st Black Dahlia book, but this clue blew me away so much, I think I might have to skip ahead to the latest editions of your other books. Also, after watching you on numerous news shows I was very frightened to see an example of Dr. Hodel’s handwriting and found it very very similar to mine. That knocked the wind out of me! But that Zodiac Street in Makati floored me. Doesn’t Makati mean water? Makati’s sister city is Los Angeles.


  3. Sharon on October 16, 2016 at 2:47 am

    This is so weird cause I was doing a full research on Elizabeth and found this lady Mrs. French like early last year I went to visit theses places.

  4. Mark Kuglin on November 13, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Kudos to you sir on:

    1) Finding another undeniable connection to the series of murders connected to your Father.

    2)Having the personal fortitude, integrity, honesty, willingness and incredible courage to set aside familial bonds to seek the truth for the victims…..

    I read this post a night or two ago and found myself returning to it (in my mind) and wasn’t sure why until a few hours ago. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized I have stood within a few feet of where it occurred.

    Stranger still, and due to having worked in Los Angeles for decades (a significant chunk of it having a delivery aspect to it), I also remembered that I had made a delivery on Norton Blvd. I distinctly recall the Norton/Degnan change over and being extremely agitated about it.

    At first, I drove back and forth on Norton a number of times before I found the address. I then had to walk up and down that side of the block (the Dahlia site) a number of times. I had to find a neighbor willing to accept the package I was delivering (the actual recipient wasn’t home) so I wouldn’t have to return later. I remember just wanting to get the hell out of there and not knowing why. It wasn’t until I read your first book that I realized I passed within a few feet of the murder site repeatedly.

    If that isn’t strange enough, I have been doing some research for the last few hours and came to some very startling revelations. I have made deliveries on the same blocks (and in several instaces within a house or two) of the following murder locations:

    The Black Dahlia
    Jeanne French
    Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
    Jose and Kitty Menendez
    Marilyn Monroe
    George Reeves
    Thelma Todd
    Charles Desmond Taylor
    Sharon Tate
    Wonderland Murders

    These are just the ones I have researched so far. I only bring this up to remind people that just because something SEEMS unbelievable and/or impossible doesn’t mean it isn’t true or that it couldn’t have possibly happened.

    • Steve Hodel on November 13, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Mark: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. That’s quite a list of “deliveries” that you’ve made over the years. The names really do capture just how very real life NOIR the City of Angels really is. (Whole lot of diablos out there.) Yes, Degnan/Norton is really one of the most unusual streets. I don’t ever recall the name of a street changing mid-block from one name to another. But, there it is. Best Regards, Steve

  5. Mark Kuglin on November 14, 2016 at 4:38 am

    Hi Steve, I agree with your assessment that the “city of angels” is a misnomer and appreciate your kind response…

    Upon reflection, I realize my earlier comment about my deliveries sounds incredulous. For reader clarification I offer the following:

    I don’t have a photographic memory in the classic sense but I can recall many images and places I have been (even from childhood) like I was viewing a video of the proceedings. All I need is a stimulus and a few minutes of focused effort to recall it or if it had a strong impact on me (like the Norton site) I can remember it very easily…………

    The Norton delivery was a one-off sample delivery and remember it because of the strange Norton/Degnan configuration and what I noted in my earlier comment

    The Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Palisades, Laurel Canyon (Wonderland) and Norton sites were the result of my having worked for a high-end specialty hardwood flooring and carpeting company based out of West Hollywood.

    It was my job to deliver needed products to the installers, samples to clients, coordinate/facillitate the unloading of hardwood and/or carpeting and act as a liason between our salespeople and our clients at these locations.

    These were active jobs sites that I delivered to or visited in some other capacity on numerous occasions throughout the life of the project. It wasn’t unusual to be at any of them a dozen times or more ……. It was very easy for me to remember the precise job locations after looking up the murder sites on google maps 🙂

    My recall of the French site is due to my having worked for the Salvation Army for two years. The area surrounding the site and Venice was my pickup area….I made numerous pickups in the area on an almost daily basis 🙂


    Ps. Are there any other muders you suspect of being connected to your Father while he was in Asia? It doesn’t seem possible that there would be just the one. There is just too much frenzied “activity” on either side of it.

    • Steve Hodel on November 14, 2016 at 9:48 am

      Mark: I’m sure there are additional murders in Asia most likely in the Manila Metropolitan area since that was his “home base” for decades. Also, expect some crimes occurred in the then Territory of Hawaii during his years there from 1950-1953. Have not researched Hawaii and Manila is very difficult if not impossible to investigate from afar. Regards, Steve

      • R. on April 19, 2019 at 5:54 am

        Hello perhaps Newspapers online? Just a thought. I know some have archives that go way back. Just a thought. Good luck.

