70th Anniversary Black Dahlia Retrospective: Summary of New Evidence 2004-2017 Further Linking Dr. George Hill Hodel as Her Killer


January 15, 2017
Los Angeles, California


New Evidence Timeline (Graphic prepared by, Robert “Dr. Watson” Sadler (Click below to open and enlarge)
Black Dahlia Murder Inv Timeline 1.13.17 [2] merged w sig
Dr. George Hill Hodel and Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short





According to secret DA and police reports now made public, George Hodel and Elizabeth Short were acquainted and dating in the 1940s.  Photos on the right show Dr. Hodel 1949 booking photo for his arrest for incest and child molestation. Booking photo of Elizabeth Short is from her 1943 juvenile arrest for “Minor Possession” in Santa Barbara. (Underage minor, 19, she was present in a bar with some soldiers.)
Today,  is January 15, 2017.  I expect several of our Los Angeles newspapers and others across the nation will make note that it marks the 70th anniversary of the Black Dahlia Murder.
  We will likely hear the usual anniversary reportage, that goes something along these lines:
“Hundreds of suspects were arrested, and fifty or more confessed to the crime, numerous books have been written, movies produced and theories presented, but to this day it remains ‘officially unsolved’ and one of LA’s most mysterious whodunits.”
               LAPD’s 2004 position as voiced by their highest ranking and then active Assistant Chief of Police, James McMurray (then Commander of LAPDs Detective Bureau) after being briefed in person (along with his top brass and senior Robbery/Homicide detectives) by myself and then active Head Deputy DA Steve Kay, gave the following order to his detectives:
“Unless you can find some major holes in Steve Hodel’s investigation, go ahead and clear the Black Dahlia murder investigation. There is enough evidence to show Dr. George Hill Hodel was the killer.”
Chief McMurray’s detectives, aware that he was planning to retire within a year, took no action, and upon his retirement, knowing that they could not defeat the evidence and queried by the press, responded:
“We are too busy currently with unsolved murder cases and are unable to take the time to examine and prove or disprove Hodel’s findings.”
That has been and remains the department’s “official position” for the past eleven years.  Their version of “Don’t Look, Don’t Tell.”
About 90% of my readers agree with then Deputy Chief of Detectives McMurray and Head Deputy DA Steve Kay’s opinions that the “case was solved and Dr. George Hill Hodel did it.”
Let me add a few additional names to that list of those who have publicly and privately stated that Dr. George Hodel killed Elizabeth Short and the “Case Is Solved”.
Stephen Kay, LADA Head Deputy District Attorney (Prosecuted Charles Manson and all remaining Manson family members)
James McMurray, LAPD Assistant Chief and Chief of Detective Bureau.
LAPD Chief of Police, William “Bill” Parker (top cop on the original 1947 investigation)
LAPD Chief of Detectives, “Thad” Brown (senior detective in charge of the original 1947 investigation)
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Commander, Tom Vetter (Also a retired USMC Lt. Coronel.)
LADA Detective Bureau Lt. Frank B. Jemison (DA detective in charge of reinvestigation and obtained bugging confession)
LADA Detective Sergeant Walter Morgan (DA detective and partner of Jemison, conducted original bugging at residence)
Beverly Hills PD Chief of Detectives, Jack Egger  (Later Chief of Security at Warner Brothers Studios. Identified GHH as being man showing him a “Chicago Police badge” with Elizabeth Short at CBS radio shows days before her murder.)
Michael Connelly, former LA Times crime reporter and current bestselling mystery writer.  (His LAPD “Bosch” television miniseries, based on the fictional detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch is now in its 3rd season.)
Gerald Petievich, Bestselling mystery writer, and author of The Sentinel and To Live and Die in LA.
Jon L. Breen, Edgar Award-winning and bestselling mystery writer.
T-Bone Burnett, Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe Award-winning musician-songwriter; Music Director for True Detective miniseries.
David Thomson, Film Critic, bestselling author, New York Times Book Reviewer
Ms. Madi Comfort, actress, top 1947 DA Dahlia witness, part-time lover of Dr. George Hodel.
Ms. Lillian Lenorak, actress. Top 1947 DA Dahlia witness, close acquaintance and trial witness for Dr. George Hodel.

