March 20, 2019
Los Angeles, California
Episode 6 “Supposin’ I Did Kill The Black Dahlia” presents an overview of much of the evidence connecting Dr. George Hill Hodel to the infamous 1947 murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short. (1-hour recording)
Episode 6 of 8
Photo Graphic by Steve Lawrence
I’ve followed the post cast and story since it has resurfaced with the TNT special, I feel you have done a remarkable job on the evidence of the case. I was listening to Hollywood & crime about all the murders that occurred before and after Elizabeth Short, but of course her case over shadowed them due to the nature of it. This may be far off but I wondered if she ( miss short) had any connection to the professor’s wife that George fathered a daughter with, if at some way he was getting back at the cruel way he was treated by her and if I remember correctly they were both from Maine or Massachusetts I think, anyway I plan to read your books and rest easy you solved the most unsolvable case in history.
Ella T: Thanks for the kind words. Don’t see any connection to the birth of “Folly” and “Elizabeth Short” to their separate families. They two girls were born about two years apart in the East Coast, but other than that no known links. Glad you are enjoying the podcast. Best, Steve
The podcast series has been riveting! How many more episodes?
I hope maybe with the publicity of the TNT show, and the podcast, maybe there will be some pressure to test the DNA.
Is there any chance to do any investigation at the old house? I recall it being for sale, but if the owners would agree, that would be interesting.
I haven’t heard much of Elizabeth’s family. Are there any of her family that has reached out to you or other Hodel family members?
Thanks for all you do for finding justice for Elizabeth Short.
Laine: Thanks, glad you are enjoying it. Total of 8 episodes, so two more to go. I doubt LAPD will do anything. The last thing they want to do is confirm their two greatest heroes: Chiefs Bill Parker and Thad Brown were complicit in a coverup back in 1950 that allowed a serial killer to remain free and kill again and again. I think the immediate family members, her four sisters have all died. No contact from any family members. Doubt they have read my investigation. Best, Steve
Awesome podcast! Tying it all together. I’m just thinking, the LAPD going ahead with G.H DNA would be admitting to their own corruption. Which they probably prefer not to do as it would make the news. Yet, they should allow Elizabeth Short to finally Rest In Peace. Also, wanted to say how brave Tamar’s kids are to speak out. And to Fauna’s daughters for honoring her! Hope you’re all close and take care of eachother now.
Charlie: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. And, yes, LAPD would have to admit to the coverup by two of our greatest heroes: Chief Bill Parker and Chief of Detectives Thad Brown. I don’t see that happening. Not to mention the blood on their hands, if I am correct re. the later crimes to Riverside, Manila and the San Francisco Bay Area as Zodiac. None of those crimes would have occurred had they done their duty and pursued prosecution. That in itself is a bigtime reason no to confirm my solution. Best, Steve
Well said, Charlie. My sentiments exactly.
I enjoy the pod cast and the real digging into the crime that Steve has done. This is probably a strange question I thought of but I why , after the transcripts were found of the wire taps in the basement, they haven’t tried to dig up the basement? After hearing that there was digging.. I wonder if he buried anything in that area. I haven’t really heard too much about this case, but Steve’s research has me very interested just how he is able to put all these things together to nip the case. I will for sure be buying his books and staying tuned in the pod cast. Thank you for sharing!
Jessica A: Thank you Jessica. A lot more “proof” that something/someone may be buried in the basement has surfaced and is documented on my website blogs (www.stevehodel.com/blog) and in my subsequent books. LAPDs position now is, “We are too busy with current investigations to be able to take a look at Hodel’s investigation.” Best, Steve
Love the podcast!! It must be so awful for you that LAPD won’t follow up your work, especially because if you are correct that G.H. also murdered these other women all of these families deserve closure. Thanks for your work. Becky Ferrell-Anton
Becky F-A: Thank you Becky. Appreciate the kind words. Steve
Just listened to episode 6. Even though I’ve read most of this in your books, hearing it out loud (e.g. the transcripts) makes it that much more compelling. A thought occurred to me while listening to the description of the body/autopsy. Did the green steer manure have symbolic significance? Do you think it was meant to be in keeping with the minotaur / bull theme?
Ted S: No, I think not. Seems to me to be more in line with the Sadistic/humiliation theme. But, with a man who is that insane we can’t really know for sure what he was thinking? skh
I love the podcast, and I plan to read your books very soon. I wish that the LAPD could find time to help with this. I would think they would want to close this case too, and if DNA testing would do it, why not go ahead and get this done? It gives the impression that they don’t care, and/or they don’t think it’s important. Sad, sad. Maybe a third-party consultant could be hired to help LAPD out? Also, if G.H. did murder all those women, has there been any thought to trophies he may have kept? Maybe something that may have made it through the personal items that his wife didn’t destroy per G.H.’s instructions?
