October 3, 2019
Los Angeles, California
New Investigation-Hard Evidence and Forensics Part II-
George Hodel Album Photo
Elizabeth Short Coroner’s Photo left Ear
Excerpt from Black Dahlia Avenger (Skyhorse 2015 ed.) Pages 492-3
Blowup 6: The Earring
I had found the trace evidence hair follicle on the body from the crime scene photographs.* Was I missing anything? To make sure, I decided to recheck the remaining few photographs taken at the coroner’s office. More scans, this time from foot to head. I moved slowly upward, forced to endure in magnification the many visible horrors of my father’s sadism. I finished with the head. I had seen enough. I reached to turn off my screen, and again, an object caught my eye. Perhaps, it was just a small white mark on the nearly sixty-year-old print? I zoomed in on it. Something was there. Inside her left ear. Too blurred to see. Again, I rescanned with higher resolution.
Another blowup. Now I could make it out. An earring. But not just any earring. It appeared identical to the earring seen worn by the woman in my father’s nude photograph. Small circular pearls. Is this an additional link to his album photo No. 1?
These links help us to close the circle. We have viewed and compared the actual hair follicle, photographically preserved and found on Elizabeth’s nude body, identical to George Hodel’s curly, black hair. * We have seen my father’s sardonic and surreal placement of a watch and an earring, inside the body. The pearl earring appears identical to the one worn by the woman in my father’s photograph Number 1. And we have documentation of law enforcement’s deliberate misstatement and falsification of evidentiary facts, (“no burn marks on the victim’s body”) formally presented to a seated grand jury.
We are left with one final question: the coroner’s report. Locked and never released to the public. What more can it reveal? Does it contain the evidence as shown in the photographs? Do the watch, and the earring, still exist? Or has the full and complete report, along with the physical evidence, also simply “disappeared”?
LAPD’s Chief Bratton has told us his department is off the case. “I just told our Cold Case Squad guys to give it [the Black Dahlia investigation] up.” All the LAPD evidence has disappeared. There is no “ongoing investigation” and there are no more secrets. The shadows are gone and the silence is broken. That should effectively remove any objection to a public viewing of this final document. The coroner’s protocol is not held within any LAPD (city) file but is locked within the purview of the county. Two years ago, District Attorney Steve Cooley opened his county vault and let me and the public read the “Hodel File.” Perhaps he will now take a second step and order the coroner’s vault open as well. We shall see.*
Los Angeles, California
* On July 13, 2005, I conducted an interview with UK television journalist Sam Kiley for a documentary on the Dahlia story, to air in Great Britain in December 2005. During that interview, I was advised by Kiley that he had contacted personnel from the L.A. Coroner’s Office who had agreed to provide him with a copy of the complete protocol. However, a subsequent search for the records revealed that all the files “have disappeared.” Coroner’s officials added that they had no idea how or when the Elizabeth Short file became “lost.”
In September 2019 I asked my friend/author/retired Dallas PD officer Robert Sadler to again see if he could “work his magic” in an attempt to enhance the GHH and Elizabeth Short Coroner’s photos for additional comparison. Here is his graphic and summary:
Below is the graphic (Exhibit 88) originally published in the 2006 BDA HarperCollins edition (and referenced above) showing the “black curly hair follicle” found on Elizabeth Short’s body during the autopsy. This follicle, as can be seen, is consistent with George Hodel’s black curly hair.
1a) hair follicle on Elizabeth Short’s body; 1b) enlarged; 1c) GHH hair from LAPD booking photo for 1949 Incest Arrest.
– I would like to address one further point as relates to the above GHH album book photograph.
Many Naysayers, Dahlia theorists, and critics with their own agendas and “solutions to whodunit” over the past several decades make the following claim: “The photo in George Hodel’s album is not Elizabeth Short, and so everything else that Steve Hodel has presented has to be thrown out and disregarded.”
Obviously that is a ridiculous claim.
The importance of the GHH photograph, if it is Elizabeth Short, only goes to address one point- that being that George Hodel photographed the victim. It irrefutably connects the suspect with the victim, and if the earring evidence is accurate, it would further indicate the photo was likely taken on the very night/morning of her murder, January 15, 1947.
For argument’s sake, let’s set aside the Facial Recognition Software analysis that says it is “95% probable that it is the victim.” Let’s also set aside the above earring evidence that adds additional linkage and assume the photo is not Elizabeth Short , and it is merely some other woman that looks like her.
It matters not since the official LA DA law enforcement reports unequivocally state that “George Hodel was acquainted with and dated Elizabeth Short prior to her murder.” *Add to that the multiple independent statements from both civilian witnesses and LAPD and DA and Sheriff’s command officers that “The case was solved and George Hodel killed her.”
“Let me advise you that we do have information that he did associate with Beth Short and as you know the last place she…”
*For the Record- I do believe, as stated in BDA II (Thoughtprint Press 2014) that:
1. The photograph in my father’s album is Elizabeth Short.
2. It was taken at the Sowden/Franklin House prior to her extended torture and bisection of the body in the early morning hours of January 15, 1947.
3. Elizabeth Short appears drugged and unconscious.
4. That the pearl earring she is wearing at the residence (possibly broken in half?) was inserted in her left ear by George Hodel at the crime scene as part of the “posing” of his surreal masterpiece consistent with his “Murder as a Fine Art” crime signature.