Photo Chronology of New Evidence (2004-2017) Further Linking Dr. George Hill Hodel to the Black Dahlia Murder (As presented in BDA and BDA II)
For those who have not read my follow-up investigations as updated in BDA I & II, here, on the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth Short’s  torture-murder, I present a chronological photo exhibit, highlighting some of the major new evidence links, (2004-2017) further connecting Dr. George Hill Hodel to her murder.  (For complete details as relates to each exhibit, see Black Dahlia Avenger II (Thoughtprint Press 2014) and updated Black Dahlia Avenger (Skyhorse/Arcade 2015) edition.
(SKH Note-For the purposes of this 70th Anniversary blog I will only here address those evidence exhibits that relate directly to the 1947 murder of  Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short. All of the following findings were discovered AFTER publication of my original Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder (Arcade 2003) and presented in updated versions of that book and its sequel, Black Dahlia Avenger II (Thoughtprint Press 2012 and 2014).
Many are unaware of my ongoing investigation post publication of Black Dahlia Avenger (Arcade 2003), the NYT bestseller and MWA nominee for Best Fact Book the published in 2003.
All of the following linkage of Dr. George Hill Hodel to the Black Dahlia Murder was obtained and presented in subsequent books and publication.
While additional connections have been made to other crimes out of state, out of country and to the San Francisco Bay Area Zodiac crimes, that linkage is not presented here. For the purposes of this 70th Anniversary Retrospective only the “New Evidence” connecting him to the murder of “Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short is offered.


Secret DA “George Hodel/Black Dahlia File”  Electronic Bugging Transcripts Discovered






Secret DA Hodel/Black Dahlia Files unlocked after fifty-five years. Law Enforcement names Dr. George Hill Hodel as “prime suspect” and shows LE secretly bugged his private residence for 42 days and obtained confessions to Dahlia murder as well as the 1945 murder of his private secretary, Ruth Spaulding. Additional confessions to “police payoffs, and performing abortions. Over 1000 hours of electronic stakeout resulted in a 146-page police transcript with Dr. Hodel admitting to the two murders and other crimes.
Felony Assault and or Actual Murder Committed on Unidentified Female as Police “Listen In”




DA reports also revealed the probable reason for the cover-up and locking away of their investigation was due to a law enforcement’s tape-recorded (actually it was a wire recording) murder at the Hodel residence on Day 3 of the electronic stakeout. Incredibly, detectives listening in from Hollywood Police Station to the assault-in-progress were only five minutes away and took no action to rescue the unidentified woman, while Hodel and his accomplice (Baron Harringa) continued to beat and assault the victim in the basement of the home. The powers that be immediately realized that this gross negligence and inaction by LE must never become public. They were aided in their decision by the fact that Dr. Hodel– just six weeks after this assault and probable murder, and about to be arrested by the DA’s investigators--fled the country.  These Hodel/Black Dahlia Files and tapes were locked away in the vault where they remained hidden for the next fifty-five years.
Police Reports Show Dr. Hodel Made $1000+ Cash Payoff to Abortionist/Accomplice Charles Smith





DA Secret Files reveal Dr. Hodel made a large cash payment to known abortionist/friend Charles Smith just one week after he was acquitted of the incest charges.  This witness, Mildred Bray Colby, was the girlfriend of Smith and waited out front of the Hodel residence in his car while Smith received a cash payment, returned and counted the money in the car in her presence.
Assault, Drugging and Staged Suicide of Witness Lillian Lenorak- Officer Unkefer Letter










Above letter found in the DA secret files. Santa Barbara policewoman, Mary Unkefer wrote this letter to LADA Lt. Sullivan (partner to Lt. Jemison) describing an incident in late January 1950, in which she was called to the home of Dr. George Hill Hodel to pick up and transport a witness/acquaintance of his, Lillian Lenorak to Santa Barbara.  The Letter went on to reveal  Ms. Lenorak in the presence of her three-year-old son, John had been assaulted and knocked to the ground. Lenorak advised she had been drugged, and while unconscious Dr. Hodel made superficial cuts to both her wrists, bandaged them up and informed officer Unkefer that Lenorak had “attempted suicide.” Lenorak who had been a “defense witness” for Hodel, was now admitting she had  perjured herself at his trial and had informed the doctor she was going to the police to “tell the truth.”  The Unkefer Letter revealed that  Lenorak was “set up” by Dr. Hodel to appear mentally unstable.  His intention was to discredit Lenorak so that her claim of witnessing his daughter’s abortion would not be believed. (See Unkefer letter for full details and threats made against Lenorak and her son, John should she “inform” on George Hodel.) Incredibly, this officer was the same Santa Barbara policewoman that arrested Elizabeth Short in 1943 for being present as a minor inside a bar. Short stayed with officer Unkefer, at her home, for a few days then was sent home to Massachusetts. Short later wrote Unkefer a letter “thanking her for rescuing her from a dangerous situation.”
 “A Doctor Did It”  CBS Expert Opines Only a Skilled Surgeon Could Have Performed Dahlia Bisection







