Buster and the Black Dahlia: The Scent of Death-Soil at Sowden/Hodel House Positive for Human Remains-Confirm 1950 DA Investigators Report and Suspicions

January 20, 2024
Birch Bay, Washington
In 1950 the original DA investigators suspected that Dr. George Hill Hodel may have buried victims’ bodies in the basement of the Sowden/Franklin House, where my investigation showed the original crime and surgical bisection occurred in 1947.  We know this from a police report I found in the secret DA/Hodel Black Dahlia files indicating officers talked to a plumber who had conducted repairs in the Hodel basement and they asked him if he saw any digging or signs of graves. His response, “I was only there to repair the plumbing and didn’t look for any diggings.”  Here are the two summaries of Cadaver dog Buster’s findings in his two separate searches at the Hodel residence, 5121 Franklin Avenue as excellently reported by NBC’s Ace news reporter, Patrick Healey more than a decade ago in 2013.

Buster’s alerts for human remains along with the soil analysis by Dr. Arpad Vass showing “positive for human remains” and the original 1950 DA Investigators report suspecting bodies may be buried in the basement or nearby exterior grounds were submitted to the then assigned Black Dahlia case investigators, Mitzi Roberts and her partner Tim Marcia.  However, to date (ten years later) no action or response has been taken or received. (See their photo below, in the podcast with its theme, “Everybody Counts.” Were that is was so!
SKH Note- One correction in the video reportage. Contrary to the general belief that the victim Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short’s total remains were recovered from where they were posed at 3825 S. Norton on the vacant lot. The victim’s right breast was completely surgically removed and not found at the dump site. I believe that it was likely kept as “a trophy” and could have been buried in the center courtyard or basement of the Sowden/Franklin House.


Bosch: Legacy – Behind the scenes with Mitzi Roberts and Tim Marcia


  1. Yolie💎 on January 20, 2024 at 10:31 am

    The Sisters of the Sacred WombSpace gather to send you a cleansing, centering breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ancestral HEALING! Kristel, Rap’cha and I join to urge you to make 2024 your year to begin ancestral healing. That you will heal the wounds of past generations. Connect with your forefathers and foreMOTHERS. They want you to dispel the negative energy of past generations and replace it with purest LOVE 💖💖💖
    Peace to you always, through ancestral healing!
    Peace to Brother Kel!
    Peace to FaunaElizabeth!
    Peace to powerful Dorero of the Sacred WombSpace!
    Peace to noble Rima, earthly Guardian of Steve!
    Please come to Whittier this year!!💖

  2. Steven Uanna on January 20, 2024 at 12:03 pm

    Steve, at 1:28 on the video a picture of the crime scene is shown that I have not seen before.
    Where did NBC get this photo?
    Is there a portfolio of the crime scene photos anywhere?
    If not, have you considered making one?
    Including identification, as well as possible, of who the people are. Some of the police and detectives and the woman reporter are known. But there are a lot of other people…

    • Steve Hodel on January 20, 2024 at 12:37 pm

      Steven U:
      Good observation on your part. They got the wrong crime scene at 1:28 that is a different “Lone Woman Murder” and is the Jeanne French crime scene, not the Black Dahlia. French’s body posed on a vacant lot five miles west of the Dahlia scene just three weeks later.

  3. Steven Uanna on January 20, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    Steve, yes. There would have been houses in the background, right?
    I guess a comparison could be made to see who might have appeared at both sites.
    The “Innocent bystanders”

  4. Adrienne R on January 22, 2024 at 10:35 pm

    Steve. I just got back from a trip from NYC to Buffalo and I listened to the podcast the whole way back. To say that your family story is surreal, mind boggling and downright tortuous is an understatement. I also had no idea of the connection to the Black Dahlia case, a movie that I watched many years ago. I look forward to reading your book. I am happy that this nightmarish cycle within your family was broken and that you clearly have the super human strength of resilience.

  5. Mike C on January 23, 2024 at 3:37 pm


    I wasn’t sure where to contact you? I have been reading up on the Lipstick Killer and read his psych interviews (available: https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3496&context=jclc )

    I was convinced he did it. Very convinced. Until I read a letter that William had written to his parents after his arrest. It’s at the tail end. I’m assumuing you’ve read all this? I learned a lot.

    That said—This quote at the end of a letter to his parents makes me think he just wanted to die. He felt trapped and was just a burglar and not a cold hearted killer.

    “Then a guy came to take finger prints & said I was a suspect in the Degnan case. I had read a lot about it in the, papers & I then began to think of it. First I knew I must convince myself I did it & I finally by repeation in my mind & verbally I had completed it. I then, planned other things to lead to my conviction & eventually the electric chair. I was too nervous when they used the truth serum for it to have any effect but when they started to question me I decided to play along & so I wanted to agravate them against me so I blamed it all on (MADE UP FRIEND) George M. S. of whom I had composed a note concerning”

    Interesting. Odd his make believe friend’s name is George, but just a coincidence.

    • Steve Hodel on January 23, 2024 at 6:07 pm

      Mike C:
      Thanks for the link. No, I had missed this summary. Had seen bits and pieces elsewhere but not the whole report. Thanks will read it soon. No, Heirens did not commit the three “Lipstick Murders” and died in prison after serving six decades for a crime he did not commit. Very sad story. Yes, I’m sure the “George” was a coincidence. There is a slight possibility that they could have met if GHH attended a Chinese language class there before going to China in February ’46. But, absent any documentation hard to prove any connection. My father’s wife, June, did say he took a Chinese course “in the East before going to China.”
      Doubt I can find/locate it 80 years later.Best, Steve
      Jan 25 2024 Update: Read the full summary last night. So much psycho-babble and obvious “closed ended questions” by the doctors. Yes, Heiren’s letters to his mother definitely underscore his innocence. Im confident the source of his creating a fictional killer named “George” came from the simple fact that that was his middle name. I will blog on his letters in the near future. Thanks again. Steve

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