The Sowden/Hodel Franklin House History Link-Some Historical Corrections and a Virtual Tour

March 22, 2023
Birch Bay, Washington

1969 photos show the “Before” taken twenty years after George Hodel sold the residence in 1950.
As pictured in the above photographs had been vacant/unoccupied since that date.
Developer Xorin Balbes bought home in 2001 for 1.2 million and spent another 1.6 million in restoring the residence. (March 17, 2017)


Above paragraph from Sowden House Virtual tour “History”, inaccurately states that “…Dr. George Hodel was never actually named as a suspect at the time of the investigation.” and…”his son claimed that his father had murdered Elizabeth Short in the basement”… Neither of these statements are true.  Fact- Dr. George Hill Hodel was named and actively investigated as the prime suspect and tape-recorded confessions were obtained during a “bugging” by LAPD and LADA during the original investigation. Secondly, I never claimed Elizabeth Short was “murdered in the basement”. It is my opinion she was slain in the center courtyard and her body was bisected and washed clean in the master bathroom.
SKH Note- 

A Virtual Tour of Renovation Click HERE.


Dan Goldfarb purchased the home for 4.7 million.

Marijuana millionaire turns LA's infamous Sowden House into cannabis oasis - The CannifornianInside 'I Am the Night's' Sowden House – The Hollywood Reporter





Marijuana millionaire turns LA’s infamous Sowden House into cannabis oasis
(January 29,2018)
Dan Goldfarb sells Sowden House for 6.2 million to Nate Daneshgar owner of DTLA’s Grand Central Market
(June 21, 2022)
John Sowden House by Lloyd Wright (Virtual Globetrotting article)



  1. Dennis Effle on March 27, 2023 at 11:34 am

    An incredible artistic residence after this remodeling. Great original design updated beautifully. Easy to imagine the fairytale setting the Hodel brothers grew up in during the 1940’s. This tour left me wanting to see the bedrooms and especially the basement though.

  2. Patricia ONeill on March 27, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    Steve: Unfortunately the artistry & excellent design by Lloyd Wright cannot erase the horror(s) that unfurled within those residential walls😔! I think the Sowden Hodel Franklin House would be put to better use as an historical crime scene venue relating the effects perpetrated upon its unfortunate residents and victims! This era in CA should not be forgotten but remembered as the horrific crime scene it truly was. And the Sowden Hodel House is not alone in its terrors performed in Los Angeles/So. California. Nope, Northern California had its counterparts and unfortunately those horrors, after many years, were validated to me and compatriots who enjoyed our highly envied lifestyle. Some of those CA “compatriots” did pay a very high price and others (like me) are truly, truly thankful for a long, fruitful life! God bless those who proceeded us… are not forgotten!

  3. George A on March 28, 2023 at 10:00 am

    Detective Hodel
    Sir. Have you used thoughtprints in any case except the Black Dahlia? Have you used thoughtprints with any suspect except Dr. Hodel?
    George A

    • Steve Hodel on March 28, 2023 at 5:51 pm

      George A:
      Well, yes and no. The concept of “thoughtprints” never was established until I started working on BDA. But, “by any other name” there would have been linkage during my career when links were made to an individual through what one could call thoughtprints. But, just not using that term.

      • George A on March 29, 2023 at 9:48 am

        Detective Hodel
        Thank you sir.
        And thoughtprints are different than profiling? Is that right?
        George A

        • Steve Hodel on March 29, 2023 at 1:09 pm

          George A:
          Yes, different from profiling. “Thoughtprints” are actual tangible specific potential links to a person/suspect such as the example of George Hodel suggesting to his daughter, Tamar to name her doll “Elizabeth” just six weeks after he murdered Elizabeth Short. It’s not conclusive, but I liken it to a point in a fingerprint. When put together with other “points” it has the potential to identify.

          • angel amulis-hodel on March 29, 2023 at 7:09 pm

            And…..didn’t George insist that Tamer name her daughter Elizabeth? (But Tamer used it as her daughter’s middle name instead).

          • George A on March 30, 2023 at 10:00 am

            Detective Hodel
            Thank you, sir

          • Steve Hodel on March 31, 2023 at 2:19 pm

            Angel H:
            Not sure. I think Tamar named her as part of dad’s earlier request. I really don’t think he insisted on the name. Rather it came from Tamar. Ditto “Fauna” came from Tamar and was another poem by Robinson Jeffers.