CBS, in their 2006 television episode, “Black Dahlia Confidential”, hired their own independent expert to examine the 1947 Elizabeth Short bisection photographs and provide an opinion. Dr. Mark Wallack, Chief of Surgery at St. Vincent Hospital in New York stated, “You don’t get this kind of training where you can invade a human body unless you’ve had some sort of medical training. Yes, in my opinion, a doctor did it.” George Hodel had performed surgical operations for years prior to his position as head of L.A. County V.D. Control Officer. Above is a scan from George Hodel’s employment records showing he was “Camp Surgeon in the CCC in New Mexico in 1936-1937.” Over the past decade no less than five separate board certified surgeons have examined the photographs and all agree, the bisection, a hemicorpectomy, had to have been performed by a skilled surgeon.
Myth of Elizabeth Short’s “Missing Week”








The DA Files added new information and  several new witnesses to the list confirming the fact that there was no “Missing Week.” My investigation showed Elizabeth Short was seen by twelve (12) reliable witnesses, separately, on each day of the week of January 9-15, 1947. Six (6) of those witnesses knew Elizabeth personally and could not have been mistaken.  The LAPD Police Bulletin was the source which created the myth. Rather than claiming she was missing, the bulletin was simply asking for information from citizen witnesses who may have seen her during that time period (Jan 9-15, 1947) to please contact LAPD. Many did, and their statements were reported in the newspapers of that day.
Note the above wording on the LAPD Bulletin Heading: “WANTED INFORMATION ON ELIZABETH SHORT Between Dates January 9 and 15, 1947.”
Jane Doe No.1  Photo in George Hodel Photo Album Publicly Eliminated on CNN News


In September 2006, I appeared on CNN News, Anderson Cooper 360 and along with presenting updated information made public that I had identified, interviewed and eliminated one of the two Jane Doe photographs (the two women photographed by George Hodel with their eyes closed) in my father’s photo album. Jane Doe No.1 (album photo seen above on left)  was not Elizabeth Short, but rather, Marya Marco, an actress/friend of my father’s. In an exclusive interview, Marya provided me with information that corroborated Tamar’s allegations of sexual misconduct by our father. (See Marya Marco chapter in BDA II for full details.) SKH Note- Naysayers to my investigation frequently tell the public “Oh, the photo was eliminated and it was proven she was not Elizabeth Short.” What they don’t do is name their source on that, which is me. To this day, I am the only individual that has ever spoken to Marya Marco, on the subject, hence I am the sole source of the elimination of the album  photo on the left.
Surrealist Bill Copley “It is Midnight Dr. _____.” — A 1961 Homage to Dr. George Hodel




Above) Copley/Man Ray letters made into objects in their joint 1948 Hollywood publication “Alphabet for Adults.”
Was this earlier artwork Copley’s inspiration to conceal the letters HODEL as surgical tools in his “It is Midnight Dr. ___”?
William Copley, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp were the closest of friends. All three were surrealists and Man Ray and Copley worked and lived in Hollywood from 1940 to 1950. In addition, Man Ray was Dr. Hodel’s personal family photographer and a regular party-goer and visitor to the Hodel Sowden/Franklin House. In their book, “Alphabet for Adults”, published in Hollywood in 1948, Copley and Man Ray included a drawing of the interior courtyard of the Hodel residence, with a man and a woman facing each other representing the letter Q for “quarrel.”  Included in the “Q for quarrel” drawing was a graphic representation of Man Ray’s sculpture, “l’Occuliste” which Man Ray gifted to George Hodel later that same year.  Fourteen years after the Black Dahlia murder, Copley created this painting, “It’s Midnight Dr. ___, along with the surgical tools positioned to secretly name the doctor (HODEL). This was his creative wink and nod acknowledging that he knew the name of her killer. Both of his close surrealist friends, Man Ray and Duchamp would likewise create their own separate artworks in 1969, also revealing their knowledge of “whodunit” as well as paying personal homage to their mutual friend, Dr. George Hill Hodel. (See BDA II for details. The actual “Alphabet for Adults” linkage was not found until 2014. The credit for this amazing discovery goes to UK Detective Chief Inspector Susan Wilshire and is reported in detail in Most Evil II (Rare Bird Books 2014)
The “Cement Bags”: Hard Physical Evidence Connecting Hodel Home to Dahlia Crime Scene

