The Chilling Black Dahlia Murder Revisited
This week on a special, episode of BuzzFeed unsolved, true crime TNT's, i am the knight has asked us to take a closer look at a case we previously covered the infamous, murder of the Black Dahlia I am. The knight is a new limited series on TNT, inspired, by the incredible true, story of fauna hotel, a teenage, girl given, away at birth who makes a discovery about her past that leads her to question everything, her, search for her identity leads her to the heart of Hollywood's most infamous, unsolved murder the Black Dahlia and one of the prime suspects, in the case in this, episode we'll take a new look at the murder the suspects, and the pile of evidence that has yet to be enough to solve this case you, can't hide the truth. Now. Shame this was before your time on the show so, you. May not have seen this episode I have not that, do you know the case at all The Black Dahlia Hollywood. Murderer. And. It's. Gruesome it, is gruesome there. Was a movie I think it's, also a show oh. Yeah. TNT. I am the night the point I'm trying to get across he was a little bit shorter because it was one of the first episodes that was you making your little power points you know okay no need to get back, I'm. Just saying now we've been given the opportunity, to dive deep yeah I got my goggles on I'm ready to dive deep I got a scuba tank baby let's. Go digging around, 10. A.m. on, January, 15th, 1947. Betty Persinger, was taking her three-year-old, daughter and on a morning, errand, to the shoe repair store, near what's now the Crenshaw neighborhood, of Los Angeles as they passed an empty, lot on Norton Avenue Persinger, recalls quote I glanced. To my right and saw this very dead white body my, goodness, it was so white it, didn't look like anything, more than perhaps an artificial, model it was so white and separated. In the middle, and quit, rough, start to this story there's, a reason why we're going into the grisly details of this because they'll come well you got we take no pleasure in this we're not sickos. Yeah. I'm no I'm not why are you looking at me with that accusatory, glare yeah sometimes, I get a little worried about yeah the body of 22, year old Elizabeth Short, was lying face-up and naked, her body split, in half at the waist, she was oddly posed, with, her eyes open hands, above her head with elbows bent and legs, out straight and, spread apart she, had been hit over the head and pieces, of her flesh had been cut out at, the corners of her mouth there were three inch long slits, as gory. As the scene was there, was no blood it, appeared, that the body had been drained and scrubbed, before being placed where it was found, Betty Persinger went to a nearby home, and called the police to, report the body Persinger. Then continued, her errand, I would not be going to get my shoes repaired after that I would say that, if I saw something as traumatic as this I probably, need to you know go home. But. It is weird to be the first person to arrive on the scene because, when you call in you, are going to be the first suspect usually, well, she's, not gonna commit, a grisly, murder I'm her way to repair her, don't underestimate anybody, if history has taught us anything you don't underestimate anyone anyone can murder anyone can, murder Julia, Child do.
You Think she could murder if pressed, yeah I think you could murder if pressed I don't. Know if I found out today that you had murdered somebody I wouldn't be too, surprised, I think cause someone told you right. After. Identifying, the body by its fingerprints, with help from the FBI. The LAPD began. Circulating, a flier in the hopes of getting more information it. Described, short as quote 5 foot 6 inches, 118. Pounds black. Hair green. Eyes very. Attractive, bad, lower teeth fingernails. Chewed too quick end quote, eventually. More, information, about the woman began to emerge, originally. From Medford Massachusetts, Elizabeth. Short moved to Hollywood some, say in the hopes of stardom, like many actresses she had worked as a waitress, and a cashier, and, dealt with periods, of unemployment as, she struggled, to get minor acting, roles that's Hollywood. That's. Tinseltown, you moved from Chicago here. With the same hopes of stardom, yeah you did also take an improv comedy class as well right I did to meet people, you follow the Wi-Fi PlayBook in LA Oh a hundred percent and I'll tell you what I did meet some of the most insufferable, people. Had, an improv class I can't believe that but they also met me and I wish that uh no one okay, all right it, was common at the time for, newspapers to bestow nicknames, on murder cases the, papers called her The Black Dahlia, due, to reports, that she often wore sleek black clothing and had striking dyed black hair the, autopsy, on the body provided a chilling glimpse into, shorts, final moments, officially. Short, died of hemorrhage and shock marks. On her legs wrists neck and right thigh suggested, she had been bound in tortured, the slits at the corners of her mouth were made while she was still alive she. Had also suffered a concussion from, blows to her head reports. Say that the cuts were clean raising. Suspicions, early on that someone, with surgical, skills, may have been responsible. Likes. Gruesome. One thing too to mine from that yeah if you wade through all the grisly, details which are upsetting is that. Whoever did this had, surgical, skills this. Was not committed. By someone you, know who, just picked up a knife at the hardware store this is somebody who knew what he was doing he knew Anatomy, sure so, that's, gonna come in big, later in the case okay I wouldn't want to be a detective, I have no aspirations, to be in law some of the most disgusting, stuff I've ever heard, it's gross yeah it's much easier to be an asshole sitting behind a desk like we are yeah, the. Gory details and proximity, to the glamour of Hollywood, cause shorts murder to become a huge, story, making. Page one headlines, in Los Angeles for a full, month feeding. This sensation, was the apparent murderer, themself, nine. Days after her body was found an envelope, arrived, at the offices, of the Los Angeles examiner.