  6. Mark Kuglin on November 14, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Steve, Thank you for your response. I hope I am not being a bother, my interest in your work is quite genuine. I apologize for the length of my earlier comments and this one. I need to write once more at length to establish my credentials and basis of further inquiry. I assure you (in the future) that they will be severely shortened…..

    F.Y.I……Later in life, I obtained a B.A. in Communication. During my studies, I chose to focus heavily upon (as elective work) rhetoric and argumentation. It’s the latter that drives my fascination with your work and is the basis for my inquiries…..

    Personally and professionally, I feel you have correctly and effectively laid out a successful argument (a claim and supporting points) that your Father was indeed responsible for all of the murders you attribute to him.

    However, when I happened upon your first book, I admit I was highly skeptical and approached it (and your subsequent work) looking for flaws. On the surface, your work just seemed (and still does to many) to be incredulous, conjectjure and/or mere speculation.

    However, when I applied critical thinking, looked extensively for logical fallacies and applied the rules of argumentation, I could not (and still can’t) find flaws in your argument. There are simply far too many incidences of connectivity and a preponderance of evidence that are impossible to ignore. It would have to be an anomaly of astronomical proportions to not have all of this implicate your Father.

    Yet, many people (both laymen and professionals) still dismiss your work as conjecture or circumstantial at best. With regards to the non-believing laymen, it is pointless to try to change their minds. However, it’s most of the professionals I find quite disturbing, in that, they appear to be unconvinced solely for egotistical/face saving reasons.

    Do you think your conclusions haven’t been fully embraced because of the “embarrassment” factor for law enforcement?

    Do you think any of your conclusions will ever be officially accepted and the cases cleared?

    Do you feel (as I do) that there is extreme need of interagency work to search extensively for connectivity in cold cases nation wide?

    Ps. Thank you for your time, I greatly appreciate it. I fully support your efforts to seek the truth and the proper application of justice.

    • Steve Hodel on November 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      Mark: Re. your questions:

      Do you think your conclusions haven’t been fully embraced because of the “embarrassment” factor for law enforcement?
      Well, I see it as being beyond embarrassment. In my books I point to the ego and territoriality factors that have prevented LE from even cooperating with each other, let alone an “outside author” nevermind that he has fifty plus years of criminal investigations behind him.

      Do you think any of your conclusions will ever be officially accepted and the cases cleared?
      They already have depending on who you ask. LA Head Deputy District Attorney Steve Kay has written his legal opinion that both the Black Dahlia and the Red Lipstick LA murders “are solved” and he stated if he went to trial based on my findings and evidence he “could win the case on both before a jury.”
      Then active LAPD Deputy Chief James MacMurray also reviewed the material and stated in his opinion the “case was solved” and ordered his detectives at Robbery/Homicide Division to “go ahead and clear the case unless you can find some major holes in Hodel’s investigation.” (The sergeant in the unit did nothing knowing Chief MacMurray was retiring in another 9 months and just ignored the order to clear it.) LAPD cannot defeat the evidence so there ongoing position for the past ten years has been, ‘We don’t have time to look at Hodel’s investigation or work on the Dahlia or other Lone Woman Murders. We are too busy with current homicides.” Add to that the fact we have four of the highest ranking LE officers (LAPD Chiefs Parker and Brown, LADA Lt. Frank Jemison, and Undersheriff James Downey) all from that time period of the 1940s, confirming that “the Dahlia case was solved” and confidentially naming Dr. George Hill Hodel as the killer.

      Do you feel (as I do) that there is extreme need of inter-agency work to search extensively for connectivity in cold cases nationwide?

      Absolutely. the lack of inter agency sharing of cases is the prime reason the solve rate nationwide remains right around fifty-percent. That is extremely low and means that every other killer is getting away with his murder. Not acceptable! Again, it comes back to egos and territoriality. With the current technology and DNA testing, the clearance rates on homicides should be up around 75%. Detectives in local jurisdictions police and sheriff’s, city and county, need to regularly sit down one on one and meet and discuss crime-signatures and MO’s within their local jurisdictions.

  7. Mark Kuglin on November 18, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Steve, Your research into your Father conclusively proves (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that George Hill Hodel was a serial killer of an extremely heinous nature. His crimes are deplorable , yet the most extremely disturbing aspect of his case was that they were allowed to continue via selective prosecution.

    It seems inconceivable that any detective (case hardened or not), or any officer responding to the scene or any prosecutor (after the fact) not instantly knowing that the Dahlia murder was a “one and done” singular event. They had to know that the perpetrator(s) would strike again or had before.

    Therefore, what are you views on the following:

    Is this “blindness” (during the investigative phase) a necessary component of crime scene analysis and detective work?

    Is this “blindness” (after the fact) due solely to selective prosecution (for whatever deplorable reasons)?

    In your estimation, how do you think the responding officers and rank and file of the LAPD responded to this decision?