In October 2008, I learned that Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. (Lloyd Wright) had a personal file of papers at UCLA’s Special Collections Library. In examining those files, I discovered a separate file labeled  “Hodel Papers”.  That led to one of the most important findings of my entire investigation.  Contained within those papers were original receipts for 50lb cement sacks used to conduct repair work at the Hodel house dated and billed just days (Jan 8-10, 1947) before identical 50lb bags cement bags were used to transport the bisected body of Elizabeth Short to the vacant lot. (LAPD confirmed these bags, seen in the original crime scene photos next to the body, were in fact used.) Additionally, a bag of “Bandini Fertilite Steer Manure” was also used to transport the body parts and is likely the source of the “feces and green granular substance”  reported by the autopsy surgeon as being found inside the victim’s stomach. This would have been force fed to her by her killer prior to her death. (See “Scene of the Crime” chapter in BDA II for complete details.)
The Huston Letters-  Dorothy Huston Hodel to Ex-husband John Huston (1948-1957)

In 2008 I discovered fourteen (14) original letters from my mother, Dorothy Huston Hodel, written to her former husband, director John Huston. Most were typewritten. They were the originals on file in the Huston Papers at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, Margaret Herrick Library, in Beverly Hills. Most of her letters were written in desperation and fear. (“Back at George’s again after two weeks away. …acutely dangerous for the children to be here. …George is a growing threat of no control and physical violence…)  (See The Huston Letters chapter in BDA for all fourteen letters reproduced in their entirety.)
Above 1950 Telegram also found in the library was sent from Dorothy to John Huston at MGM reads:


 George Parkington -The Unpublished Madi Comfort Manuscripts-
“There was no doubt.
We all knew that he [Dr. George Hodel] had done it.” [Black Dahlia Murder]
Madi Comfort, June 2003











Above: Madi Comfort actress in film noir, “Kiss Me Deadly” and section of Secret DA Files showing later penciled in attempt by unknown person (detective?) to alter her original statement made to Lt. Jemison confirming George and Elizabeth Short were acquainted. In her original 1950 interview with detectives,  Madi withheld her knowledge that she and others “had no doubt that George Hodel had murdered Elizabeth Short” which she would not reveal for another fifty-three years.






George Parkington, Madi’s boyfriend 2003     Young Madi Comfort with Comedian Bob Hope
Ms. Madi Comfort was a 1950 prime DA witness in the Black Dahlia investigation and identified by detectives as being the nude woman with George Hodel in personal photographs obtained during their investigation. Interviewed back then, Madi confirmed that George Hodel knew Elizabeth Short prior to her murder, but denied any further knowledge.
In 2010, Madi’s former boyfriend, George Parkington contacted and met and shared her “unpublished manuscripts” with me which revealed in the 1940s, she had been a lover of both George and Dorothy Hodel. Further, that she and many other of her mutual friends knew that George Hodel had killed Elizabeth Short, but she kept it a secret for the next fifty-five years until learning of the publication of my book, Black Dahlia Avenger in May 2003. Madi then made the “disclosure” to her boyfriend, George Parkington, and just weeks later, in  June 2003 she had an unexpected heart attack and died. (See BDA II Chapter 1, “Madi Comfort: Duke Ellington’s Original “Satin Doll” for excerpts from her manuscript and complete details.)


Steve Lamb/Surrealist photographer Edmund Teske 1978 Conversation
“It [Sowden/Hodel House] is an evil place! Artist’s, Philosophers, accountants and politicians we all played and paid there. Women were tortured for sport there. Murders happened there. It’s an E V I L place.”
(In 1978 conversation with architect Steve Lamb who was photographing the exterior of the residence.)






