George Hill Hodel, Jr. (October 10, 1907 - May 16, 1999)
was an American physician. He was the prime suspect during the murder investigation of Elizabeth Short, which became known as the "Black Dahlia" murder. Hodel moved in affluent Los Angeles society, friends of people such as Man Ray and John Huston.
After Hodel died, his son Steve, a former LAPD homicide detective, wanted to learn more about his father. In the process he uncovered information that led him to believe his father was Elizabeth Short's killer. During Steve Hodel's investigation, he learned that his father may have killed more than once. George Hodel is suspected of being the Lipstick killer and the Zodiac Killer, and may have been responsible for other murders.
After reviewing the information presented in Steve Hodel's book, Head Deputy D.A. Stephen Kay proclaimed the case solved, but others have noted that Kay, who has since retired, formed this conclusion by treating Steve Hodel's many disputed assertions as established fact. Detective Brian Carr, the LAPD officer in charge of the Black Dahlia case at the time of Steve Hodel's briefing, said in a televised interview that he was baffled by Kay's response, adding that if he ever took a case as weak as Steve Hodel's to a prosecutor he would be "laughed out of the office." In a September 2006 television interview with Cold Case Files host Bill Kurtis, Carr added, "I don't have the time to either prove or disprove Hodel's investigation. I am too busy working on active cases."
In 2004 a "George Hodel- Black Dahlia File" was discovered in the vault at the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. The secret file revealed that in 1950, Hodel was the prime suspect on the Dahlia murder and his private Hollywood residence was electronically bugged by an 18-man DA/LAPD Task Force during the period 18 February to 27 March 1950.
The DA transcripts contained Hodel's references to performing abortions, payoffs to law enforcement officials, and to his possible involvement in the deaths of his secretary and Elizabeth Short. The DA tapes recorded him saying, "Supposin' I did kill the Black Dahlia. They can't prove it now. They can't talk to my secretary anymore because she's dead."
In 2004 the LAPD acknowledged that Hodel was originally investigated for the suspected murder (forced overdose by pills) of his secretary, Ruth Spaulding in 1945, but fled to China, which terminated the original investigation. Just before he was to be arrested in April 1950 for the Black Dahlia murder, Hodel left the country again. He remained in Asia for the next forty years.
In the years following Hodel's leaving the country, investigators from both the LAPD and the District Attorney office privately confirmed that the Black Dahlia case was "solved" and that Hodel was the killer. Specific quotes from the top brass include the following: Chief of Detectives Thad Brown, "The Black Dahlia Case was solved. He was a doctor who lived on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood." LAPD Chief of Police William H. Parker, "We identified the Black Dahlia suspect. He was a doctor." LASD undersheriff James Downey, "The Black Dahlia Case was solved, but it will never come out. It was a doctor they all knew in Hollywood involved in abortions." DA Lt. Frank Jemison, "We know who the Black Dahlia killer was. He was a doctor but we didn't have enough to put him away." The secret DA Files confirmed that the doctor referenced was George Hill Hodel.
Hodel had purchased and resided in the famous Sowden House, (2 blocks from where i live!~RC)
in Hollywood from 1945 to 1950. The structure, built in 1926 by Lloyd Wright (son of the noted American architect), is now a registered Los Angeles Historic Landmark. Based on information developed in 2010-2014 (physical evidence, cement sacks) used to transport the body from the residence to the vacant lot where Elizabeth Short's body was found, the Sowden House is believed to be where the victim was tortured, slain and her body surgically bisected. A police cadaver dog and subsequent soil analysis tests conducted in 2014 by forensic anthropologist, Dr. Arpad Vass, confirmed that soil samples from the rear of the residence were "specific for human remains."
George Hill Hodel, Jr. was born to Russian parents George Hodel, Sr., and Esther Hodel. Their only son, he was well educated and bright (scoring 186 on an early IQ test). He was also a musical prodigy, playing solo piano concerts at Los Angeles's Shrine Auditorium. Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff traveled to his grandparents' house to hear the boy play.
In 1990, Hodel, Jr. and his fourth wife, June, returned to the U.S. from Manila. He died at age ninety-one of heart failure.