    Could such a case of “blindness” (and in such a heinous nature) occur today?

    In your estimation, how blatant and/or prevalent is selective prosecution today?

    • Steve Hodel on November 19, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Mark K:

      Therefore, what are you views on the following:
      Is this “blindness” (during the investigative phase) a necessary component of crime scene analysis and detective work?
      The detectives investigating the original Dahlia murder back in the 1940s were, in fact, aware that the crime was likely connected to other LA murders. They were actively investigating them as what they termed “chain murders” (the term serial killer did not enter police jargon until the 1970s.) Only later in decades following did the crime transition to become “a standalone crime, none before, none after.”
      Is this “blindness” (after the fact) due solely to selective prosecution (for whatever deplorable reasons)?
      Only a few were aware of the cover-up, and after all the written linkage was removed from the files, the future investigators had no knowledge of the facts. GHH was gone, and those “in the know” had no desire to reopen that Pandora’s Box, which could only result in a lose-lose for LAPD.
      In your estimation, how do you think the responding officers and rank and file of the LAPD responded to this decision?
      Difficult to know, but I expect those that knew the truth were in line with Parker’s and Brown’s decision to keep a lid on it. Probably the only real opponent of the cover-up was DA Lt. Frank Jemison, but he too, took it to his grave, with the exception of locking away the Hodel/Dahlia transcripts as “a second set of books.”
      Could such a case of “blindness” (and in such a heinous nature) occur today?
      I expect so. Some things never change. Public information on sensitive investigations is often at extreme variance with “the truth.” Most hidden truths are never revealed for decades after the fact, if then.
      In your estimation, how blatant and/or prevalent is selective prosecution today?
      There have been and always will be “selective prosecutions.” Political agendas. I expect there are a lot less now than before thanks mainly to the “watch dog” attitudes of the Press. However, with the advent of less professional, less skilled investigative reporters and the increase of “fake news” it may return to the “Bad Old Days” of yesteryear?

  8. Mark Kuglin on December 2, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Hi Steve
    I have done a fair amount of internet research and have noticed a proliftration of conspiracy theories with regards to Zodiac (and BD et al for that matter)

    Will law enforcement ever acknowledge your Zodiac work with all of the “competing” theories (granted, most can easily be dismissed) it has to contend with and investigate?

    How is the Hawaii investigation coming along?

    • Steve Hodel on December 2, 2016 at 12:17 am

      Mark K: For the most part Law Enforcement doesn’t READ. So, to expect them to review a lengthy investigation such as BDA, doubtful, which makes the probability of them reading four books pretty much out of the question. At first glance (without knowing any of the factual support underlying it) presenting a theory that the 1940s “Black Dahlia Avenger” then went on to reinvent himself as “Zodiac” in the 1960s sounds preposterous. The full understanding and linkage can only come from actually reading the full investigation presented in the four books. That’s not going to happen with LE. So again I say, my jury is the reading public. I leave it at that. Regards, Steve

      • Emily on December 21, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        Exactly. It does sound preposterous unless one has read your books. I have tried to get people on the Reddit unresolved mysteries forum to read your books, but generally don’t get any comments back on my posts. I believe you have solved all of the unresolved murders you’ve attributed to your father.

        • Steve Hodel on December 21, 2016 at 5:02 pm

          hi Emily: Thanks for the support. Yes, requires an in-depth reading of the investigation to “get it.” All the pieces fit together, but one has to take the time to read it. Miniseries would be a good way to condense it since the investigation is maybe 75% visuals and graphic exhibits. Best, Steve

  9. Mark Kuglin on December 2, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    It’s a sad state indeed. All too often, most people (even highly educated ones) do not apply critical thinking skills. The unfortunate result is that legitimate inquiry and investigation (particularly by qualified people, such as yourself) gets lumped into conspiracy theory and dismissed outright.

    I want to thank you for all of the time you have graciously given me and your candid responses.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family


  10. amy on March 6, 2017 at 1:47 am


    What do you remember of your father, as his son having grown up with him as your father, that would make this case even more compelling? Do you have memories of him that would fill in the gaps in terms of understanding his psychology? I am a clinical psychologist with a minor in forensics. I have not practiced in years due to raising a family. However, I would be curious to hear what it was like for you growing up. I would bet you have memories of things your father said, things he did, and patterns of unusual behavior that you can recall that will shed more light on your case and help to further prove your belated father’s guilt.