Photos left and center taken by renowned LA surreal photographer, Edmund Teske inside the courtyard of our Frankin House circa 1947.  Photo right shows Teske  (arrow) as an actor with Kirk Douglas in a scene from the 1956 “Lust for Life” the biopic on the life of the artist, Vincent Van Gogh.
Edmund Teske was a personal friend of both Man Ray and George Hodel and a regular visitor to the Franklin Hodel residence. He lived just a mile away (in Studio B at the Hollyhock residence) and is famous for his many photographs of Doors singer/musician Jim Morrison. Teske’s photographs currently are displayed in top art museums throughout the world including our own Los Angeles Getty Museum. (See BDA II Chapter 10, “Hollywood Roomers” for the complete narrative.)


 Cadaver Dog Buster – Hodel/Sowden House Soil Samples 
“These markers (soil samples) were human specific and indicated that human remains were, or are, present in the vicinity of where the soil was collected.”  [Hodel Residence, 5121 Franklin Ave.]
                                                                                                     Dr. Arpad Vass, Research Scientist

















In 2012 the very first ever forensic examination of the Black Dahlia murder location was conducted. (In 1950, evidence that came forth from the Hodel Black Dahlia Tapes revealed that DA detectives suspected bodies might be buried in the basement of Dr. Hodel’s residence, but no physical examination or follow-up was ever conducted.) In 2012 and 2013 headline news was made after “Buster” a court certified cadaver dog “alerted” to the scent of human remains both in the basement of the Hodel house and in the back rear alley. Soil samples were recovered and in 2013 their analysis by Forensic Anthropologist, Dr. Arpad Vass (the same expert witness used by the prosecution in the Casey Anthony murder trial)  established that the collected soil from the home was “positive and specific for human remains.” Results presented to the LAPD who again advised they were “too busy with current investigations to conduct any follow-up.” See BDA II Chapter 24, “Odor Mortis: The Smell of Death.”
Nightly news television video of Buster’s search of Hodel/Sowden house.
 Biometrics:  Facial Recognition Analysis of George Hodel Photo No. 2



BioID CTO, Dr. Robert Frischholz
“International Scientist of the Year” (2001)


Above: Facial comparisons of known photos of Elizabeth Short and Jean Spangler compared to George Hodel album photo No. 2.
One of the world’s leading biometric laboratories, BioID is located in, Nurenberg, Germany.  Their chief technology officer is Dr. Robert Frischholz, who in 2001. was named “International Scientist of the Year.” After discussing my ongoing investigation with him, Dr. Frischholz agreed to conduct facial recognition analysis of known photographs of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short and of a suspected second victim, actress Jean Spanger, and compare them to the Jane Doe No. 2 photo in my father’s album.  The results? Spangler comparison showed low numbers and she was basically eliminated. However, the comparison of Elizabeth Short showed remarkably high findings. The analysis showed a “90-95% probability that the George Hodel album photo No.2 was Elizabeth Short.” However, a 99.9% probability is required to determine a “positive match.” Still, the comparison results were extremely high and it adds great circumstantial weight to the probability that the Hodel photo, is in fact, the victim, Elizabeth Short. Again, this is a moot point, since we now know from DA police files that Elizabeth Short knew and dated George Hodel prior to her murder.(See BDA II Chapter 27, “Biometrics: New Photo Forensics” for complete details.)
Man Ray’s L’Equivoque (1943) – Another ‘Murder as a Fine Art’ Link







Elizabeth Short was the probable 1943 model for Man Ray painting “L’Equivoque”









In July 2013, one of my BDA readers and armchair detective Dan Lackey forwarded me a copy of Man Ray’s 1943 painting, L’Equivoque, which was completely new to me. Info revealed that not only was Elizabeth Short the probable model for his painting but that my father had very likely used the strange geometrical object that Man Ray had painted on her face as his “inspiration” for the crisscross scalpel markings carved into her right hip just four years later. (See BDA II Chapter 26, “Murder as a Fine Art: The Hodel/Man Ray Nexus” for full linkage.)
“Murder as a Fine Art” Man Ray Nexus

LAPD Police Museum- Black Dahlia Exhibit & New DNA Evidence
“…I must respectfully decline your request [for a two-hour meeting] …Given the fiscal restraints 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 the Robbery-Homicide Division Detectives should expend their valuable skills on more contemporary investigations.”
Charlie Beck
Chief of Police

