A retired Los Angeles detective who's long claimed to have solved one of the most vile murders in American history says he has new evidence pointing the finger squarely at … his father. Steve Hodel has spent decades researching the 1947 murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, dubbed the Black Dahlia, and specifically George Hodel's links to it. An initial suspect who died in 1999, George Hodel hosted Hollywood stars for extended stays at the family's Los Feliz mansion, reports the South Pasadenan. Perhaps most incriminating, he was also a surgeon skilled in hemicorporectomy, the process of cutting a body in two without hitting bone. Short's body, found expertly drained of blood in a vacant LA lot, was treated in just such a way. But Steve Hodel argues a newly surfaced letter identifying the killer as "GH" offers yet another clue.
Penned by LAPD informant W. Glenn Martin on Oct. 25, 1949, it was discovered by a relative who reached out to Hodel in time for him to include it in his latest book on the murder, out this week. Hodel says Martin, who seemed to fear his daughters were at risk, referred to "GH" as the killer of Short and 28-year-old Louise Springer, who died in 1949. "GH was grilled by police on Louise Springer death; he and I both knew her," the letter reads. "The investigation officers became GH friend, so matter dropped." As operator of a venereal disease clinic, George Hodel was "privy to the sexual disease histories of the rich and powerful in Los Angeles, including cops, prosecutors and celebrities," the South Pasadenan notes. (He also rubbed elbows with an artist whose work he might've been trying to mimic.)