    • Steve Hodel on March 6, 2017 at 2:21 am

      Amy: Suggest you read the updated 2015 edition of Black Dahlia Avenger. The first third of the book is spent backgrounding my memories and describing my father’s remarkable childhood and adult life. Musical prodigy age 9, intellectually highly gifted (186 IQ), enters CalTech age 14, and on and on. The book examines many of the “psychological triggers” in his growing up years and later. Lots of forensics follow in that and its sequel, BDA II. It’s all there. Way beyond any “Reasonable Doubt” now. Best Regards, Steve

  11. Justin Vaughn on April 25, 2017 at 1:52 am

    Steve: I listened to you on a podcast tonight, the episode dating back to 2015 or 2016. I was greatly impressed with you and your evidence. I had recently listened to another podcast suggesting that Dr. H.H. Holmes, who admitted to 27 murders in the late 1800s, was possibly Jack the Ripper, as well. I find it quite interesting that 2 highly intelligent and wealthy physicians became 2 of the most notorious serial killers in history, and both may have transitioned to distant locales where they took on yet another murderous persona (the Ripper becomes Dr. Death, and the Dahlia Avenger becomes Zodiac). In addition, both killers left taunting messages, and had a penchant for unusual mutilation. Taken together, these are significant commonalities. It’s as if the evil spirit driving the Ripper found a new home in a new century.

    I think you hit on it during the podcast when you posited one of the possible motivations: hubris. That trait is not unheard of within the medical community (eg, “the God complex”). I know it’s far more complicated than that; but it is undoubtedly a contributing factor.

    Best wishes to you on your continued sleuthing! Thank you for your significant contributions to your country, and to the truth.

    • Steve Hodel on April 25, 2017 at 8:09 am

      Justin V.
      Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated.
      Yes, no question that GHH took inspiration from JTR and was well schooled in his signature MOs.
      Not only in copying his mailings and mutilations but even going so far as to complete in act, what JTR had threatened in writing! JTR threatened in a letter to cut off an ear and send it in. GHH in the Suzanne Degnan child surgical murder did just that. He boxed and mailed a human ear to the child’s parents home address informing Mrs. Degnan, “Your’s will be next.”
      As far as the “God complex” our father used to get on the intercom at the Franklin House and announce, “This is God Speaking. Any child that is not dressed and ready to leave for the Hollywood Bowl concert by 4:30 will be left behind.” (I wouldn’t make the connection to Zodiac’s unusual announcement to the police and press, “This is Zodiac speaking…” until 2008, some sixty years later.)
      Best Regards, Steve

    • Lisa on December 22, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      “It’s as if the evil spirit driving the Ripper found a new home in a new century.” — Hauntingly well said, Mr. Vaughn; you expressed my same thought but much more eloquently. GHH and JtR: two kindred spirits without souls. May there never be another.

      Mr. Hodel, the courage of your commitment in pursuit of the truth — despite it sending you in directions you undoubtedly hoped you would never go — proves both your case and the tremendous strength of your personal character. In a time when denial is increasingly more comfortable than reality, thank you for standing up for truth.

      • Steve Hodel on December 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm

        Lisamae: Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated. Happy Holidays to you and yours. Steve

  12. Jennifer Strong on June 11, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I find all this very interesting with the connection to Man Ray. Although there was never any exact “type” physically connecting these murders, many of them were brunettes. (That makes me wonder what did the GHH’s mother or the wife of the professer from CalTech look like?) But, all these women are strikingly beautiful and very similar features to they types of models Man Ray used in his photographs. So that got me thinking, was GHH not only memorializing his good friend’s work but also, in a fashion true to most genius, trying to one up Man Ray? You know, to me these killings kind of speak ” good job friend, but I created this surreal work in real life/death, and now you can never one up my work because I killed the model.” You Steve, would know your father’s motives better than anyone. Could this possibly be the motivation or purpose of the 1940’s and the 1950 murders and a possible connection between the physical likeness or similarities of the women killed in this time period?

    • Steve Hodel on June 11, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Jennifer S: Yes, that is exactly what he was saying to his “fellow surrealists.” They talked the talk, but he walked the walk.
      See link below for further. Regards, Steve

      • Connie on June 24, 2017 at 9:58 pm

        I was reading the posts and a memory of something I read sort of clicked as to motive and I’d like to know what you think. I read that Elizabeth Short was a hermaphrodite and could not have sex due to under developed genitalia. A Minotaur is a mythical creature who is half man and half beast. This would have fastinated anyone like Man Ray or Dr. Hodel and anyone into surrealism. She was also a dark haired and nearly flawless beauty. Yet she was flawed. The perfect subject to recreate Man Rays work and pay homage to his creations.

        • Steve Hodel on June 24, 2017 at 10:16 pm

          Elizabeth Short was not a hermaphrodite and was anatomically normal in every respect as documented in the secret DA investigation and coroner’s report. That “infantile vagina” crap was invented by hack writers to promote their books. She was killed because she discovered that GHH was Chicago’s Lipstick Murderer. Suggest you read BDA I and II. Regards, Steve

          • Connie on June 24, 2017 at 10:42 pm

            I suppose there’s a lot of bad information out there. Thank you for replying and correcting this misinformation.