Above items (actual witness and or crank letters mailed to LAPD three years following the murder) were discovered and put on display in an LAPD Police Historical Society Museum “Black Dahlia” exhibit that opened to the public in March 2012. I viewed the material and to my surprise noted that at least one or possibly two of the letters (including stamped envelopes) were probably written by my father and very possibly could contain DNA. (All original 1947 Black Dahlia mailings had gone missing from police files.) In a letter to LAPD directed to Chief Beck and Robbery Homicide Division, I requested a two-hour meeting with detectives, that I might present the how and why these lost letters related to the original crime and could very possibly possess DNA that would link the mailing to George Hodel.   Above quotation is an excerpted response (rejection to meet for two hours) from Chief Beck mailed to me six months later. (See BDA II Chapter 23, “LAPD Historical Society: The New Evidence” for complete details.)


George Hodel’s Crime Signature Posing Bodies on Streets as Clue to his Crime -This is the 4th Street Name (New Discovery) Further Linking George Hodel to the Dahlia Murder 








Elizabeth Short Funeral Mountain View Cemetery       Jeanne French Body Posed off Mountain View Ave



 Elizabeth Short’s funeral was held in Oakland, California at Mountain View Cemetery on January 26, 1947. Just two weeks later George Hodel  committed the Jeanne French “Red Lipstick Murder” and posed her body off a street in Los Angeles named, “Mountain View Ave.” This was his fourth “street clue”. Victim Suzanne Degan posed off “Hollywood St”; victim Elizabeth Short posed off “Degnan Ave”; victim Jeanne French off “Mountain View Ave” and in his Manila, Philippines murder, victim Lucila Lalu’s body posed off “Zodiac St.”
   Elizabeth Short                         Jeanne French                Suzanne Degnan                               Lucila Lalu




   (Degnan St)       (Mountain View Ave)   (Hollywood St)                (Zodiac St)


1969 Man Ray Minotaur Lithograph “Les Invendables” Linked as Homage to George Hodel









Man Ray is recognizing and paying homage to both of his own earlier works which George Hodel included as crime signatures in his macabre “Murder as a Fine Art”  posing and cutting of Elizabeth Short’s body. 
The three amigos surrealists were: Man Ray, William Copley,  and Marcel Duchamp. In my previous investigations I was able to discover and document that in 1961 Copley created his painting, “It is Midnight Dr. ___” as an after the fact homage to his friend, George Hodel. Then Marcel Duchamp followed with his twenty-year (1947-1967) secret homage, Etant Donnes, which he forbade being made public until his death. (Duchamp died in 1968)  But, that was only two out of three? Why no Man Ray homage to his patron/friend?  Well, he had created it, I just hadn’t discovered it until just a few weeks ago. Man Ray’s homage to his longtime friend George Hodel was his “Les Invendables” (The Unsaleable) and it was a wink and nod to both of Man Ray’s former works: The Minotaur photograph and L’Equivoque, in which we now believe that Elizabeth Short was the actual living model, as discussed in a previous summary. (See link below for full details.) This discovery as well as the preceding “Mountain View” street connection are both too new for book publication and are revealed here for the first time as blog posts.


Click Here for full details on newly discovered Man Ray Minotaur Homage to Hodel
To summarize: All of the exhibits and evidence links presented above are NEW and added after my original book Black Dahlia Avenger was published in 2003. I have not here included any of the pre-2003 evidence originally presented in that book, which in then [2003] active Head Deputy DA Steve Kay’s legal opinion was enough to clear the case and for him to file two felony counts of murder. Count 1 charging Dr. George Hill Hodel for the murder of Elizabeth  Short (Black Dahlia). Count 2 charging him with the murder of Jeanne French (Red Lipstick Murder).
To those readers not familiar with my ongoing updates and book sequels that may have found the original 2003 evidence somehow lacking or insufficient as proof “beyond a reasonable doubt”, on this 70th Anniversary of the murder, I offer this “New Evidence” for your added consideration.

Here is a link to a 70th Anniversary Interview I did a few days ago with journalist/mystery writer Michael Fleeman

Steve Hodel
15 January 2017
12:01 a.m.















