EW columnist Maureen Lee Lenker examines Fact from Fiction in 1949 Actress Jean Spangler Murder-Update 2022
June 27, 2022
Birch Bay, Washington
Many Black Dahlia “theorists” and “self-appointed experts” claim that the Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” murder was a “one-off.” “None before-none after.”
They go on to claim their own suspect (which includes a drunken drifter, an abusive father, an allegedly senile mentally deranged WWI vet/M.D., and a possible A-List Hollywood actor) committed the one Black Dahlia crime and no others.
Not only do their separate theories go against all the evidence and logic, but they also misrepresent the known facts presented by LAPD detectives who were convinced that many of the LA Lone Woman murders were connected and committed by the same suspect. The press not only presented printed articles written by LAPD as to why they believed the crimes were connected but headlined detective’s suspicions that victim Jean Spangler was “the 10th victim in the series of mutilation murders.” (See above headline dated Oct 11, 1949.)
For those readers that may have missed it, I here repost my blog from January 2021 along with the excellent article by columnist, Maureen Lee Lenker, summarizing the Jean Spangler investigation. Click below to read her full article.
January 23, 2021
Los Angeles, California
Maureen Lee Lenker
EW columnist Maureen Lee Lenker examines Fact from Fiction in 1949 Actress Jean Spangler Murder
Here’s a link to a well-researched and well-written article by Entertainment Weekly senior writer/columnist, Maureen Lee Lenker updating the Jean Spangler murder investigation.
Kudos to Ms. Lenker on her accurate and objective research that goes a long way in helping dispel the many MYTHS that were initially generated in the 1940s and then continued to be sensationalized through the decades.
Click HERE to read the Ms. Lenker’s full article in EW.
Actress Jean Spangler
Below graphic shows my own Jean Spangler timeline showing her movements on October 8, 1949 in the hours just prior to her kidnap/murder. See my earlier post HERE.
SKH Note: Not included on the below timeline is the fact that prior to the sighting on Spangler at the Cheese Box Restaurant she was seen with possibly the same individual seen with her at the restaurant. Earlier description matched, “a tall dapper man seated in a car at the Hollywood Ranch Market” in the early evening hours. The Hwd Ranch Market location was directly across the street from the VILLA ELAINE, 1245 N. Vine St, which on that date was the residence apartment of Dr. George Hodel’s good friend, MAN RAY and his wife, JULIET, who resided in Apt 10. Could they have just come from visiting them? Very possible. It is also worth noting that George Hodel had just been arrested for INCEST with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Tamar and had bailed out of jail on October 7, 1949, literally the day before the suspect met and kidnapped Jean Spangler. (See my earlier post for full details.) Was Jean Spangler silenced because she knew too much? Again, very possible.
Man Ray’s Villa Elaine Apt directly across street from Hollywood
Ranch Mkt, 1245 N. Vine St., Hollywood
Dr. George Hill Hodel Posted Bail on Incest and Child Molestation Charges and Released Oct 6, 1949 just two days before Spangler date and disappearance.
Below photographs show court docket and LA Times photo of release of Dr. Hodel to his attorney in hallway of DTLA criminal courthouse after booking and posting bail in amount of $5,000. (Equivalent to $55,000 in 2021 dollars.) LAT photo appeared the following day, Oct 7 1949 in morning edition.
As presented in my Spangler investigation it is my belief that Dr. George Hill Hodel was Spangler’s “date” on the late afternoon/evening of Oct. 7th and the man seen arguing with her in the restaurant and just a short time later the same man abducting her in the vehicle (just two blocks from the restaurant) where Spangler yelled out to the gas station attendant, “Get the license plate of this car and call the police.”
GHH booking photo Oct 6, 1949
(Note he is wearing same coat and tie as in hallway w/attorney, indicating he was fully processed and released on same day.)
Observations on this case:
1. The EW article mentions Spangler’s connections to the Florentine Gardens in ’49, but Spangler was also in a revue there right around the time ES was linked to Mark Hansen. See LAT 10/27/46, Valley Times 11/29/46.
2. Interesting that Spangler’s lawyer in her child custody battle was S. S. Hahn.
3. We might consider the possibility that the Fern Dell note is just another of GHH’s fakeouts. It does resemble JS’s handwriting (based on another exemplar I’ve seen online), but there is much to suggest that GHH liked to play games with handwriting. If he is responsible for the feminine-looking script on the “Guardian of the Pines” card in the Donna Lass case then he could certainly have produced this one. Doesn’t the purse with the note feel like a “plant,” reminiscent of several other cases in which GHH is a suspect?
LW: As usual, always good points.
Yes, S.S. Hahn was the attorney for both Dorothy Huston Hodel and Jean Spangler, which in itself is indicative of the possibility that they might have known each other, but also Hahn was pretty much the Hollywood Go To Guy for divorces so??