            Would have been a good scenario, especially if he had been her doctor.


  13. Jennifer Strong on June 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I’m sorry,one more question. There clearly seems to be a pattern established with subsequent crimes connection to the previous crime, but at his first murder there would have been no previous murder to connect to. I don’t believe him to be of such character that there would’ve been that kind of randomness, so at his first suspected murder was there a connection to a person, place or thing that GHH would’ve been connected to prior to when the killings began? (Also, the photos of the women with their eyes closed in the album that sparked this, do you believe those were postmortem photos and the one with flowers in her hair a photo of Spangler? ok, questions over I promise)

    • Steve Hodel on June 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Jennifer S. Was not his “first murder.” The pattern began way before the Dahlia murder. Currently working on “The Early Years” which takes us back to the Twenties and Thirties. But, my four books cover crimes starting in 1943 and moving forward for the next thirty years.

      As far as the photographs are concerned. I cover them fully in my follow up investigation in BDA II. The standing woman by the horse statue I have now identified and eliminated. She was an actress friend of my father’s named Marya Marco and the photo eyes closed was taken at our Franklin/Sowden House circa 1947 by GHH.

      The second woman, reclining nude, I do believe is Elizabeth Short. A recent analysis by a leading Facial Recognition BioID company in Germany resulted in a “95% probability that it is Elizabeth Short,” after they compared it to known photos of ES. (Though a 99.9% match is required for positive ID) I had them compare photos of ES and Jean Spangler and they pretty much eliminated Spangler. I do believe it could well be a post mortem “trophy” photograph (or drugged and unconscious) taken by my father at the Hodel Franklin House in 1947. Again, see BDA II chapter for full information. Regards, Steve

  14. Karen on June 12, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Hi Steve, you talk about your father’s parents in your book, but never mention meeting them. Did you know your grandparents? What kind of relationship did your father have with his mother? Did he talk about her in a loving and admirable way? He definitely was a sex addict, womanizer, abusive etc. typical serial killer characteristics. I was wondering if his relationship with his mother had any impact on him? Also, do you know if he was molested?

    Thank you

    • Steve Hodel on June 12, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Karen O: His mother died in 1935, so six years before I was born. I did meet my grandfather who visited us at the Franklin House and then we visited him in his apt in Santa Monica in the late Forties and early Fifties. But, no real relationship with him other than occasional “hello” as children. Grandfather Hodel died in 1952 I believe. I go into details in my four books on my father’s relationship with his mother, whom he hated. She was brilliant and super controlling and I suspect he was the victim of incest either with her, or molested as a child by a family member or ??. This hatred was one of the many “triggers” to his misogynism and sadism. Abused becoming the abuser.

  15. Sam on July 3, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Mr. Hodel: I read your first B. D. book; couldn’t put it down. Now I’m reading the newest edition. Unbelievably creepy; it’s like a morbid fascination to find out what’s next. Many years ago I lived on Franklin Ave.. I put some crayfish in the Fern Dell stream. For years walked by your house and admired it’s appearance. So many things I would like to ask! Here’s one: Despite all your experience with the L A P D- do you have nightmares about all this horror? To realize what your Dad did? These books equal meeting Vincent Bugliousi (sp?) and reading his “Helter Skelter” Sincerely- Sam * BM1 in the U S N.

    • Steve Hodel on July 3, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      Hi Sam: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.
      One of my favorite memories was playing in Fern Dell Park all day and searching for frogs and crayfish in the creek.
      Back in those days, they had some major bullfrogs hanging out there. As to your question.
      No nightmares, but it has been a mind-boggling transition from where I started out. In the beginning, I was sure I would be able to prove my father had nothing to do with the Dahlia crime and completely exonerate him. Now, some eighteen years and four books later we have what I consider to be twenty-five victims covering thirty years. I am working on Book Five, (hopefully the final book) which will explore his criminality in the Twenties and Thirties. My search for the truth has superseded “the horrors” of the crimes and despite his being my father has focused my thinking on the crimes and proofs rather than the personal aspects. But, now, mostly a tremendous sadness. He could have done so much with his unlimited potential but chose the Dark Side which was his personal madness.
      Regards to a fellow Navy man. Steve

  16. Tom Balderas on December 24, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Steve. Just to confirm. You believe your father murdered Suzanne Degnan? If so do you have information putting your father in Chicago. My apologies if you made mention of this already. Thanks, tom

    • Steve Hodel on December 24, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Tom B: No, no actual documentation to put him in Chicago on the date of her kidnap/murder. But, massive amount of circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime. Too much to attempt to explain here. Suggest you read the three chapters in Most Evil (Dutton 2009) that lay it all out. He made frequent trips to his Health Dept office in D.C. and Chicago was a hub city back then. He also studied Chinese at an unknown university, possibly Univ of Chicago in the months preceding her murder prior to his joining UNRRA and going to China one month after her murder. Regards, SKH

