- The severely mutilated body of Elizabeth Short was discovered in 1947
- The case remains one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in L.A. history
- Steve Hodel believes his father killed the Black Dahlia at the family home and later fled the country
- A Cadaver dog has discovered the faint trace of human remains in the basement and soil samples are being tested
01:52, 3 February 2013
04:13, 3 February 2013
A former LAPD detective who believes his father killed the Black Dahlia believes a cadaver dog’s search of his old Hollywood home has turned up the scent of the woman who was killed 66 years ago.
The shocking murder of Elizabeth Short, known as the Black Dahlia, is one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in Los Angeles history.
On Jan. 15, 1947, Short’s severely mutilated body was discovered in a vacant lot near the intersection of 39th Street and Norton Avenue in South Los Angeles.
Black Dahlia: A head shot of Elizabeth Short who had been an aspiring actress until her untimely murder
The body of Elizabeth Short had been severed at the waist and completely drained of blood, her face had also been slashed from the corners of her mouth toward her ears
The body of Elizabeth Short, 22, had been severed at the waist and completely drained of blood. Her face had been slashed from the corners of her mouth toward her ears, creating an effect known as a Glasgow smile.
Short also had multiple cuts on her thigh and breasts, where entire portions of flesh had been removed. The body had been washed and cleaned and had been ‘posed’ with her hands over her head, her elbows bent at right angles, and her legs spread.
The gruesome murder generated masses of media interest at the time. The newspapers of the day, which had a habit of nicknaming colorful crimes, started referring to Short as the Black Dahlia after the then popular film The Blue Dahlia.
To add to the case’s sense of mystery and intrigue, both LAPD officials and newspaper editors received taunting notes believed to be from Short’s killer.
Steve Hodel, right, with cadaver dog handler Paul Dostie, and Buster, searched the Sowden/Franklin House at 5121 Franklin Ave., Hollywood for evidence that the Black Dahlia Murder took place there
Sowden House, the potential murder scene and Dr George Hodel, who was a suspect in the original investigation and who Steve Hodel believes is responsible for the murder of the Black Dahlia
The Los Angeles District Attorney office drew up a list of 25 people it considered viable suspects, although as many as 60 people have confessed to the murder at one time or another.
In his 2003 book ‘Black Dahlia Avenger,’ Steve Hodel first made the claim that his father, a doctor, was responsible for the murder.
George Hodel had been a suspect in the original case and investigators had even planted a bug in the house to listen for incriminating admissions. But before authorities brought charges, Dr. Hodel abruptly abandoned his family and relocated to Asia. He died in 1991.
Steve Hodel believes his father killed the Black Dahlia at the family’s then home, the distinctive ‘Sowden House’ in Hollywood, which is largely unchanged and looks the same as it did at the time of the murder.
Elizabeth Short’s mutilated body was found in a vacant lot near a busy intersection on the southwest section of L.A. in 1947
Not long before her death, Short was arrested in Santa Barbara for underage drinking and this police mugshot was taken
Hodel was also able to establish that he and his siblings had been away with their mother at that time.
When the opportunity arose for Hodel to return to his childhood home, he jumped at the chance after producers of the SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters program arranged it with the current owners.
Last November Hodel, together with retired police Sgt. Paul Dostie of Mammoth Lakes and Buster, a Labrador retriever trained to detect the unique smell of human composition, visited the property.
Once let loose, Buster quickly established four locations in the basement where he could pick up a faint trace of human remains.
The basement had never been finished and since the floor was still dirt, soil samples were taken.
Hodel is awaiting the results of those samples, which might once and for all confirm who killed the Black Dahlia.
Video: Search dog finds potential evidence in Black Dahlia murder
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For those of you who are complaining about those pictures of the corpse…..that’s nothing. Look up the picture of her dead face. THAT will give you nightmares
H town, United States,
The second to last pic shows her face. I don’t see the slashes on the corners of her mouth (Glasgow smile)
I read his book several years ago. Without a doubt I believe George Hodel is the black Dahlia murderer.
Not sure this proves anything after 66 years. And thanks for the graphic picture DM.
Los Angeles, United States,
Wow! Steve Hodel has written amazing books about his father. Read them!
Um….was that real…I didn’t need to see a mutilated corpse. This one needs a WARNING.
Yuck DM! I can’t believe you have the picture of the naked body uncovered on there. The covered up image there would have been just fine.
I can’t believe you put that picture up without a warning. How horrible.
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