Film Daily Black Dahlia Article “One of the Saddest LA Stories Ever?”: A Few Fact Checks

April 24, 2020
Los Angeles, California

The following article was just posted on the Film Daily website. I responded to the author, Ms. Brynley Louise at the site, with a rather lengthy “comment” fact-checking her piece, but sometimes the comments take a long time to publish and or get “lost in the ether.” I expect it will post there, but just in case, I want my readers to have my corrections to her piece.  I suggest you read her article and then check out my corrections below.

Stay SAFE wear a MASK.


“Black Dahlia Elizabeth Short: One of the Saddest LA Stories Ever?”

My “comments/response” to the reportage here:

Hi Brynley Louise.
Overall mostly correct info, but, do need to provide some factual corrections on this piece some are historical myths and some directly relate to the information you provided readers. So here goes:
1) “The so-called, “Missing Week” has always been a “myth” created by hack writers and “theorists.” LAPD put out a heavily circulated “Police Bulletin” requesting information on anyone who has seen the victim during the week of Jan 9-15, 1947. Fourteen witnesses came forward giving statements of having seen her every day of that week. Seven of the fourteen knew her personally, and could not have been mistaken.
2)My years of service were from 1963-1986. I never admitted “I believed my father was the killer. I and no one else ever knew he was even “a suspect.” All those records were hidden in a police vault until after my book, Black Dahlia Avenger came out in 2003. Only then did the DA and current LAPD discover he was “the prime suspect.” I was retired thirteen years and only at my father’s death in 1999 did I receive information that he was a suspect, along with the photo of the woman seen in the album. At that point, I began a three-year investigation and was confident my father had no connection to the crime and I would be able to prove and exonerate him of any suspicions.
3) The statement, “nobody knows for sure why the police seemed reluctant to investigate him more.” Actually, we know the WHY that the LAPD and the DA’s Office stopped the investigation. It was revealed in the 2003 secret DA Electronic Tape transcripts. The reason was because Dr. Hodel, about to be arrested by the DA investigators, fled the country while they were staked out at his/our home in their sixth week of surveillance. He was “in the wind” and earlier on the stakeout they listened while a woman was savagely beaten and probably murdered in the basement of the home. The two officers took no action. Made no rescue. When the powers that be learned this and that Dr. Hodel was gone from the country, they decided to lock it all away in the vault, and come back to it after they “cleaned up Dodge, and got rid of the current 1940s corruption.” Of course, they never did return to it as Dr. Hodel remained out of the country and did not return until they were all retired or dead. He returned in 1990. Further, in the decades following the Black Dahlia murder, four of LAPDs top brass involved in the original investigation acknowledge separately that, “We solved the case and it was a Dr. living on Franklin Ave in Hollywood.” From the DA secret Hodel/Black Dahlia File we know that doctor was Dr. George Hodel.
Detective III Steve Hodel 11394 LAPD Hollywood Homicide Division (ret.)
April 24, 2020

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  1. Wendy Capirci on April 25, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Did your father have any sort of trauma in his childhood? Did you know your paternal grandparents? In a podcast you mentioned Mr. Sexton may have been a participant. Do you think your father had any “help” in the Chicago murders, specially from Mr. Sexton? Do you know why your father was in the a Chicago area in 1946? Thank you! I admire your dedication to uncovering the truth, warts and all.

    • Steve Hodel on April 25, 2020 at 3:36 pm

      Wendy C: Yes, I go into all of your questions in my books and present the many “triggers” as I see them that impacted him psychologically. Quick answers to your questions: Childhood trauma, super control by his mother as a child and probable history of victim of sexual abuse by a family member or close friend of the family? Knew my paternal grandfather slightly, grandmother died prior to my birth. Yes, I think Sexton was involved in the Chicago Lipstick murders and others as an accomplice to GHH. Father may have been attending Univ of Chicago trying to learn Chinese before going to China assignment to UNRRA in Feb 1946.