  17. Brian on January 17, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I am in no way connectedd with either of you. Can you please refute and/or explain the theory of Larry harnisch? I gather you guys are not fans of each other but he does have a theory. Dr. Bayley had a surgery practice 3-4 blocks from the last seen location at the Biltmore, a home 1 block away from the body dump site, pictures of his daughter with the victims sister creating a direct family connection, the victims sister had her wedding at the bayley’s home on Norton as it is listed on her marriage license, bayley’s autopsy reveals brain deterioration, he was quite literally losing his mind. These do seem to be fairly convincing elements of a solid suspect. Direct connections to both the last seen location and crime scene location, direct family connection, a skilled, practicing surgeon. When you say someone is a surgeon, that by itself greatly reduces the suspect pool. Did dr. Hodel have a connection to norton avenue? Its quite a ways from franklin ave in hollywood to leimert park, as I’m sure you know, about 8 miles. Just curious of your thoughts. Good luck with your investigation.

    • Steve Hodel on January 17, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Brian: As I have said many times in the past, I do my best to try to avoid getting involved in “dueling theories”. Mr. Harnisch indicated he is currently entering his 21st year of writing his Dahlia investigation, so will leave it to him to explain his Dr. Walter Bayley theory to you and others.

      As to your observations a few corrections: 1) Elizabeth Short left the Biltmore in the oppositive direction of Dr. Bayley’s clinic, headed in the direction of Dr. Hodel’s medical practice four blocks away. 2) I am not aware of any “pictures with his Baylet’s daughter and Elizabeth’s sister” and the wedding did not occur at the Bayley residence. It occurred at the daughter’s church and while she signed as a “witness” there is no indication that she and the bride and groom actually knew each other or were personal friends. (I have a marriage certificate where the “witness” was merely an individual present at my ceremony. My first marriage was performed by a Justice of the Peace in Twin Falls Idaho, signed by a witness I never knew or had contact with again.)

      My father’s connection to the Liemert Park location is made abundantly clear and relates to the “Degnan Street” posing of the body, followed three weeks later in his Jeanne French “Red Lipstick Murder” posing of the body adjacent to “Mountain View St” which relates back to the Dahlia murder. (Elizabeth Short was buried at Mountain View Cemetery)

      Recommend you read my follow up books for a full and complete understanding of the linkage. As to your statement that “Dr. Bayley autopsy revealed brain deterioration” to my knowledge that is simply not true. There was no “autopsy” simply the attending physician who signed a death certificate, attributing it to multiple causes. My own forensic expert in reading those ailments indicated none of them would indicate any justifiable medical diagnosis of “brain deterioration or that Dr. Bayley was “losing his mind.” Regards, Steve.

  18. JC on February 17, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    I commend your diligence, as well as your remarkable attention to detail. My main issue lies with the motive. It doesn’t tie the case together, and feels thin on its face. Could you expand on the motive? I’ve seen the works of art in question, and the Dahlia murder bears some resemblance, but fails to convince me. I say this objectively, which runs counter to my hope (as the son of a police officer), that a great mystery is solved. Far too many never will be.

    • Steve Hodel on February 17, 2018 at 10:43 pm

      JC: As far as motive is concerned, you really need to read the books to understand how it all links together. All four books are one investigation, one suspect, and twenty-five victims. His overall motive was that of an Urban Terrorist, who wanted to hold cities hostage by committing horrific crimes and then using the newspapers as his marketing tool by mailing taunts. He did this in LA, Chicago, Riverside and the San Francisco Bay area over thirty years. Lot more to it, but only by reading the separate books can one see how it all comes together. Regards, Steve

  19. Joyce Yagoda on February 21, 2018 at 9:24 am

    What are the chances that Heirens will be exonerated? I realize he is deceased!

    • Steve Hodel on February 21, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Joyce: I’d say they are basically, ZERO. Especially now that Bill Heirens is gone. No LE Department is going to attempt an analysis of any potential DNA evidence that could/would prove they “got the wrong man” after he served sixty-four years in prison. Never happen.

  20. jertae on May 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    this is so sad!

  21. Jane Ayers on July 15, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    back in 2004 I read your book and for the first time in my life I actually sent you an email. I have not seen any interview or tv show or read any thing else about the black dahlia. I did not have a computer until I retired in 2014. I know I am dating myself. Well I decided to read your first book again so I could talk about true crime with my brother in law. And here is what I have been wondering. Did you ever find out who the woman was that keeps getting mentioned by the eye witnesses in your book? Different witnesses repeatedly said two men and a women. This person would surely know what was happening since it sounds like she was the lure to get these women out so to speak. I mean ” oh a woman is with them so things must be ok to go with them” type of thing? Who do you think it could have been? Why wouldn’t they kill her?

