The murder of an American woman named Elizabeth Short was suspected to have been committed by American doctor George Hill Hodel, Jr. He has also been connected in recent years to the killings carried out by the “Lipstick Killer” and the “Zodiac Killer.” Hodel was a talented student when he was younger and achieved a remarkable 186 on an IQ test. He started his practice after completing his schooling, and over time he rose to become one of the most well-liked medical professionals in his neighborhood. Authorities suspected him of murder in 1945 after his assistant Ruth Spaulding passed away from a heroin overdose. But the study got nowhere at first. Following the discovery of Elizabeth Short’s dismembered remains in January 1947, the Los Angeles Police Department started a thorough investigation that at one point included over 150 suspects, including Hodel. He left America in 1950 and lived in several Asian nations for the following 40 years. He had a tranquil life after coming back to the US in 1990 with his fourth wife. After his father passed away in 1999, Steve Hodel started investigating Hodel’s interactions with Short and Spaulding. According to Steve’s book, “Most Evil: Avenger, Zodiac and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel,” his father not only killed those women but also served as the “Lipstick Killer” and the “Zodiac Killer,” in addition to other serial killers.
Early Childhood & Life
George Hill Hodel, Jr., the only child of George Hill Hodel, Sr. and Esther Hodel, was born on October 10, 1907, in Los Angeles, California.
When he was younger, he was a pianist prodigy who participated in several concerts at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium as a soloist. In front of Sergei Rachmaninoff, a musical legend, he performed at his grandparents’ home.
He was a gifted young man who earned a first-rate education. After receiving his medical degree, he opened his own clinic in a wealthy area of Los Angeles. He was acquaintances with a number of well-known people from Hollywood, such as the filmmaker John Huston and photographer Man Ray.
Home Life of George Hill Hodel
He had at least two children, a son Steve, and a daughter Tamar Nais Hodel, and was married four times.
Tamar accused Hodel of sexual molestation in 1949. Hodel was ultimately exonerated of all allegations following a lengthy trial that received much media coverage.
Murder of the Black Dahlia
The untimely drug overdose death of Hodel’s assistant Ruth Spaulding in 1945 piqued the notice of the authorities. Reports claim that Hodel engaged in financial fraud, including billing his patients for unnecessary testing. He was thought to have murdered Spaulding to hide his scams. He was never found guilty, though.
Before relocating to Los Angeles, Elizabeth Short, a native of Boston, lived in Florida and Massachusetts for a sizable portion of her life. Despite having no recorded performing credits during her time in Los Angeles, she was reportedly a budding actress. She was having an affair with Robert Manley, a married man, in January 1947. Together with him, she took a vacation to San Diego; she got back on January 9.
Her remains were found on a vacant lot on the west side of South Norton Avenue six days later. She was completely naked, and her body was split in half at the waist. Additionally, the blood had entirely dried up. The case attracted a lot of media and public interest. People were shocked, and the LAPD launched one of its largest-ever investigations.
There were initially more than 150 suspects. After thorough interviews, the authorities were able to reduce the list to 25. One of them was Hodel. As a result of his daughter Tamar’s involvement in his public trial, the police started to accuse him of killing Short. Due to his medical training—it had already been proved that only a skilled surgeon could have precisely divided Short’s body—he attracted particular attention.
Up until 2004, when the “George Hodel—Black Dahlia File” was discovered in the vault of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, neither the media nor the general public was aware of the inquiry. The file states that Hodel had become the main suspect in 1950, and an 18-person DA/LAPD task group kept an eye on him from 18 February to 27 March. His Hollywood home was covered in several listening devices. The recordings’ transcripts present a troubling portrait of Hodel. Along with performing illegal abortions, he allegedly bought off multiple law enforcement officers.
He had this to say about the murders he was being looked into for: “Let’s pretend I did murder the Black Dahlia. They are currently unable to substantiate it. My secretary is no longer available to speak with me because she passed away. They believed there was a red flag. They may have discovered it now, however. murdered her. Possibly, I did murder my secretary.”
He was one of the five suspects listed in the official report to the GJ in October 1949. The 1949 grand jury was unable to indict any of the identified suspects since the investigation was still ongoing. Despite this, Hodel fled the US in 1950 despite DA Lt. Frank Jemison having a strong case against him and planning to have him arrested. He spent a considerable amount of time in China before relocating to Manila, Philippines.
He and his fourth wife June arrived in the US in 1990. He passed away from heart failure on May 16, 1999, at his San Francisco, California, home. He had reached age 91.
Research by Steve Hodel
After Hodel’s passing, Steve, an LAPD detective for more than 23 years, made the decision that he wanted to learn more about his father. When Steve was nine years old, Hodel abandoned him along with his mother. He discovered an old album while sorting through his father’s stuff. In addition to the usual photographs of their family, he also found two images of a young woman with black hair. Elizabeth Short was there.
Steve started looking into the Black Dahlia case and discovered that Short had had hemicorporectomy, a drastic technique that involves amputating the body below the lumbar spine. When his father was a medical student in the 1930s, the procedure was taught. In addition, the individual who wrote letters to the media and the police claiming to be the murderer had his father’s handwriting in them.
Steve has been attempting to link his father to Short’s murder for the past 16 years. Seven books and a play are among the many works on the subject that he has written. Additionally, he updates his blog frequently.
He also claimed that his father was the Jigsaw Killer in Manila in the 1960s, the Zodiac Killer in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the Lipstick Killer in Chicago in the 1940s (William Heirens, an Illinois native, was found guilty of the crimes). While Steve’s hypothesis has a lot of proponents, it also has some critics.
M. Yves Person, a high school teacher in Paris, is said to have deciphered the coded message that the Zodiac Killer delivered to the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1970s in 2015. A person came to the conclusion that George Hodel had signed both the card and the envelope with his real name, “H O D E L,” in the ancient Celtic language of Ogham. “You Ache to Know My Name…I’ll Clue you in,” the note on the card reader.
Estimated net worth
The estimated net worth of George Hill Hodel is $1 Million.