In 1947, California’s infamous Black Dahlia murder inspired the largest manhunt in Los Angeles history. Despite an unprecedented allocation of money and manpower, police investigators failed to identify the psychopath responsible for the sadistic murder and mutilation of beautiful twenty-two-year old Elizabeth Short. Decades later, former LAPD homicide detective turned private investigator Steve Hodel launched his own investigation into the grisly unsolved crime—and it led him to a shockingly unexpected perpetrator: Hodel’s own father.
A spellbinding tour de force of true-crime writing, this newly revised edition includes never-before-published forensic evidence, photographs, and previously unreleased documents, definitively closing the case that has often been called “the most notorious unsolved murder of the twentieth century.”
To the above publisher-written overview, I will add what for me was a second and equally shocking discovery. The fact that the Black Dahlia Murder- was not a standalone crime. (Lost in time and perpetuated as myth was the fact that all Southern California law enforcement agencies: LAPD and LASD (police and sheriffs) and the DA’s investigators were aware and actively investigating at least five of the murders as probably being connected.)
I have dubbed, these —The Los Angeles Lone Woman Murders.
All of them committed by one man, my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel. How many? Difficult to say, however, I believe from 1943 to 1949, he committed somewhere between 7 and 20 serial murders in the Los Angeles and Southern California area. In BDA I break these suspected murders into separate “categories”. (Category I -Definites,–Category II –Probables and Category III -Possibles.)
In a letter, included in BDA’s original publication in 2003, one of the LADA’s most respected Head Deputy DA’s, Stephen Kay, confirmed that in his opinion, at least two of these murders (Elizabeth Short “Black Dahlia” and the Jeanne French “Red Lipstick”) “were solved.” Head DA Kay went further, indicating that if Dr. George Hill Hodel had still been alive, and had all the witnesses still been available, based on the evidence, he “was confident he could win the case in a jury trial.”
In May, 2003, post publication, Head DA Steve Kay and I briefed LAPD’s top brass and most agreed that the evidence was exceptionally strong and compelling. LAPD Chief of Detectives, James McMurray, present at the briefing also agreed with Prosecutor Kay that the Dahlia and Red Lipstick cases were solved.
Since 2003, (thanks to readers and witnesses coming forward both by letters and in emails) I have continued to build on the evidence which is chronologically summarized in my FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Section. Much of the information and evidence in these FAQs has been presented post-2006 and therefore cannot be found in the HarperCollins “revised” edition of BDA. (An updated FAQ INDEX by subject and FAQ section has been added. I.e., “Elizabeth Short – As Myth 7.1; George Hodel- as surgeon 17.2” See FAQ SECTION.