I do agree that the note does sound a bit fishy alright. Also, cannot rule out the possibility that Spangler was forced to write it under duress then after she complied was slain.
To me the timing is a biggie. I mean literally just hours after GHH is arrest and booked and bails out on the incest charge she dates a “new boyfriend” and is seen arguing with him in the restaurant and then is cowering in fear for her life and yells to the gas station attendant, “Get the license number of this car and call the police.” I mean hello folks, don’t need a Sherlock Holmes to put those factors together. I can’t believe that LAPD never made it more than a simple “missing report”. That was NEWS to me in her article. That’s either total incompetence OR more intentional corruption in the “nothing to see here, move on” vein.
Steve ancestral healing could help you. Heal the wounds of your forefathers and foremothers. Tend to injuries of the Hodel lineage going back generations. You can do it! The ancient Hodels would bless you!
Peace always, Yolie
Starting with my immediate family. Not exactly the greatest impact on my two sons and their mother. I can’t help wondering if my father’s spirit is actually glad that he has been discovered. (At least the good Dr. Jekyll side of him?) I believe the “catch me before I kill more” and “Turning myself in on Thursday….” and “I can’t control this thing inside me…” and other “messages” were all genuine pleas for help. Maybe just the knowledge that his crimes have been discovered and he has been identified as the horrific serial killer he was, give some relief to his tortured soul? I sure hope so.
I noticed the article mentioned you plan to search your father’s house for human remains again at some point. Do you when this might be and do you plan on sharing the details of a new search in your next book?
No immediate plans. The current owners are not really open to having it searched.
Could change in the future, but ???
If any searching is done, it will certainly be presented to the public along with any results.
My next publication will focus on “The Early Years” presenting my father’s crimes pre Dahlia.
Forge on, Detective Hodel! The Early Years a must! As I stated in a previous comment, during a professional development class previewing my working in an Emotional Disorder class for middle school boys, our instructor quoted: “You’ve all heard of ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’…..well you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” And so true. The Piper doth get paid…..and mercy falleth by the wayside😔! Your father’s story & unfortunately that of his family is filled with incomprehensible tragedy! You are the hero here, Steve, unfortunately a title won by hard times, sad times. But you are alive, a father, a grandfather…..and what a wonderful legacy you leave them all! Best, Pat O’Neill 🌵
Thanks for the kind words Patricia. Much appreciated. Yes, “The Early Years” will at long last complete the telling of this fifty year Greek Tragedy. No more wandering through the Labyrinth in search of The Minotaur. His crimes and his times will be told. Best, Steven
I just got done listening to the podcast. Definitely think George was the killer. I’m curious if later in life you ever asked your mom about the murder? I know the podcast goes into detail about how at the time she covered for George when interviewed by detectives. Just wondered if later in life she shared more with her family.
Nope, never a word. She took her knowledge with her to her grave.
I do reference in BDA an incident in my teens where mother in a very drunken condition after I told her I no longer wanted to live with her because of her drinking and voiced a desire to “go live with my dad” she replied, “You don’t know. Your father is a monster. He has a lust for blood.” But, then a few days later, “all was good” and I asked her “What did you mean when you said that about dad?” She denied saying it, and said, he was “a good man, a brilliant doctor and healer. Oftentimes I say crazy things when I drink, Steven. It’s part of my sickness.” So, I dismissed it as her “DT’s”. It never came up again.
Very interesting., thanks for the response.
That’s reminiscent of Joe Barret telling Mary Unkefer that GHH is a “real NO-GOOD GUY'” then days later saying he’s “not a bad fellow, with plenty of worries of his own.” GHH obviously knew how to keep ’em on the reservation. I guess that’s what he meant when he says “I have a way about me.”
Yes, a definite manipulator extraordinaire. I mean “a psychiatrist in Hawaii and counseling to the criminally insane and fellow serial killers.” I can just see one of his patient’s saying to “the Good Doctor”, “There’s this thing inside me and sometimes I just can’t control myself doc.”
I am curious about Walter Morgan. I think you wrote in your book that he married a showgirl around 1951 whose maid of honor was the fiance of an organized crime character. How did the sheriff allow this marriage, and how did it work out? Thanks.
FAQ 57 provides an extensive bio on Walter Morgan which includes Sugar. https://stevehodel.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/FAQ57.pdf
Yes, he married “Sugar Giese” and the Sheriff would have had no say in the matter.
LA was a very corrupt city back then and a true life LA CONFIDENTIAL. “Sugar” was one of the lead dancers at Mark Hansen’s “Florentine Gardens” and had a few small parts in some films of that day.
Not sure how long their marriage lasted? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florentine_Gardens
See FAQ 57 for Walter Morgan’s extensive BIO.