    • Steve Hodel on July 15, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Jane A: No, never positively identified the woman “with the two men.” She appears in a number of the crimes, but no real description is provided. I do believe she was the same woman that doorknocked the San Diego residence then a week later was seen coming out of a bar with “two men and Elizabeth Short.” Short was ID’d by LAPD officer Meryl McBride on that occasion who personally confirmed it with me fifty-five years later. Who was the woman? We don’t know. Some speculate it could have been Ellen, dad’s maid. A friend of Sexton’s? Doubt we will ever know. Suggest you read BDA II and my other books, Most Evil and Most Evil II. All tie in together and connect. Best Regards, Steve

  22. Thomas Ashbeck on November 13, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Steve – I’ve read the first half of your first Avenger book and will finish it in the near future. I’ve also read the police transcripts (book) of the secret surveillance at the Franklin house. My question is, have you been able to theorize who the woman was heard briefly screaming in those tapes? This is very compelling evidence of an ongoing spree. You’ve done some great work, no question. Here’s hoping that someday DNA or fingerprint evidence will help bolster your hard work. You just cant make this up. Sincerely, Tom in Mesa, Az

  23. Ron on January 29, 2019 at 3:28 am

    Forgive me if I ask a silly question that may be found otherwise in your notations and writings but did you ever think to use that stuff homicede detectives use to show up blood at the Sowden house? Just curious if blood would have shown up enough to suspect a murder there anywhere. It may be to late at this point as its been renovated but Im curious if this technology was applied and was there ever any DNA left behind with the victims that now could surely lead back to the murderer with the technology like DNA tests and Gedmatch . com ( as they ahve done this several times now ) with others ).

    • Steve Hodel on January 31, 2019 at 4:59 pm

      Ron: LAPD’s position is “they don’t have time to look at my investigation as they are too busy with other crimes.” So, despite a cadaver dog “alerting” to human remains at the home and soil samples recovered by a private forensic anthropologist and “testing positive for human remains” LAPD has not taken any action. I doubt luminol testing would indicate anything after 73 years, but LAPD has no interest to perform the tests anyway. Case is way beyond “a reasonable doubt” and four top LAPD cops all confirmed “the case was solved and the killer was Dr. George Hodel”. Suggest you read the books for full details. Regards, Steve

  24. Richard Wagner on February 6, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Steve, was your father a Freemason?

    • Steve Hodel on February 6, 2019 at 6:41 pm

      Richard W: No. To my knowledge, he wasn’t into any organized philosophical, or religious organizations or cults. He was pretty much a “one man operation” for the most part, or when he did have “accomplices” to his crimes he was the Alpha Dog and leader of the pact. Might have been a “soft” connection to the Pasadena group, OTO, Jack Parsons et al. but expect it would have been more of a social type “hello” or with mutual acquaintances. Doubt he would have actually attended any meetings. He was not a follower in any way.

  25. Robyn on April 17, 2019 at 1:05 am


    I am enthralled by the Black Dahlia and your meticulous work in piecing the mystery together. Have read the books and am now listening to the podcast! Could I ask a few questions:
    – was Elizabeth Short really just a high class call girl? (doesn’t mean she deserved what she got but it does mean she would have met a lot of dodgy characters)
    – before and during her time in San Diego, she told people she was scared of someone/something. Was that GHH and/or his accomplices?
    -was it GHH and accomplices who visited her at the house in San Diego?
    -who were the accomplices?
    -GHH also spent time in Japan (where I live). Any murders there during that time?

    Thank you!!

    • Steve Hodel on April 17, 2019 at 1:22 am

      Hi Robyn: Thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the books and podcast. As to your questions.
      1. NO, Elizabeth Short was not a high class or low-class prostitute. That’s hack writers total BS. Never was into prostitution, drugs, and didn’t even drink alcohol.
      2. Yes, she feared for her life after GHH returned unexpectedly from China, began running/hiding and within two months was murdered. Yes, she was hiding out in San Diego.
      3. Yes, I’m convinced it was GHH and probably Fred Sexton and unknown female who went to the house in San Diego, and she refused to answer the door. Likely those were the same three that the following week came of with ES from the bar on the same evening she was murdered, Jan 14th and ES spoke briefly with LAPD officer Meryl McBride and lied to her that “she was going to the bus station to meet her father.”
      4. Don’t know about murders in Japan. Have established murder in Manila in ’67, but other countries? Probable, but I haven’t researched them to date. Best, Steve

  26. David w holland on November 27, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    The cleveland torso and new castle swamp murders are shockingly similar to the dahlia and Philippines murders, even including the staging of bodies outside Elliot ness office. However, GHH would have to have begun committing these crimes in his teens and we know GHH couldn’t have been working the ohio railways at that time. What do you make of the extreme commonalities in these cases?

