Author Q&A

Q:  Has any new evidence surfaced on your investigation into the murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short?

A: Yes. A huge amount of “new evidence” has been developed since the original publication of BDA in 2003. Most of the information has come by way of letters and emails from readers. (Friends and relatives of many of the original DA and LAPD detectives assigned to the case, as well as from many of the serial victims loved ones.) I would refer you to the latest HarperCollins paperback (July 2006 5th edition) which contains two updated chapters. However, even that is now two-years out of date. For the most current information I would suggest you review my many FAQs.

Q: You claim to have solved the Black Dahlia murder, but the LAPD say’s the case is still unsolved. How do you explain this contradiction?

A: In three words: politics, egos, and territoriality. Also, it depends on who you’re asking and who is answering. In 2002, then active Head Deputy D.A. Stephen Kay after a month’s review of all the evidence provided a 20-page written opinion stating that based on my exhibits and evidence it was his opinion that, “ Both the Elizabeth Short (Black Dahlia) and the Jeanne French (Red Lipstick) murders have been solved.” A year later, in August, 2003, in a meeting at LAPD’s Parker Center, DA Steve Kay and I jointly presented the evidence to a dozen members of LAPD’s “top brass,” including then Chief of Detectives, James McMurray. Chief McMurray after reviewing all the evidence agreed there was enough evidence to have filed a case against my father (had he still be living) and ordered his Robbery Homicide detectives as follows: “Unless you find some major holes in Hodel’s investigation, go ahead and clear the Black Dahlia murder.” (Chief McMurray’s order was ignored by subordinates and he retired in 2005.) Thanks to friends and family members we now have five (5) of the most senior Dahlia investigators (LAPD Chief William H. Parker, Chief of Detectives, Thad Brown, LASD Undersheriff, James Downey and his Chief of Detectives, J. Gordon Bowers as well as D.A. Lt. Frank Jemison) all confirming that” the case was solved. “All five officers independently and in separate conversations privately informed their close family members that, “the Dahlia case was solved and the killer was a doctor living in Hollywood on Franklin Avenue involved in abortions.” (We know from the DA electronic surveillance tapes that this doctor was-George Hill Hodel.)

The currently assigned LAPD detective, Brian Carr, states that due to current active investigations he “doesn’t have the time to prove or disprove Hodel’s investigation.” Understanding the why of LAPD not wanting to confirm my findings is a bit complex. For a fuller answer to your question, and an explanation of what I refer to in BDA as a “Dahliagate”, I would suggest you read FAQ 8.

Q: Do you still believe that the two photographs that started you to investigate your father as the Black Dahlia suspect are Elizabeth Short? I and many others do not believe they are her.

A: Yes and no. Based on my further investigation I now believe that only one of the two photographs in my father’s album– is Elizabeth Short. In, 2006, I was able to identify, locate, and personally interview one of the two photographs. (The woman seen standing by the horse statue in my father’s photo album.) It turns out she was a friend of my father’s and modeled for him at the Franklin House, where that photo was taken circa 1947. She is Filipina. To protect her privacy, I call her “Maganda”, which in Tagalog means “Beautiful One.” In September, 2006, I appeared on CNN NEWS- Anderson Cooper 360 and in a ten-minute interview, publicly eliminated her photograph. I continue to believe the second photograph (reclining nude) is most probably, Elizabeth Short. For the full story on this, I would recommend you read the complete “Maganda” interview which can be found in FAQ 20. (Both of the photographs in my father’s album have now become a moot point, since in the newly discovered, DA HODEL-BLACK DAHLIA FILES, Lt. Frank Jemison independently confirms that, “ Dr. George Hodel and Elizabeth Short knew each other and were seen together prior to her murder.”)

Q: I understand you have a new book coming out. Can you tell me when it will publish and what it is about? Is it more evidence on the Black Dahlia murder or something different?

A: As L.A. Confidential’s film character, Sid Hudgens (played by Danny DeVito) would say, “It’s off the record, on the QT and very hush-hush.” That said, I can confirm that to use your words, it is “something different.” It does relate to my father’s further criminality and we will go back to that time period, (1940s) but the evidence focuses on different victims. Stay tuned — a lot more to come. The title of my new book is- MOST EVIL: The Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hodel. When? Hopefully we will meet the publish date of September 21, 2009.

Q: I read that the film rights to your book were optioned by NEW LINE CINEMA. It would make a great film. Is it in production?

A: No. Immediately after NEW LINE optioned the book rights to BDA, we had the Writer’s Strike, which froze things due to a force majeure. Then NEW LINE had their own difficulties causing the layoff of most of their employees (400 out of 450) and their 2008 consolidation to become a unit within Warner Bros. The rights have only recently reverted back to me, and I am now actively engaged in talking with a number of film studios.

Q: Do you read your emails?

A: Yes. (Over 3000 read and answered since BDA was published in 2003) My thinking on this is — if my readers can take the time to read my book, and write me, I most certainly can take the few minutes required to respond back. While, admittedly, I remain a bit of an old-school dinosaur, and do not support all of the new technologies multi-armed tentacles, I do find corresponding by email both easy and enjoyable. (Some of my most important investigative tips and “clews” have come to me by way of these emails from thoughtful readers.)

Q: Amazing read! What do your family members think about BDA? Do they agree that your father was her killer? Does your father’s widow, June, believe you?

