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Black Dahlia Case Solved? Cadaver Dog Finds Evidence Of Human Decomposition

Black Dahlia Case Solved? Cadaver Dog Finds Evidence Of Human Decomposition

The Black Dahlia case may have been solved 70 years after the infamous murder took place. The murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947 is the oldest cold case in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, retired detective Steve Hodel believes that the murderer in the Black Dahlia case is none other than his own father, Doctor George Hodel. Mr. Hodel believes that Elizabeth Short was murdered in the Sowden House, his childhood home, and that the only reason he got away with the Black Dahlia slaying was because of connections to the local police.

According to the International Business Times, George Hodel’s home was bugged by the police, and he was overheard telling an unidentified visitor, “Supposin’ I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn’t prove it now. They can’t talk to my secretary because she’s dead.” A District Attorney General agreed to re-open the Black Dahlia case due to Steve Hodel’s evidence, with the focus being on a cadaver dog named Buster trained to find traces of human decomposition.

Retired police Sgt. Paul Dostie worked with a search dog named Buster at the Sowden House. According to The Sun, Buster was trained using cemeteries where he could smell the chemicals released by human decomposition decades after they were buried six feet deep. Buster alerts searchers to a find by lying down and pointing his nose at the source while waiting for a reward. Historians have used Buster to search the site of the Battle of the Bulge, the Barker Ranch home of Charles Manson and his followers, and many other places around the world.

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Dostie told the San Bernardino Sun it’s possible that test results coming next week will put the Black Dahlia case to rest:

“”Buster immediately took off … indicating he had picked up the scent of human decomposition. … It certainly seems like someone was murdered there. Something happened. Buster immediately took off … and ran to a vent located at the southwest corner of the property where he alerted, indicating he had picked up the scent of human decomposition. … I could tell the way he was whining that he smelled the scent on the front steps.”

The only limitation to Buster’s body searching capabilities is that he can only point out signs of human decomposition in general. In a criminal trial, Buster cannot point to a specific person, which is necessary for the Black Dahlia case to be declared solved. But Hodel believes that “Buster is alerting to blood. … We have established as fact that the basement … some 66 years after the murder, still holds the smell of death.” Hodel took soil samples from the basement of the home and sent the evidence to a lab for analysis.

Do you think that Steve Hodel has enough evidence that the Black Dahlia case might be solved?

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6 Responses to “Black Dahlia Case Solved? Cadaver Dog Finds Evidence Of Human Decomposition”

  1. Ray Valverde

    Steve Hodel has spent a lot of time trying to convince people that his father George Hodel was the Black Dahlia killer. Unfortunately for Mr. Hodel, his evidence is less than convincing by anyone who spends a little time doing their research. Being a Native Angelino, the case has always been a source of interest. I have spent some time researching several sites regarding the case and can say, with complete certainty that George Hodel had absolutely 'nothing' to do with the Black Dahlia Murder.
    Let's look at all of Hodel's evidence. First, the reason he started looking at his father as the suspect, the photo, he found in the house, of a young brunette. Hodel claims that the photo is of Elizabeth Short, looking at the photo, I would never have come to that conclusion. The only thing the girl ion the photo and Elizabeth Short have in common is that they are brunette's. Facial recognition software was used on the photo, the facial dimensions of the girl in the photo do not match Beth Short's. Hodel still claims it is her. His only other piece of evidence was a tape of George Hodel claiming, if he had done it no one would ever know it was him. Pretty convincing? Not at all. Lastly, this article, a cadaver dog found something. How could a retired detective deduce, based on such poor leads, that George Hodel is the killer? Only if the claim is going to get him face time on TV. James Ellroy, crime novelist, wrote novel based on the Black Dahlia case, who at first, went along with Hodel's claim, later stated he no longer believed that George Hodel was the killer. So what actual physical evidence does Hodel have that conclusively prooves his claim? A photo of a brunette and a comment on a tape, that sounds more like a man bragging about how slick he is to friends. Neither would be enough to get you more than 20 minutes of questioning by LAPD detectives, much less an indictment in the case. But it has gotten his name mentioned, merely because he insists his evidence is incontrovertible. Really? LAPD records show that the tapes recorded of George Hodel, only go to prove that he was not the killer.

    "After his father died in 1999, Steve Hodel acquired his father's private photo album, which contained two snapshots of a dark-haired woman. Hodel claims the woman was Short, but Short's family has refuted his claims."

    "Not getting as much media play are people who don’t believe the pictures are of Elizabeth Short, among them family members and longtime Dahlia buffs. As reported by the Weekly in April, neither Detective Brian Carr, keeper of the LAPD’s Black Dahlia files, nor John Gilmore, author of Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder, buy Hodel’s claim that the disputed pictures are of the Dahlia. While their dissent may be expected, now even Short and Hodel family members are coming out against the photos.
    The Dahlia’s surviving sisters posted a statement on Dahlia buff Larry Harnisch’s Web site ( rebuking Hodel’s claims that the snaps are of Elizabeth Short. The statement was confirmed by Short’s niece, who, like her relatives, prefers to stay out of the media’s Dahlia-glazed eyes and asked us not to reveal her name.
    “If we thought for a minute any of it would help solve the case, we would do anything we could, but we believe it [Hodel’s book] is just another case of someone trying to profit from the story,” she explains. “Betty was my mother’s sister. I have not read the book, but both my mother and I have looked at the two photos that he claims are of Betty. They are not Betty. Not even close.”.
    Lemons, Stephen. "Black Dahlia Backlash: Family members take Hodel's 'Avenger' to task," LA Weekly, July 10, 2003.

    Steve Hodel may have once been a decent detective, but he has absolutely nothing that puts Beth Short, in the Snowden House or any where near his father. 75 years later, the most famous unsolved murder in Los Angeles, is still no closer to being solved. One site regarding the Black Dahlia case, 'The Black Dahlia Solution' covers evidence, either found at the scene or, that was recovered during the investigation.
    Beth Short was found naked, drained of blood and cut in half, in Los Angeles around the intersection of 39th and Norton. Her body was posed, legs pointing in the direction of Degnan Street. Short had been to Chicago a year previous, claiming to be a reporter looking into the murder of Suzanne Degnan by convicted serial killer William Heirens. Coincidence?
    In short, I have serious doubts that the Black Dahlia Murder is ever going to be solved, especially based on such weak evidence. Steve Hodel comes off as a glory hound who is still trying to make a buck on one of the most notorious unsolved crimes in Los Angeles history. I am sure, if I had the inclination to do so, I could find enough shaky circumstantial evidence to show that Charles Manson and John Lennon worked together to kill Beth Short. But that wouldn't necessarily make it true, would it?

  2. Robyn Sheppard

    " I am sure, if I had the inclination to do so, I could find enough shaky circumstantial evidence to show that Charles Manson and John Lennon worked together to kill Beth Short. But that wouldn't necessarily make it true, would it?"

    No, because "everybody knows" they couldn't have done it–they were too busy poisoning Marilyn Monroe and trying to pin it on Bobby Kennedy.

  3. Ray Valverde

    That was them? All this time I thought Manson staged the auto accidents that killed James Dean and Jayne Mansfield. Mind officially blown…..

  4. George Vreeland Hill

    I hope they solve the case, but unless they tie whatever was found to Elizabeth Short, then this means nothing.
    Also, they would have to tie the evidence, if proven to come from Short, to Hodel.
    To make matters worse, George Hill Hodel has been dead for years.
    It seems like they are on to something, but speculation is not the same as proof.
    Unless there is proof, this will only be another theory about the Black Dahlia.

    George Vreeland Hill.

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