    • Steve Hodel on December 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      David W H:
      GHH started young, very young, but I don’t see how it could happen logistically. No indication he was there.
      News coverage in papers might have “inspired” him but don’t see him committing those crimes. s.

  27. Jack on May 24, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Steve!

    I’m trying to figure out the closest approximation of the body site for Jeanne French. Best I can find is the corner of Grand View and Indianapolis.

    Do you know if the street pictured in the crime scene photos is what is Grand View today? Do you have any insight as to where I can find additional crime scene photos or contemporary articles to help pinpoint the location?


  28. Caroline Reznicek on March 15, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    Dear Steve,
    I was born April 6, 1939, just 11 days before little Suzanne Degnan was born. Her story has haunted me since I was 6 years old. My mom told me (or used the story) of Suzanne’s horrible death, I am sure to keep me from talking to strangers and being the exuberant and friendly to anyone, little girl that I was. I am sure she was afraid I would inadvertently find myself in a like situation and so she told me about the little girl that they had found cut up in the sewers of Chicago. I never knew her name and wasn’t even sure the story was real, until I caught you on tv a few years ago and it was like a huge awakening to who and what happened. I had never forgotten about that little girl from my past. Her story has never been far from my memories and, I, in turn, passed the warning on to my 5 little ones for the same reason my mom told me. I so appreciate finding out about Suzanne, your father, and your relationship to this case. The other thing was finding out a bit more about Elizabeth Short. The Black Dahlia case had always been a fascination to me since I first read something (I don’t remember what exactly) about her when I was in my 20’s. Always, I kind of thought of those two murders as “alike”. Well, now I’m in my 80’s and just wanted you to know that I have immense admiration for all you have done to uncover the facts about your father, George Hodel, and I can’t imagine how much courage it must have taken for you to undertake such a task. Up until now, I just didn’t realize that you had written books. I want you to know that I intend to buy all of them and catch up on more facts that I am sure will be fascinating reading. Thank you so much, Steve, for putting “the Boogie Man” down for me. I hope you are doing well and staying safe in these days of COVID-19. Caroline

    • Steve Hodel on March 15, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      Caroline R:
      Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated.
      See below graphic for suggested reading order for my books.
      It’s really one ongoing investigation. I Will be starting production on a miniseries adapting my books to television and am finishing writing on “The Early Years”, my father’s suspected crimes from the Twenties and Thirties, so stay tuned. Best, Steve

      Suggested reading order is from Right to Left. Click below link.

  29. Caroline Reznicek on March 19, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    Hi Steve! Thanks for writing back and the suggested reading order for your books. I am already about 3/4 of the way through your first book, BDA. This book is great reading, especially for getting an insight into the relationships and background in your family’s history, but I am sure there is a lot more to come in your following books. BDA is fascinating. I am not sure why you would advise me to read BDA III first and BDA (I) last, but I am sure you have a reason for that. I will finish BDA, as I am almost through it anyway, and then skip to BDA III next, and on to the rest of your list.
    I know the rest of your books will be just as well written and interesting as this first book and I am really certain “The Early Years” will be like a bomb shell of even earlier facts leading up to the attention grabbing events in the Black Dahlia case. I can’t wait to view your new miniseries when you complete it. Do you have any projected time frame for that? I am not a mystical believer, but it sure it must have been some kind of “fate” or “karma” that you went into law enforcement and became a detective and then made all of these discoveries after the death of your father. Just that aspect, of all of this, is amazing. Also, the fact that you are not afraid to expose yourself and your family, and are such a really good writer that you are able to have all your facts laid out so the lay person can follow all the twists and turns. You definitely have my admiration! Going forward, I wish you the best in all of your endeavors. Caroline

    • Steve Hodel on March 19, 2021 at 3:34 pm


      Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.
      Not sure why I suggested reading BDA III first? Must have been a mistake.
      The best reading order is BDA, Most Evil I, BDA II, Most Evil II, BDA III, and In The Mesquite.

      Probably take a year more to make the miniseries if we start in
      April as expected.


  30. Caroline Reznicek on March 19, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    Steve, Thanks for clearing up the order of books to read for me. I will use the order you suggest here. I look forward to the miniseries, hopefully in about a year. I will check back to see how that is going in a few months and, in the meantime, I will be engrossed in your books. Thanks again. Caroline

  31. dayana kouchkhova on November 1, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    I just got to know about the tragedy of Elizabeth Short and I am in shock. It’s obvious that the killer is George Hodel. Why police doesn’t do anything?!

    • Steve Hodel on November 1, 2021 at 4:04 pm

      Dayana K:
      Lost of reasons, but mainly if they acknowledged “Case Solved” then they are agreeing with the 1950 coverup and implicating LAPDs two greatest heroes. So all they can do is say, “We don’t have time to look at Hodel’s investigation” which is what they have been saying for twenty years now.

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