Sacha M: Glad you are enjoying the podcast. LAPD has no desire to confirm my findings through DNA. That would mean confirming that their/our two greatest LAPD heroes, Chiefs William H. Parker, and Thad Brown were complicit in a coverup back in 1950 that allowed a serial killer to remain free and kill again. Don’t see the Department doing that at any cost. Its all about attempting to maintain the image even if it occurred seventy years ago. Have had no contact with June his wife/widow. She would never cooperate in allowing his personal items to be examined if she already has not followed his orders to “destroy everything.” Best, Steve
The podbast for this week left me in tears. So much dysfunction. George Hodel, his family being taught to be dysfunctional, the police, and so on. So much evil! I’m so sorry all these things happened to your family, Steve. How brave of you and your nieces to air your story for the public. I’ve always been fascinated by the then unknown story of the Black Dahlia. Thank you for solving this case.
Jean A: Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated. steve
Jean, I agree. I really felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster with this last episode. I was angry at the cops for covering up an doing nothing, shocked and repulsed by what George Hodel did – got away with, brought to tears as I thought about the trauma that so many in Hodel’s circle must have experienced, and literal goosebumps as Steve revealed more of the unbelievably shocking details of George’s crimes. Could not make this up if you tried.
I first learned of Elizabeth Short when I was in high school, by reading James Ellroy’s fiction book. I was so fascinated and heartbroken to find out that she was, in fact, a real person. As a young girl from the Boston area, her story had a huge impact on me. Over the years (I’m now 42) I’ve read and watched everything I could find related to Elizabeth’s case. Your books have been the best, by far, and I’ve found the podcast to be extremely interesting and well done. Thank you for all of the time and effort you’ve put in to bring the true Story of Elizabeth’s death to light. Hard work and time aside, it must not be easy to learn such frightening truths about your father. Many would want to cover up their family member’s involvement in a crime like this, however, your honorable work, at great cost to yourself, has shed a light on a story that has gone untold for too long. So much love and respect to you, Steve, and to your family, for sharing your story and helping Elizabeth to find justice.
Melissa: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.
Again, ‘Root Of Evil’ is just a really well put together podcast. Makes a great overview of a complicated case. So very interesting listening every Wednesday.
I do hope that you in one of the upcoming episodes will also talk a bit about the supposed connection to the Zodiac crimes.
Hi Marius: Thanks. Yes, he’s done an excellent job of editing it and essentializing the important links etc. Two more episodes to go. I don’t believe “Zodiac” crimes are addressed in the podcast. Just focused on the Black Dahlia. Neither do we discuss any of the other dozen “LA Lone Woman Murders”. Hope to present that at another time. Best, Steve
Sticking with the BD on the podcast is the best move. After all, Once someone is convinced that GHH was the BDA, the rest falls in place with m.o. comparison. As you said before, the Zodiac spoke fluent BDA, and vice versa. The Kern letter fits right in as well. Once you can see the personality coming across in the taunting letters, you know who you are dealing with. It becomes more obvious. It’s to the point that I believe if I saw evidence in another seemingly unrelated case during GHH’s prime killing years, that I would recognize his thought prints if he was culprit. I have thought of looking into any cases in Washington D.C during January/Feb. of 46. College Park , MD is where Chinese language training for UNNRA was conducted during the same time period & not far from DC. Knowing he would soon be in China, I would think he couldn’t resist striking at least once in that area.
All the best,
Yes, exactly so. I have become so sensitive to his M.O. Voice and crime signatures that it has become relatively easy for me to identify his crimes from “The Early Years” which, as you know, I’m working on now. Re. East Coast back in 1945 we know GHH was in D.C., and we know that the Degnan’s had just moved from D.C. (where the father had a government job) to Chicago. I’m guessing there might have been a connection to GHH and Suzanne’s father in D.C.? Also, I heard somewhere that they had a Chinese Language School for UNRRA at Univ. of Chicago too? GHH could have met Heirens there? One of the stolen properties’ from his daytime burglaries found in Heiren’s home and recovered was a surgeon’s scalpel “kit.” Very suspicious? Did it belong to GHH? Also found were unidentified men’s clothing, shirts, etc. with a “Hollywood CA” clothing store label. Also suspicious?
Your dad had to have known somebody in Chicago, and had to have had knowledge of Suzanne’s neighborhood, which is 10 miles north of downtown. The Degnan family lived 8 blocks (1 mile in Chicago) north of the famed Edgewater Beach Resort, where your father might have stayed- it was very fashionable., but most out-of-town visitors would have little reason to be traipsing around the neighborhood and its alleys at midnight in the middle of a Chicago winter. I wonder how your dad would have known about the apt building on Winthrop (which is still extant) where the little girl was dismembered, which a block from Suzanne’s home. He would definitely have had to had a local accomplice.