  1. Luigi Warren on January 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Steve: I am curious if you think the Lenorak/Unkefer/Short nexus is simply a coincidence. Do you know how your father came to be acquainted with Lillian Lenorak? Is it possible GHH first met ES soon after her arrival in California? I understand that before ES moved to Santa Barbara she stayed with her formerly-estranged father in Vallejo for a few weeks. Of course Vallejo plays a big role in the Zodiac case, and many people have assumed that because the Zodiac seemed to be very familiar with Vallejo, including out-of-the-way, “lover’s lane”-type locations, that he must have been a local. I also note that there was a major naval hospital in Vallejo back in 1943. Any chance GHH had business up there and that’s where they first became involved? -LW

    • Steve Hodel on January 15, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      LW: I think the GHH/Lillian Lenorak connection originally came from/through Lillian’s connection with fellow dancer, Karoun Tootikian, who was the female that GHH phones and rode up with Unkefer in the car with Lillian. See FAQ 39.2 http://stevehodeloldsite.staging.authorbyteshosting.com/wp-content/themes/hodel-s/faq/FAQ39.pdf

      The Short/Hodel/Man Ray connection we now know dates back to 1943 from the probability that she posed for Man Ray’s “L’Equivoque”. Also, we have GHH sending the “Promise is a promise” telegram from D.C. to her in Florida in ’44.

      Lillian’s estranged mother, a wealthy and connected socialite in Santa Barbara arranged for Unkefer to pick up her daughter from the Franklin House, so must have been some prior knowledge of some kind? Maybe just a phone call? Unkefer initially wanted to release Lillian to her mother’s care, but she refused, which moved her to Plan B, Camarillo State Hospital admission for being “distraught.”

      Absent any hard information, I have to reluctantly lean towards “coincidence” on the fact that Unkefer was involved in both of their “rescues.” Probably just happened to be the right georgraphics.

      Naturally, GHH would be highly familiar with Vallejo from his four years pre-med at UC Berkeley, and another four in the Bay Area for his MD at UCSF.


      I believe Man Ray met his future wife, Juliet Browner, age 30, in Hollywood, also in 1943. She too had been trained in Modern Dancr by Martha Graham and there well could have been a connection with her to both Lillian and Karoun Tottikian and the Ruth St. Denis studio? Karoun later became head of Ruth St. Denis Dance Studio. Wish I had had a chance to meet interview her before her passing. I’m sure she must have know A LOT.

  2. Luigi Warren on January 15, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Steve: I guess we’ll have to chalk the Unkefer connection up to “synchronicity,” like the newpapers running with the name “Black Dahlia.” As a devotee of Baudelaire, I imagine your father was quite pleased about that. It might even have reinforced his belief that life is but “a dream within a dream.” -LW

  3. Teresa M on January 21, 2017 at 1:51 am

    Madi Comfort was in the 1950 movie “Kiss me Deadly”. In that movie Cloris Leachman is in the opening scene running with just a coat on…later in the movie she is being tortured by some men and is screaming (movie still available on youtube)
    Is there any connection to Snowden House/GHH and gang ? writer of the script, director

    • Steve Hodel on January 21, 2017 at 2:18 am

      Teresa M: Hi Teresa. Actually, “Kiss Me Deadly” came out in 1955, so five years after my father fled the country. No known connections to any of the cast to my father or the Sowden House. Madi Comfort as a DA witness was five years earlier, so I don’t see any linkage of the film or actors or writers to GHH or the Dahlia investigation. Best, Steve

  4. Jersey on February 12, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Recently I have been reading up on surprising comments made by Elizabeth Short’s roommates and acquaintances –
    She seems to have been a flighty woman with no plan whatever, uninterested in finding employment, a drifter who flitted from man to man, had a date with a different man every night of the week, never told her roommates who her boyfriends were, had a dozen different residences in 6 months, stayed with people who felt sorry for her and who finally had to ask her to leave because of her ‘slovenly’ ways, was observed wearing makeup ‘an inch thick’, and seen in all the local pubs and hotels continually, yet never bothered signing up with a modeling agency or acting agent, while telling everyone she wanted to get into movies. I realize she was young, but one has to wonder if she thought a movie producer was going to show up on the doorstep one day!
    What a sad life for a beautiful young woman, if she had only had more motivation and ambition she might have avoided that dreadful fate.
    Any idea how she met Dr. George Hodel??