It Contains, some of shorts belongings, including, her social security card birth, certificate. Photos, and an address, book, was missing a few pages all, of, the items have been cleaned of fingerprints. Using gasoline and the envelope, had been addressed using cut out letters taken from movie advertisements. All told. 13, letters were sent to the police and press taunting. Them as the investigation. Unfolded, many, signed Black, Dahlia Avenger, we're. Dealing with a great áááhole, here the mob was all over the town you got dirty cops the, whole town is filthy. Yeah greedy corrupt. Maybe that's why that woman went to go get her shoes repaired, it's probably the fifth dead body she'd seen that week. About. That one, other thing that we should talk about is the address-book had a few missing pages what, means what could, could the killer have been in her address book yeah he probably knew her for a little bit there were many suspects, throughout the investigation. It's been estimated that hundreds, were questioned, and cleared the, police contacted. About 75. Men listed, in the address, book that was sent to the Los Angeles examiner, the majority, of them said they'd met short only briefly, going, out on a dinner date or to the movies but, that things had ended before they went any further during. The case the FBI investigated. Approximately. 300. USC, medical school students, though, it seems nothing came of this at one, point fingerprints. Were found on one of the Dalia letters sent to police the. FBI race to match these prints with an identity but, the fingerprints, were not in their files so they were unable to find, a match eventually. The case went cold after. More than 70, years I think, there are three main suspects, worth examining the, first is a salesman, and former Army musician, Robert Redman. Lee his, relationship, with short began about a month before short was murdered when Manley noticed her outside a bus station in San Diego, and asked. If she wanted a ride, according. To Manly at first, short, would not speak to him but he was persistent and she eventually did, get into his car for, the next month Manley would take short on dates when he was in town in San Diego, when, the place where short had been staying in San Diego suddenly, fell through short.
Contacted, Manley and asked, him to come pick her up Manley, said next they both stayed platonically. In a tell in pacific beach after which, manly drove them both to los angeles there. He says he brought short to the Biltmore Hotel and left her there at about 6:30, on the evening of January 9th, as, far as the investigation was ever able to ascertain, that is the last place short, was seen alive six. Days before her body was discovered, when. Questioned by the police, manly pleaded his innocence, and willingly, took to polygraph, tests both indicating. That he was telling the truth, years later in 1954. Doctors. Gave manly, sodium, pentothol at one point thought, to be a truth, drug that. Would induce honesty, and questioned. Him about the case again. It seemed manly was innocent. Didn't they determine, that's pretty much baloney that's some professor snape shit it's not real I do wonder what the effects of it are you know we should do huh we should inject you full of truth serum and then ask you if you think ghosts you're real do, you think I'm lying about that sometimes, I make you're lying to yourself hmm now. I know this isn't the season for that it's not the season manly, died on january, 9th, 1986. After an accidental, fall in his apartment in Anaheim, California, 39. Years to the day after he last saw short alive at the Biltmore now, that sounds like a coincidence, an accidental. Fall on the anniversary of the last time he saw somebody he was accused of murdering oh so, you think he maybe was. Remorseful. And, jump, I'm not saying that it. Could go beyond coincidence that's all I'll say or the thing though is if I'm living in Anaheim, and I've got a balcony and I'm smoking, cigars, because it's the 80s and I grew up in Hollywood, in the 40s, and 50s yeah yeah I'm addicted to every substance known to man and I'm, out there on my balcony in Anaheim it's a miracle, that I'm not going over that thing any, given day of the week well, you got the fireworks to keep you on the balcony Oh from Disneyland. In. 1997. For the 50th anniversary of the murder the LA Times interviewed, Ralph Osdol, the last living detective, from the original investigation, as they'll. Claim that within weeks he, found the man he believed to be the murderer as Dahl had received a few tips in a description of a man witnesses, noticed, near the empty lot where short was discovered, other, witnesses, described seeing a black car around dawn as, Dale found a man matching that description whose. Car which had been recently repainted, also, look like the one described, because. As Dale had no hard