I add a fair amount of new information on the Degnan Lipstick Murder in the newest book, BDA III published in November 2018. Again, he’s taking bits and pieces from famous old crimes (Jack the Ripper and the Lindbergh Kidnap/Murder) and using them as part of his crime signature MO. Majorly twisted.
I am having trouble listening to this episode…Says episode currently unavailable. I have tried through apple podcast and Iheart radio. Can someone help?
Jen: Playing OK for me? Not sure what the problem might be?
Seems to be only happening for me with this Podcast..I never have issues with other podcasts.
Steve – any idea when “the Early Years” will be released?
Also, have you considered creating a George Hodel Wiki? So instead of having to search on the blog, articles / entries would be hyperlinked a la wikipedia. I know I sometimes get lost with all of the names of minor players, locations, art references, etc. and have to hunt through the books or the blog – a wiki could tie everything together in an easily searchable format.
Just a thought!
Not sure. I’ve written three intro chapters, but the main investigations still remain ahead. I keep getting delayed by outside events. (BDA III) etc. Depends on if the BDA documentary/miniseries happens or not. If yes, it will delay me again. If, no, then will throw myself into the book. George Hodel Wiki? Not very techie, so no. There is a GHH Wikipedia page, but I’m sure that’s different. Don’t know how I’d go about doing name links. So many.
This a leap on my part, but I wonder if the scaple was used in the Degnan hemiscopectomy and planted on Heirens., by way of a gift from GHH. We know Heirens couldn’t have done the surgery. The clothing may have been worn by real killer & given to Heiress along with scaple kit. GHH gets rid of scaple & clothes. Even if clothes looked new, they could have been cleaned & re-tagged. Far-fetched likely, but if GHH thought he had been spotted the morning he killed Degnan, he may go the extra length to plant everything on Heirens. Pure spectulation. Makes me think of what he did to the 17 yr old guy in LA, Amand Rhodes (Probably misspelled).
GHH may have spotted Heirens in the Edgewater area, knew he was a burglar, & be-friended him in the guise of setting him up. I’m sitting here on muscle relaxers after a back spasm & my imagination may be getting the better of me.
Dan L: No, Dan, don’t really think so. At most Heiren’s might have taken the property from George, but i doubt it. I know I say “there are no coincidences”, but I think this may just well be “a coincidence.” One of the few. Yes, maybe lay off the anti-spasm medications while writing. Out here in the West we have what’s called a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). I think your’s is a WUI (Writing Under the Influence).
When I was 18, I ruptured my 3rd lumbar disc. I still have back problems all these years later. The weakest part of the spine as we now know. (No saw required).
Interesting possibility with Degnan’s father maybe having some sort of association with GHH in DC. GHH usually didn’t kill children, other than abortions, so maybe there was a revenge issue. Degnan’s mother may have been the real target (rejected his advances). If he couldn’t get to her, he took her child instead. Speculation again.
All the Best
I live in the area in which the Degnan murder occurred, the Edgewater neighborhood on Chicago’s far north lake front, and wish that there was some record of Dr. Hodel’s presence in Chicago at that time, and where he stayed…. and, most of all, how he even knew the Degnan family existed, let alone where they lived, or how he gained access to the ordinary courtyard building on Winthrop Ave close to Thorndale, where the little girl’s body was dismembered.
The Degnans were not wealthy or prominent, and lived at the corner of Thorndale & Kenmore, in a house that has long since been razed and replaced. Now, it could be that Dr. Hodel was lodging at the famous Edgewater Beach resort slightly less than a mile away. That was a very fashionable and famous resort where almost every major celebrity or political figure stayed at least once, and the site of many meetings and conventions. I don’t know whether Suzanne Degnan’s dad or mom were employed there, which is about the only way I can think Hodel would even know about the child. And it’s hard to imagine how Hodel would know the neighborhood a good 8 blocks north, and be wandering around in Chicago alleys in the middle of the night in a Chicago winter.
Perhaps he had a native Chicago collaborator, who worked at the hotel and lived nearby. Hodel was very good at meeting people, making friends, and impersonating people, so it would not surprise me. I would love to know, but the old Edgewater Beach resort was demolished in 1968, and there is no way to recover old hotel registration records from it, or any of the other tourist hotels nearby.
I figured it was a wild shot in the dark. WUI is less dangerous & still legal. I’m in a recliner with my cat.
If I doze off, no big deal.
I have enjoyed the podcast, much more than the mini-series. The mini-series was entertaining, but that was it. The last episode showed GHH having an abortion/operating room in the basement. The basement being much larger and completed than the real Franklin house basement. It was half operating room & half art studio. He wanted to paint her portrait, as opposed to photographing her. Not likely. He made the comment that the surrealists were all cowards. They expressed their freedom in their art, but didn’t have the courage to really live it. That came closer to expressing his motives, than anything else in the series.