A: From reading BDA you know that George Hodel fathered 11 children with five different women. His children (my brother, half-brothers and half-sisters) all have children. So we Hodel’s are a scattered tribe living on several different continents. The response is MIXED. My full brother Kelvin is convinced. So is my half-sister, Tamar. (Tamar was the victim of her father’s sexual molestation and incest from ages, 11-14.) My Filipino half-brothers and sisters, as well as their mother, Hortensia, do not believe their father/husband was capable of such crimes. (It’s my understanding that several of them have yet to read BDA?) I last spoke to my father’s widow, June, on the telephone in January, 2003. She has not corresponded or communicated since. Her initial response was, “This cannot be possible. Your father was a man of science and a scholar.” I doubt she has read the book. What did she know or what does she currently believe? Sadly, I cannot say?

Q: I read an article in the Los Angeles Times Magazine that talked about your father admitting to the Black Dahlia murder on tape. Is this true? Does the recording exist?

A: Yes, it’s true. After publication of BDA in 2003, D.A. Steven Cooley (much to his credit) allowed the news media (and me) to examine the DA HODEL-BLACK DAHLIA files, which had been locked in a DA evidence vault–hidden and unread– for over fifty-years. Those documents verified that in 1950, Dr. George Hodel was the prime Dahlia suspect, and was being investigated for several other lone women murders. The Hodel Files contained damning evidence connecting him to involvement in an abortion ring, as well as 146-pages of “bugging transcripts” wherein he admitted to the 1945 killing of his private secretary (Ruth Spaulding, by barbiturate overdose), payoffs to law enforcement officers, and implicated himself in the murder of Elizabeth Short. “Supposin I did kill the Black Dahlia. They can’t prove it now, because my secretary is dead.” I refer you to FAQS 30, 60 & 61 for complete details.

Q: It is true your mother was married to the famous film director, John Huston? Is she still alive?

A: Yes, my mother (maiden name, Dorothy Harvey) was John Huston’s first wife. Married in their late teens, they were by all accounts, “very much in love.” Some uninformed Huston “biographers” identify the marriage as, “just a brief childhood romance.” It was much more than that. They were in fact married for seven-years (1925-1933) and remained romantically attached at least through 1939, since John and his father, Walter were both convinced that my older brother, Michael, (born in July of that year) was John’s biological son. (The Jury is still out on that one.) Mother married my father, Dr. George Hodel in December, 1940. She died in Santa Monica in 1983 at the age of 76. For details on her remarkable life I refer you FAQs 2 & 42.

Q: In the introduction chapter of BDA you coined the term, “thoughtprints”. Can you provide me with a more complete explanation or definition? I find it a bit confusing?

A: Yes, I define thoughtprints as, “the ridges, loops and whorls of our mind.” They are the aim or motives concealed within each of our thoughts, and contain the potential to link an individual to a particular action, person, place or crime. I liken them to the separate “points” that a criminalist examines in a fingerprint. Or, like a single piece in a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, which remains a meaningless unconnected shape until it is fit into place to ultimately help reveal a clear picture. Thoughtprints have nothing to do with anything esoteric or metaphysical and the term is simply a new or slightly different way of examining and potentially linking an individual to a specific (person, place, or crime) by way of his thinking –his unique thoughts. A more complete explanation of my term, “thoughprints” can be found in Dr. Richard Walton’s recently published textbook, Cold Case Homicides: Practical Investigative Techniques. (See FAQ 13 for further definition and photographs.)

Q: I read in your first book that you suspect the Black Dahlia murder was committed at your father’s house in Hollywood. Do you still believe that the historic Sowden- Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. house is where the murder was committed?

A: I do, now more than ever. Early on in my investigation, I asked myself the question, “How could it be possible for my father to commit an extended torture-murder at our home without any family member knowing it? The answer came in 2003, by way of the secret DA Files. In a transcribed interview with my mother, Lt. Jemison asks her directly if she was at the Franklin House at the time of the Dahlia murder in January, 1947. Mother informs him that she (and consequently we her three sons, ages, 8, 6, and 5) were not at the residence, but were temporarily staying at her brother’s residence some three miles away. (At that time there were no tenants (“roomers”) living at the Franklin House- so father would have been alone at the residence.)

Some of the most important linkage to date, actual physical evidence which strongly reinforces my belief that the crime occurred at the Franklin House, was discovered only recently. In October 2008, I was examining some George Hodel- Lloyd Wright Papers housed at UCLA’s Special Collections Department. Through this correspondence and original receipts found in the collection, I was able to establish that several 50-pound paper cement sacks, identical to those known to be used by the killer to transport Elizabeth Short’s bisected body to the vacant lot, were left by construction workers at the Franklin House just three days prior to her murder on January 14, 1947. For complete details and photographs of this remarkable discovery- see FAQ 75.

Q: In BDA you posit that your father, Dr. George Hodel, was a serial killer and you provide a summary of cases on fifteen or more victims. Yet, LAPD claims that the Black Dahlia Murder was “a standalone, with none before and none after.” How do you reconcile this?

A: I reconcile it the same way most truths are discovered. By separating truth from fiction, fact from fantasy and correcting the Mythstakes. By conducting a careful research and review of the original source material. Cases in point are the 1940s Los Angeles Lone Women Murders. Today’s LAPD is simply ignorant (as in uninformed) of the historical facts as they existed some 70-years past!

The truth is- IN 1950, BOTH THE LAPD AND THE L.A. SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT WERE CONVINCED THAT MANY OF THESE L.A. LONE WOMAN MURDERS WERE COMMITTED BY THE SAME SUSPECT. On March 14, 1947, two months after the Black Dahlia murder, LAPD provided and requested the local newspapers print their, 11-POINT LIST OF SIMILARITIES which justified their belief that at least three recent crimes committed in close proximity to each other in the previous two-month period were connected. (Elizabeth Short, Jeanne French and Evelyn Winters)

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