evidence and only, a hunch to go on he was unable to confront, his suspect, but as of 1997. He, believed that this, mystery, man was the black dahlia murderer, great. Insight provided by as Dale here you're not a big fan of this one, he's the last living detective, from the original investigation he spent 50 years having, his nose rubbed in it and now, in the end he is just like yeah I knew who was all along can't. Tell you his name but I know if that's true kind, of a bad detective yeah. The, third and final suspect is well known to even those only casually, familiar, with the case dr.. George Hodel, many. Who worked on the case over the years believe they interacted, with the real killer at some point perhaps, no one feels stronger, than Steve Hodel, after. Retiring as an LAPD, homicide detective. Having, worked on over 300. Murder cases, Steve, Hodel published, his research claiming, the murderer was one George, Hodel the, detectives, own father. This. Is juicy. Can. You imagine being, a detective, working. Your ass off on this case he's got a big board and suddenly, he takes the yarn on the board and just where. Am I putting this on a photo. Of my father I, know oh well. He wasn't assigned, to the case this is something he took on after he retired interesting, okay his. Dad also as you will soon, find out was a bit of an asshole and it made, sense why he would suspect his father of being capable of something horrible, George. Hodel was a wealthy, doctor in Los Angeles described. As a well-connected, dashing. Man with, high IQ, George, was, in charge of a venereal disease clinic in LA which, supposedly, gave, him knowledge of the sexual, lives of people ranging from local sex workers to the city's elite, while, George wasn't, a practicing, surgeon he, was reported, to have breezed, through Medical, School where, he'd studied to be one yeah, I got murder after, George hotels death his, son Steve, found, two photos of a woman who Steve believed to be Elizabeth, Short the Black Dahlia.
He Began investigating, coming, to believe that his father had. A romantic, relationship with short, and that they had been spotted together at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles so. George's son is looking. Through his dad's photo albums, and he comes across two pictures that look strikingly, similar to Elizabeth Short now I will say I have not seen any confirmation, that they are in fact Elizabeth. Short did they run these past in a ransom they I seen that they ran past a couple experts, but no one conclusively, said yes but they also didn't say conclusively no, are they a little more revealing than that photo of the back of Amelia, Earhart's, head that you tried to pass off as if I didn't say I tried to pass that okay that wasn't mine you see her face in these things though we do you see her face hmm. Yes. You have his profession, which gives him a unique, insight mm-hmm and then you have these photos and then, you have the claims that they had been seen together at places. No so he, obviously knew, her at, the very least George, Hodel would have had the medical training needed to produce the surgical mutilation. Performed, on shorts, body and that, is only the beginning, steve has suggested, that George is also, responsible, for the murder of Jean French which, occurred a mere, three weeks after shorts. On February. 10th, like. Short French, received blunt-force trauma, to the head and her body was also found, oddly posed, in a vacant lot early, one morning, French's. Body bore the initials, B D possibly. Thought to stand for black dahlia written. In red lipstick, yeah, yeah, B D sure, yeah, I'll take it did, they send any letters following. That one no but, the. Actual, writing of BD. Is going to come into play the, penmanship, of it, notes. Allegedly, sent by the killer after, the murder match hotels handwriting. According, to handwriting analysis, performed by one forensic, expert, hired by Steve Hodel that, expert. Also believed, that the BD initials, written on gene French's body matched, George hotels handwriting. Now, that. Comes with obviously the disclaimer that it was a handwriting. Expert hired, by the person who was purporting, the theory yeah, but. Are they're crooked. I. Can't see why this person would be. Would. Aid in the miscarriage, of justice right, right, that doesn't make any sense to me if you're a handwriting expert you, got, to do your best yeah how many jobs are you getting I, I also I don't know if this is weird but I think there's more weight to it because, it's his son doing the accusing I think, it could be less because one against blood well, it could show a personal, vendetta if, this guy had a bad childhood which, is strong, but. This he. Was not even a whole he's not a good dad evidence, was found that hotel had 50 pound sacks of concrete, sent to his home for remodeling, on january, 9th, 1947.
