by James Buchanan
Imagine a highly intelligent sociopath, who was put on trial for molesting his own daughter and murdering his secretary in 1945, but who somehow skated on those charges. Imagine the same man being the prime suspect in the horrific Black Dahlia murder case in 1947, but a grand jury failed to press charges because the evidence was not strong enough, and then imagine the same man’s handwriting being identified as a match to the 1960s’ Zodiac Killer’s by a handwriting expert.
If you combine all those crimes and possibly one or two other strings of serial murders in the Philippines, then you may be looking at George Hill Hodel, Jr.
One biography notes “George Hill Hodel, Jr. (October 10, 1907 – May 16, 1999) was an American physician. After the 1947 murder of American woman Elizabeth Short, a.k.a. the Black Dahlia, police came to consider Hodel a suspect. He was never formally charged with the crime, and came to wider attention as a suspect after his death when his son Steve Hodel, a Los Angeles homicide detective, accused George Hodel of killing Short and committing several additional murders.”
“George Hill Hodel, Jr. was born on October 10, 1907, and raised in Pasadena, California. His parents, George Hodel, Sr. and Esther Hodel, were of Russian Jewish ancestry. Their only son, he was well educated and bright (scoring 186 on an early IQ test)…”
“In late 1949, Hodel’s teenaged daughter Tamar accused him of sexual abuse. He was acquitted after a widely publicized trial.”
“Hodel moved from America in 1950. In 1990, Hodel, Jr. and his fourth wife, June, returned to the U.S. from Manila. He died at the age of ninety-one of heart failure.”
“Hodel first came under suspicion for murder in 1945, following the death of his secretary Ruth Spaulding by a drug overdose. He was suspected of having murdered her in order to cover up his financial fraud, such as billing patients for tests that were never performed. At about this time, Hodel moved to China…”
So this individual was put on trial for sexual assault of his own daughter and for murdering his secretary to cover up financial fraud. How many people do you know who have been put on trial for one serious crime, let alone two?
The article continues “In January, 1947, the body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short was discovered in an empty lot in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Short had suffered gruesome mutilation, notably her body being cut in half at the waist. The case earned major publicity and prompted one of the largest investigations in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. The case was never solved. However, authorities at the time interviewed hundreds and focused on about 25 suspects, one of whom was George Hill Hodel, Jr.”
“Hodel came to police attention as a suspect for the Elizabeth Short murder in 1949 after the sexual abuse allegations and trial… Hodel’s medical degree also aroused suspicion, given the hypothesis that whomever bisected Short’s body had some degree of surgical skill. The full details of the investigation came to light only in 2004, when a ‘George Hodel- Black Dahlia File’ was discovered in the vault at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. The file revealed that in 1950, Hodel was the prime suspect of the Dahlia murder. 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 transcripts of conversations revealed Hodel’s references to performing illegal abortions, giving 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. They thought there was something fishy. Anyway, now they may have figured it out. Killed her. Maybe I did kill my secretary…'”
Obviously this sounds suspicious as hell. Presumably, he’s talking about his secretary from 1945, who wound up dead from a drug overdose. The murder of the Black Dahlia however took place two years after that secretary’s death unless he’s talking about another secretary which he had in 1947.
The article notes “A grand jury declined to bring murder charges against Hodel, citing insufficient evidence. When Hodel was under investigation for the Short murder, he again left the United States. He lived in Asia until 1990.”
Hodel lived in China and the Philippines in what may have been an effort to evade the law and having his past crimes catch up to him. He may also have found the Third World an easier place to get away with murder.
Hodel’s son ironically became a police detective and had suspicions that his father was a decades-long serial killer.
The biography notes “After Hodel died in 1999, 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. This investigation began with the discovery of a photo album owned by George Hodel, which contained a portrait of a dark-haired young woman who Steve Hodel believed was Elizabeth Short. During Steve Hodel’s investigation, he learned that his father may have killed more than once. Steve Hodel also suspected (his father) of being the Lipstick killer of the 1940s and the Zodiac Killer of the 1960s, and may have been responsible for other murders….”
“In the years following Hodel’s leaving the country, investigators from both the LAPD and the District Attorney office privately stated that they believed (the) Black Dahlia case was ‘solved’ and that Hodel was the killer, though they didn’t have enough evidence to go to trial…”
“In 2009, Steve Hodel’s book Most Evil: Avenger, Zodiac and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel (Dutton 2009) was published. The follow-up investigation examined the possibility that Hodel had also committed crimes outside of Los Angeles in: Chicago (Lipstick Murders), Manila, Philippines (The Jigsaw Murder) and in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1968-69, possibly reinventing and calling himself ‘Zodiac.’ Thirty-one MO (modus operandi) and Crime Signatures were presented, along with a Questioned Document Expert’s (QDE) testimony that ‘the George Hodel and Zodiac handwriting samples were written by one and the same person.'”
Why was Hodel never brought to justice? As a doctor, he no doubt had considerable financial resources and could afford the best legal defense. If his IQ were anywhere near 186, he would have been the most clever serial killer of all time and extremely good at covering up his tracks. He would also have benefited from the primitive state of forensic investigation during the time he committed his serial murders. His time spent in Asia made it much more difficult to investigate and interrogate him making it that much harder to gain evidence against him.
One additional factor that may explain why there was no prosecution is that George Hodel was Jewish. Would the authorities cover up the crimes of a Jewish serial killer? It wouldn’t be the first time.
The notorious “Jack the Ripper” or Whitechapel murders in London were believed to be the work of a Polish Jew as noted here. One interesting detail about the Ripper murders is the Goulston Graffiti. One source reports “The Goulston Street graffito was some writing on a wall that was found beside a clue in the 1888 Whitechapel murders investigation… Long told an inquest that it read, ‘The Juwes [sic] are the men that will not be blamed for nothing.’ Superintendent Arnold wrote a report which agrees with his account…While the Goulston Street graffito was found in Metropolitan Police territory, the apron piece was from a victim killed in the City of London, which has a separate police force. Some officers disagreed with Arnold and Warren’s decision, especially those representing the City of London Police, who thought the writing constituted part of a crime scene and should at least be photographed before being erased, but it was wiped from the wall at 5:30 a.m.”
Jews had considerable power and influence inside Britain. Benjamin Disraeli (who was of Jewish ancestry) was the Prime Minister of Britain from 1874 to 1880. It would be no great surprise that there was pressure to cover up certain Jewish crimes that might cause a backlash against the Jewish community in England, even erasing evidence connected to the Jack the Ripper murders.
Jews similarly had and still have considerable power and influence in Los Angeles, which might explain why the “‘George Hodel- Black Dahlia File’ was discovered in the vault at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office” where it had been been quietly hidden away along with all the damning evidence therei