    • Steve Hodel on February 12, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Jersey: Some of the descriptions you have summarized are accurate, though I would argue with whoever described her as “slovenly” as most accounts from those that knew her say she was always well-dressed well groomed. (Exceptions being during the last week where she appeared drugged and disheveled.) I spend an entire chapter rehabilitating her character assassinations by “hack writers” over the decades. She didn’t drink, or use drugs and was not a prostitute. Sad story, yes. In truth, she did have emotional problems as evidenced in her letters to former boyfriends which indicated she was a lost, lonely young woman, looking for “Lieutenant Right” during the wartime years, and never found him.

      Not sure how she met my father, but most likely either through him treating her for a “Bartholin gland infection” at his First Street Clinic, and or through Man Ray who it appears she posed for as a model and he painted her picture in 1943. The intro could have also been made by George Hodel to Man Ray. Regards, Steve

      • Jersey on February 12, 2017 at 9:26 pm

        I didn’t mean to assassinate her character – Sorry!
        That’s why I stated “surprising comments” made by those
        who apparently knew her, perhaps just out of jealousy or annoyance
        at her not having the rent money.

        • Steve Hodel on February 12, 2017 at 9:30 pm

          Jersey: Understood. I wasn’t referring to YOU. I was referring to the hack writers through the years that did. THEY flat out lied about her character and some even claimed she was providing oral sex in back alleys etc. Gets my blood up, but no, was not referring to you.

  5. Bumpkin on February 20, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I am new to the case. What was the connection between the vacant lot where her body was found and Dr Hodel?

    • Steve Hodel on February 20, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Bumpkin: Too much to try and explain here. Suggest you either read BDA and BDA II or check out my blogs at my website. http://www.stevehodel.com/blog. (If you enter “Degnan” in the search box, it should direct you to the related blogs on that subject.) The short answer is that he posed the body in the vacant lot thinking he was on “Degnan St.” The street name changes mid-block from Degnan to Norton. Degnan was the name of one of his victims in Chicago that occurred the year prior. He would go on to pose other victims bodies at street names related to his crimes. Regards, steve

  6. Madee Renstrom on July 4, 2017 at 4:19 am

    When did you first start investigating your dad to in this case, and why did your attention shift to him being the murderer??

    • Steve Hodel on July 4, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Madee R: The case “came to me” long after my retirement from LAPD Homicide. I detail the specifics in Black Dahlia Avenger. My father died in May, 1999 at age 91. I flew to San Francisco to assist his widow, June in taking care of all the requirements involved in a parent’s passing. Several days after his death she brought me a small personal photo album containing many family photos of my father’s loved ones. Myself, my brothers, our mother and many Man Ray photographs. (He was our family photographer.) Also, included was a photo of a semi-nude young woman. I asked June, “Who is this?” She replied, ” Don’t know. Someone your father knew a long time ago.” “Black Dahlia” came to my mind. Not sure why exactly, other than the photo strongly resembled a photo of the victim as shown in the television film, “Who is the Black Dahlia” which I had seen two decades prior. (May have been the source?) In the following days and weeks, a half dozen additional catalysts would present themselves including a conversation with my half sister who said, “You know our father was a suspect in the Black Dahlia murder. The police suspected he killed her back then and told me so when I was placed in protective custody on the incest trial.” Within a few weeks I was determined to show our father had nothing to do with the crime and was sure I would be able to establish and remove any suspicions. I began following the evidence and after two years, it took me in the exact opposite direction, and the secret DA Files, locked in a vault and discovered in 2003, established he was the prime suspect all along. Four books later, there is no longer any doubt he killed Elizabeth Short and committed a dozen other “Lone Woman Murders” in the 1940s. Regards, Steve Hodel

  7. Lea Nichols on February 4, 2019 at 2:13 am

    I’ve read Avenger and always interested in more evidence and excited for the next book. Now, in 2019, with all the new tech catching killers with DNA evidence (such as the Golden State killer) it should be proven to finally confirm the killer to set Elizabeth Short’s (Black Dahlia) family’s mind at ease and find peace. Tracing evidence found in your father’s old property of human remains with cooperation with a member of Short’s family’s DNA should end the search for good.

    • Steve Hodel on February 4, 2019 at 2:28 am

      Lea Nichols: Thank you for your comments. I have my father’s full DNA profile. Obtaining Elizabeth Short’s DNA will not help us with what is currently known to be in evidence. We need to have that evidence checked for DNA to see if it matches my father’s. (Letters, stamps, etc.) LAPD is not cooperating with processing potential evidence, but we may be able to obtain DNA from other law enforcement jurisdictions on other crimes. Best, Steve

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