Ex-Cop: Why I Think My Dad Killed the ‘Black Dahlia’

Ex-Cop: Why I Think My Dad Killed the ‘Black Dahlia’[1] Retired police detective Steve Hodel believes he’s not only solved what the Guardian calls “one of the most brutal murders in American history,” he’s also come up with a motive. Hodel—who has long claimed his physician father killed 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, also known as the “Black Dahlia,” along with several others—says George Hodel may have been trying to imitate the surrealist work of famous artist Man Ray, who was a family friend. As the Guardian puts it, “Two of Man Ray’s photographs, Les Amoureux and Minotaur, do bear a chilling resemblance to Short’s mutilated body.” He may have wanted to create a “masterpiece, a crime so shocking and horrible it would endure, be immortalized through the annals of crime lore,” says Steve.


Short’s body, found in a vacant lot in Los Angeles in 1947, was sliced in two in what is known as a hemicorporectomy, taught while George Hodel was in medical school (the Guardian details other gruesome details of the crime). George died in 1999 and was never charged with the crime, but police records show he was a suspect, and Steve details other potential clues he has uncovered: A handwriting expert found that letters the killer sent to police bore a resemblance to his dad’s scrawl. Receipts also showed George Hodel bought bags of concrete just before Short’s murder; bags of the same size and brand were found near Short’s body. While police seem largely uninterested in Steve’s evidence, “my judge and jury are the public,” says Steve.




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