Fauna got the better of him. She hit him with something & knocked him off his feet, got ahold of his gun and pointed it at him for about 20 sec., but left without finishing him off. She suspected that her wine was drugged & faked drinking it. She had the nerve to tell him that his surrealist talk was bullshit. That is when all hell broke loose. I hope many of the viewers listen to the podcast. Some will take the mini-series as true, unfortunately. The true story is far more compelling.
It’s amazing how hedonistic people’s lives were back then. It seems, to me, that a lot of people want to white wash life styles from generations past, and blame the 60’s counterculture movement as the downfall in morals and virtues. Enjoying the podcast.
Jenny C: Glad you’re enjoying the podcast. Actually, I think the 60s morals were quite a bit UP from the Roaring Twenties and Thirsty Thirties, but they just hid it better I guess. Best, Steve
Just want to say how fantastic the podcast is. Having read all your published books, I was thrilled when the podcast was released and I have eagerly listened to every episode. You and your extended family deserve commendation for surviving and, in many cases, thriving in the midst of unimaginable trauma. As the parent of two young daughters, I could barely finish a couple of epsidodes due to the detailed and horrific accounts of abuse many of the Hodel family children underwent. I really hope you are able to get the answers you seek w/ regards to Elizabeth Short from the LA PD and finally gain a sense of closure and the ability to enjoy your life to the fullest.
Jen M: Thank you for the kind words for me and our family Jen. Much appreciated. Wishing the very best to you and your family. Steve
Thank you for the transparency that you’ve shown in all of this. Have you considered an online petition putting pressure on LAPD to have those letters released for DNA testing? You definitely have the public on your side plus the ability to bring closure to your family and yourself.
Daniel G: Thanks. If and when that happens I fear the Department will just do a cursory attempt at it and an in-house, “once over and unable to obtain any DNA of the letter” and try to end it there. It really should be conducted by an independent lab like BODE in VA or one of equal respect/reputation. Best, skh.
Steve – all I can say is that I am blown away! The time, energy, and wit that it must take to investigate a case like this is exhausting just to think about. And then to add to it that it sullies your own last name – it takes real bravery to dig deeper knowing you may not like what you find. Your transparency and your heart are truly admirable. The podcast obviously has all kinds of incredibly disturbing material – things that have kept me up at night after listening to each episode – so I can only imagine the effects on you and your psyche. But yet, there’s are a real bright spot in that there are members of the Hodel family tree such as yourself who are good, good people. Not perfect, because none of us are, but truly GOOD people. Stories of healing and recovery. The cycle does not appear to be repeating itself beyond George and Tamar and that’s what we should focus on I think. Agree with other comments that the unwillingness of LAPD to pursue DNA testing is tragic.
Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. Yes, hopefully, “the cycle of abuse is broken” moving forward. As you say, a lot of positive signs in my nieces and nephews, and of course my own two boys who I am super proud of. A lot of strength that seems to reinforce the old adage, “What doesn’t destroy us, makes us stronger.” Trial by fire can ultimately be a good thing. Best of all is the Sunshine disinfectant thanks to the public revelations with shows like Exec Producer/Credence 13, “Root of Evil”. Best, Steve
I appreciate how vocal and frank you have been regarding this matter, considering it is your family being discussed. Your candor amazes me.
In episode 6, the most recent episode released to date, we learned about a woman in GH’s basement being beaten. Do we have any idea/notion who this person could be?
And the German man. Who is he? Have you investigated him at all? If so, what were your findings?
Thanks, Steve. You’re really doing some incredible work here.
Sarah M: Thanks. Never identified the woman screaming in the basement. LAPD never made any follow up as best I can tell? Probably just wound up another “Missing Person” in LA which back then was known as “The Port of Missing Persons.”
Yes, I did identify the “Baron” His full name was “Baron Ernst Harringa” he was a longtime friend/associate of my fathers and came to LA in 1925. Was an art dealer and had a gallery near the Biltmore. If you enter his name in the “search box” on my blog site you will find a lot of details on his life. Best, Steve
You mention that LAPD isn’t interested in making a DNA comparison with your dad’s profile to close the case. Couldn’t it be possible that they are unable to do so because the evidence is gone? If the police case file was gone (aside from the one in the DA’s vault), it seems likely that the case evidence might be also. You’d think this would be a more preferable position for them to take having it beyond their control, instead of deciding not to pursue it.
Mel P: No, this DNA relates to evidence they have in their custody that they put on display a few years ago. Letters they thought that were sent in by a “crank” in 1950. But, the HW is identical to my father’s and I wrote to LAPD and the response was, “Thanks but we are too busy with other unsolved crimes.” They have no desire to take a chance on discrediting their/our two greatest LAPD heroes: Chiefs Bill Parker and Thad Brown. Better to just ignore it.