  2. Joyce Payton on May 12, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Re-reading your BD Avenger II book (You hooked me again! LOL) in the Epilogue you say “I anticipate Book IV – George Hill Hodel – The Early Years will complete my criminal investigations into the life and crimes of my father …” PLEASE tell me that you are working on that book and will release it. I find this the most interesting part of all. I have just today ordered BDA III and Most Evil II so I have those pieces of the puzzle to look forward to. I find your father’s life so interesting and the group of people he surrounded himself with are also fascinating to read about. Surprised at the sometimes quite graphic pictures on the internet of Man Ray and I’ve read books on John Huston.

    One thing that caught my attention this time through the book was on page 458 the words like a crossword puzzle “PARADICE SLAVES” which was part of the clue of his identity he was giving. It reminded me of the flyer George Hodel had made when he was selling the Franklin House on page 270. He said “FOR SALE : SHANGRI – LA” which I believe means “a remote beautiful imaginary place where life approaches perfection : utopia” or perhaps “Paradise” ? Where he and his friends were slaves to their pleasures and desires? Just a thought.

    • Steve Hodel on May 12, 2020 at 10:04 pm

      Joyce P: Yes, will write “The Early Years” but on hold for now as I’m trying to put the miniseries together for a television series. Working with some very top people to try and make that happen?
      Yes, the Shangri LA was a play on the word he of course became a top “marketing professional” after fleeing the company and was top dog throughout Asia with offices in sixteen countries. Words were always “a game” for him and as you will see will become his undoing in Most Evil II. Best, Steve

      • Kimberly on June 10, 2020 at 11:08 am

        Steve, so glad to hear that a mini series is in the works. I remember asking you 10+ years ago about making a movie or mini series and you said you hoped to make it happen. Now all these years later you have even more evidence to include!. Will you have control over the content to make sure they don’t misrepresent the facts? Also, the previous time we conversed about making a movie you said you had Johnny Depp in mind or that Johnny Depp was interested in playing you father. (If I recall correctly.) Who would you cast now? I always thought the actress Jennifer Connelly would make a great Elizabeth Short if going by looks. Anyway, I hope can make the movie you want without Hollywood messing with it. Can’t wait to watch!

        • Steve Hodel on June 10, 2020 at 12:32 pm

          Well, looks more like it will be a miniseries/documentary format rather than a film. Way back in 2006 New Line Films had optioned BDA alone for a two-hour film, but the option reverted back to me as at the same time they made the Ellroy fictional version “Black Dahlia” that bombed at the Box Office. This will be more like a six or eight-hour miniseries documentary with recreations to help tell the true story. Nothing is set in concrete yet, as the Corona Virus has kind of put any definites on the table for the immediate future? Hoping it will happen, but nothing greenlit yet? Lot of interest from various companies/investors. Authors rarely get any “control” but I’m working with an excellent film documentarian and he “gets it” so expect it will stick very close to the books and truth of the investigation. Best, Steve

  3. Joyce Payton on May 15, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Love that you are working on a TV mini series! Best of luck as I know those things are hard to do and will be almost impossible with this virus putting everything on hold.

    But please don’t let that book about his early life get away from you. It would be most interesting reading and you are the last link to that story. If you don’t tell it no one will.

    I remember when I saw the movie Hannibal Rising and saw how the character had a laser focus on developing the skills needed to seek his revenge. And then taking those skills into madness.

    I’d love to know if your father’s years of seeing the underbelly of LA life fueled his desire to go into medicine to rise above and be one of the movers and shakers in the top level of society. When he did achieve his degree and even the level of skilled surgeon it seems he was pulled toward the seedy side of medicine dealing with STD’s, abortions and the sex trade. His profession certainly put all of those people at his mercy. His dark sexual side tended to overshadow every aspect and relationship of his life. How much of this was planned out and when?

    As varied and chaotic his teen and early twenties seem you can almost see him studying each job, mining all of the information and skills he would need later on. The reporting of crime stories showing him how the police work and how the media distorts the truth. That would help him evade the law and hide in the shadows even though he was in plain sight. His steel trap mind filing away people, names and faces to be used later. He practiced his people skills till he was able to push all the right buttons and play all the mind games two steps ahead of everyone else. Like I said, fascinating story that should be told.