  4. Sarah P on March 30, 2023 at 10:46 pm

    Detective Hodel,

    I’ve listened to “Root of Evil” Podcast & have purchased (sorry, haven’t had a chance to read yet) your Black Avenger books. First of all, I want to say that my heart goes out to you, your family and all the victims that your father hurt throughout the years.
    I was wondering if you lived at the Sowden House around the time when Elizabeth Short was killed? When you visit the house now, do you have any flashbacks/memories from when you were a child?
    Also, if he did kill her on the property, wouldn’t your mother or Tamar’s mother have seen her deceased body laying out? Or were they too scared to report him to the police? Just wondering how, with all the parties that happened there, no one saw her?

    Thank you and take care

    • Steve on March 31, 2023 at 2:24 pm

      Sarah P:
      Yes, all that is explained in BDA. We were living there at the time of the murder but were away for a three-week period staying at her brothers’ home just four miles away. So, our father had the house to himself at the time of the murder. No real “flashbacks”. I suspect I have covered up any thoughts I may have learned from that period? Most of my memories are happy/positive ones from living at the house. Though with discoveries after my investigation it has obviously changed/modified my feelings toward the residence now.

  5. INES on March 31, 2023 at 10:06 am

    Hello Detective Hodel,

    your father lived in the Philippines… During all these years, weren’t there any murders similar to those committed in the United States?
    Thank you for your answer and a HELLO from France !

    • Steve on March 31, 2023 at 2:26 pm

      Yes, in a subsequent books, Most Evil and Most Evil II I present his murder in Manila. Lucila Lalu, a murder where the victim’s nude body posed on a vacant lot just two miles from his home. Expect there were more in the Philippines, but that one is only one I have found to date.

    • Nazia on May 16, 2023 at 6:40 pm

      Hello Steve, how are you? How is being in your eighties treating you. I hope you are well. Loved all your work since I discovered your first book in 2016.

      • Steve Hodel on June 16, 2023 at 8:27 am

        Hi Nazia. Well, being an Octogenarian is fine so far. No real complaints. Good to still be vertical for sure. Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. Steve

      • Steve Hodel on July 29, 2023 at 10:30 pm

        Hi Nazia:
        I’m great. Enjoying my move to Birch Bay, Washington last year. Nice change from LA.
        Stay tuned. One more book to go. Steve

  6. Yolanda Camacho on April 1, 2023 at 10:35 am

    Our Healing Circle sends you, Brother Kel, FaunaElizabeth and Angel a cleansing, centering breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ancestral healing. Ancestral healing heals the wounds of past generations. It connects us to our forefathers and foremothers. The message of ancestral healing is as old as time! The power of ancestral healing never gets old.
    Peace to you this week and always
    Yolie 💎

  7. Kathy on April 3, 2023 at 5:33 am

    Hi, Steve,

    On a lighter note, have you gotten your dog yet?

    It’s been 2 years since you came to Point Loma to speak with our group. Very revealing. People still talk about your presentation and all of the questions you answered for us.

    Peace and Blessing always.


  8. WW on June 16, 2023 at 1:05 am

    Question for you! Do you by chance known anything about the original owners John & Ruth Sowden? I hear they were artsy types but would be curious to know more about them. Let me know!

    • Steve Hodel on June 16, 2023 at 8:33 am

      No, have not researched the original owners, the Sowdens. Seems they were the occupants for a very short period of time. The back north side of the house was used as a stage for performances of some kind. Plays or ?. As far as the new owners allowing a search and or possible excavation of the basement, hard to know if they would cooperate or not. It really should be conducted by LAPD but they continue to claim ‘too busy to do anything on these old/cold cases.” So, doubtful that anything will be done.

      • WW on June 16, 2023 at 4:35 pm

        Got it! Thank you so much for your response. Is there anything we as the citizens of Los Angeles can do to put pressure or raise awareness?

        • Steve Hodel on June 16, 2023 at 5:20 pm

          Well, hopefully, the creation and presentation of the docuseries will raise awareness and possibly help obtain some movement from law enforcement. But, I am not optimistic that they will do any follow-up. They do not want to confirm that the LAPD’s two greatest heroes, Chiefs Bill Parker and Thad Brown were complicit in a coverup. So, not holding my breath.

    • Steve Hodel on July 29, 2023 at 10:25 pm
  9. WW on June 16, 2023 at 1:46 am

    Ok actually I have another question if you wouldn’t mind sir! I saw that the home sold last year. Do you think there’s any chance that the new owner would allow you to finally excavate the basement and property? Let me know.

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