The, Last day short, was seen alive and, less, than one week before her body was found, Hodel, son has claimed that there were similar bags found near shorts body that police speculated. Could have been used to carry shorts, body from the car to the lot what's. More George, drove a black 1936. Packard, that looked similar to the descriptions, of the black car that had been seen at dawn near the empty lot wear shorts body was found Steve's, research, pointed out similarities, between house shorts body was found and works by George's reported, friend surrealist, artist, man ray the. Dahlias arms, were posed above her head, not unlike man Ray's photograph, possessed, by MoMA Minotaur. As, for the slits on dahlias, mouth they could have been inspired by the artists painting, Observatory, time the lovers according. To Steve George, idolized. Man Ray and wanted, to be an artist himself could. The Black Dahlia have, been George's, sick attempt, at art, one, of George's daughters Tamar Hotel recalled, her father hosting, huge parties, at their Hollywood adjacent, home, with guests including, man-ray as well as movie stars Tamar. Also, claimed she had posed for nude photos, for Man Ray when she was a child after running away from home in 1949, Tamar, reported, her father to the police telling. Them he had tried to teach her about oral, sex at the age of eleven that he had offered her to his friends, for sex when she was 14, and that George himself had, had sex with her if. This man is not a murderer, he's, obviously a bad man yeah this guy is awful, surprised, these kids didn't get together and just kill their dad well. One of them said hey maybe I'll indict, him for murder, no. I got it. Yeah. As a side note at, age, 15, Tamar, gave birth to a baby girl in San Francisco, that girl, fauna, hotel would, be adopted, by a family in, Nevada and not, know the story of her biological grandfather. Until, much later when, conducting research of, her own. Do. We know who her father is I'm. Not saying this is what happened but it's possible, that, Tamar, since, she claims that George, had had sex with her at the age of 14 and gave, birth to a baby, at 15 it's possible, that. The father of that baby which is fauna hotel, could, have been George, her grandfather, oh this guy's a real piece of shit Ryan do, you see why I said, Steve, Hodel may have a conflict of interest now yeah now I get I thought you were just like oh oh. He's. A monster yeah he's a he's a monster yeah George, Hodel was ultimately, acquitted of incest, charges, after several, other family, members testified that Tamar, was lying there are those who have stated however that, the family could have been motivated to do so because George, was the breadwinner supporting. The family in, 1950. A few, years after the black dahlia murder George. Hodel moved, or perhaps fled, to the Philippines, perhaps. Not so coincidentally a woman, murdered in Manila, in 1967. Reportedly, was also, found bisected.
And Posed, in an empty lot just, like the black dahlia Steve. Claims that at the time George, Hodel was living just a half-mile away from, the I'm Z in, 2012. Steve, Hodel visited, his childhood home with a production, crew another, former police officer, and a search dog that picked up the scent of human decomposition in, multiple, locations on the property, such, as the Le way in back of the house according. To doctor Arpad Vass a leading, forensic anthropologist. Who helped pioneer chemical. Analysis, of human decomposition this. Does not technically, indicate, that remains are located, where the search dog found the sense because, the markers the dog detects, can move carried, by water and other forces over, the decades, however, VAS himself, analyzed, a soil sample taken from the alley behind the home and found that it was positive for human remains though. The sample indicated, a death that occurred anywhere from 20 to 100 years ago quite, likely beside, the point but I always feel bad for those dogs that got a sniff dead bodies all day yeah, I mean that's definitely not preferable, to the ones that have to sniff for like cocaine. Cocaine those dogs. After. Hearing, about the George Hodel theory LA Times reporter, Steve Lopez went to the Los Angeles DA, and was given access to case files and grand jury documents. In the, files he, found a photo, of George Hodel listing. Him among 21, other suspects, Lopez. Also found records indicating, that the LAPD. Had snuck listening, devices into hotels home undetected. And listened, to hotel for, 40, days in 1950. Not, long before he left for the Philippines, the. Recordings, do not exist anymore but, transcripts, of the recordings, were left in the DA's files, Lopez. Says one of the transcripts, had recorded Hotel saying quote supposing. I did kill, the Black Dahlia they couldn't prove it now they, can't talk to my secretary because. She's dead end quote. Well, you. Know people. Don't usually say, stuff like that it, sounds like dialogue, written for a villain like that's something that a normal person doesn't say. Another. Transcript, describes what may have been the sound of a woman being attacked in the houses basement. According. To a CBS 48.