    Best of luck,

  4. Steve Hodel on May 15, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Joyce P:
    You nailed him alright. Super calculating and as you say, always two or more steps ahead of the rest of the sheep making for easy slaughter so to speak.
    While I think the miniseries will happen, it still needs to be greenlit and made into a “done deal” and as you say, I think the potential buyers are hesitant because of the hesitant times we are experiencing. Of course in a way my investigation is a bit “Virus Proof” in that most if not all could be done by way of remote interviews and graphics and the various locals could be shot without a problem.
    I may break up “The Early Years” into two books or rather two parts: as “The Twenties” and “The Thirties” which psychologically will make the task a little less daunting.
    You are correct that I’ve been thrown into the position of “being the last link” to these hundred-year-old crimes, so guess I better get off my … and do it. Best, Steve

  5. Steve Hodel on May 15, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    Joyce P:
    P.S. Didn’t know there was a “Hannibal Rising” I see its on DVD have to check it out. skh

    • Joyce Payton on May 16, 2020 at 2:15 am

      Well rest assured you have sold at least one copy of both books when published! LOL

      Enjoy Hannibal Rising it is very well made and your father would LOVED the Japanese actress Gong Li, she is stunning!

  6. Joyce Payton on June 7, 2020 at 2:18 am

    FINALLY got my copy of Most Evil (held up by pestilence, protests and would you believe even a flood in Ohio?) after weeks of delays in shipping. Have read most of it, but I find myself distracted and jumping ahead when a photo or heading catches my eye. I hadn’t read a lot about the Zodic murders before.

    In BDA III (which I also just got a few weeks ago) I really like that you put all of the victims in a timeline with a little bio of the crimes showing how they are all linked with your father’s thoughtprints. I could never keep the dates and names straight before. His horrific beating and dismembering of the victims had at last become only stabbings and shootings now at the end. A combination of his rage maybe lifting and his age and physical power slipping.

    When I got to Paul Stine it struck me that your father was leaving the last ultimate statement of his serial crimes. A simple execution type killing of a cab driver almost seemed like he was committing suicide. A poetic ending to his criminal career. The George Hill Hodel who had been disgraced by scandal, expelled from college and rejected as “just a boy” by the married woman in that scandal and had to turn to driving a cab.

    I know he enjoyed the excitement of the various jobs he had at this time and the down and dirty lifestyle that he was able to witness, but I’m positive that this was not the station in life that he had envisioned for himself. And can you imagine how his parents regarded this fall from grace. That may be where it started to fester and some of his outrageous choices in employment may have delighted him as he rebelled against his parents judgments.

    By the way, why was his middle name Hill? It seems odd, but it must be someone important to his family. It happens to be my maiden name. No tie in at all I’m positive just a funny coincidence.

  7. Steve Hodel on June 7, 2020 at 3:15 am

    Joyce P:
    Glad you got Most Evil I. As you know from reading it. I never claimed he WAS IN FACT Zodiac, just that enough to put him high on the list and say, “Let’s do DNA if they can get Zodiac confirmed DNA.” It all comes together pretty much in Most Evil II thanks to some great help from several civilian sleuths and their emails.
    I don’t know the source of “HILL”? Has to be some specific answer. Especially since his firstborn son, my halfbrother, has the same middle name, Duncan Hill Hodel?
    Best, Steve

    • Joyce Payton on June 8, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      Yes, I know it’s not for sure he was Zodiac, but it just fits so well. Just being in the same areas of the murders all of these years is almost too amazing not to be true.

      Yes, the Hill being carried on to his son is something strange. I had a friend in High School whose middle name was Winfield after the doctor who delivered him and he hated that name. But it did make him seem “upper class” to all the Tom, Dick and Harry middle names going around. Too bad you never asked your brother where the name came from but when we are young it never seems important it just is what it is and we accept that. It does sound better than Duncan George Hodel.

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