Hour Special, on the case, the investigation. Into hotels, possible, ties too short was shut down abruptly, in 1950. With, one of the lead investigators stating. That the recordings, taken from hotels home eliminated. Him as a suspect if, that, sounds suspicious, to you you're not alone George's. Son claims his father via his connections, and occupation. Had knowledge about corruption in the LAPD and, their ties to prostitution. And abortion, rings and that the police covered, of hotels guilt to avoid their own dirty laundry being aired indeed. Some, officers, in the LAPD were notoriously, corrupt in the early 20th century and the transcripts, from the bugs left in hotels house also, reportedly, quote George's saying this is the best payoff I've seen between law enforcement agencies, I'd, like to get a connection made in the DA's office and. On, the nose there sounds. Like, it. It's. George Hodel. Again. Why does it always come back to evidence. Being gone what happened to the tapes they. Conveniently, fell, in the trash well seeing, that these tapes say this about the LAPD who is then in charge of the chain of custody of certain tapes yeah it makes sense in a sense to me that those tapes would, vanish yeah upsetting. But, then again when you look at that and you see oh the tapes disappeared, while they are in the custody of your, establishment. That only makes you look bad so regardless, don't care they. Don't care yeah cops don't care I guess no lending. Credibility to, the corruption allegation, according, to the 48 hours investigation. The LAPD, admits, that much, of the physical evidence from, the black dahlia case, is not with the files it's, unclear, where it is or why, it would be missing, pretty, clear I understand, you know there's bureaucracy. You got to fill out forms stuff goes places, oh do we put that on this shelf or that shelf I don't know but. They probably have some pretty good systems, in place yeah the police you. Should be able to keep track of these things, if, we could assess, anything out of that it's that Shaima de believes the, LAPD are crooked, wait, no while. There are some doubts as to whether the photographs, found in George's photo album are actually, of the black dahlia or if, his handwriting does match the letter sent to the police and press there's, enough cause for suspicion without, those, leads to keep the lens focused, on George Hodel after. Reviewing the hotel case Steven, K the then LA County head deputy da who'd, prosecuted, murder cases for over 35, years, stated, he believed the case had been solved, speaking, for himself not the DA's office quote, I would have no reservations, about filing two counts of murder against, dr. George Hodel end quote, Steven, K thrown. It on the team I mean I commend, him, but at the same time duh George. Hodel returned, to the United States from the Philippines, around 1990. He, died in 1991. At the age of 91, I've always wondered since, they found the fingerprints, on that Dalia letter can't, they take little George's finkies and put him on the thing and see if they match well now there bones. Well, I'm sure they have George's fingerprints, on file do they they have to it was he ever brought in for anything he was a suspect, yeah. Today. The case is still open but, it has been decades since authorities, were actively, investigating. Perhaps most frustrating, is the sentiment, expressed by, John Douglas former. Head of the FBI's, serial, Crimes Division and one of the nation's leading experts on profiling. Violent crimes Douglass. Notes that so much information, can be ascertained, from the murderers interactions, and time he spent with the body that today, the crime would be quote very, solvable and quote. The Black Dahlia Murder riveted. The nation and continues, to fascinate sleuths, today was. The Black Dahlia merely, the most infamous murder at the hands of dr., George Hodel or is, there, another answer out, there lost to time for, now the, case remains. Unsolved. What. Are you gonna do charge, George Hodel with two counts of murder according to the DA chisel. Into his gravestone, also. A murderer yeah I mean maybe I don't know what you do part, of Justice is forcing. Penance upon the person who did the deed, right sure, there's, no justice. Sleep, tight everybody, oh no. Way here we go okay. Yeah. Another part of justice is that the living descendants, of the. People who, had the, act. Committed against them now they could find solace that the true perpetrator.
Has, Been pointed, out place. That's something it's good for the living descendants, closure. Check. Out I am, the night on TNT. With. Chris Pine that. Guy is, okie, he's. Got nice eyes.