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My dad killed 'Black Dahlia,' detective says

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 13, 2003


LOS ANGELES -- A retired homicide detective says his physician father committed the notorious "Black Dahlia" murder, which has been unsolved for half a century.

In a new book, Steve Hodel says he believes the late Dr. George Hodel was a serial killer who may have committed 20 unsolved murders in the 1940s and 1950s.

"I'm asking the press and the detectives to now take up that responsibility and reopen the murder books and continue the investigations so that all of us may know the truth," Hodel said Friday.

In Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story, the former Los Angeles police detective states that his father killed 22-year-old aspiring actor Elizabeth Short in a fit of jealousy. Acquaintances nicknamed Short the "Black Dahlia" because of her black clothing and the flower she wore in her hair.

Her body, severed at the waist and nearly drained of blood, was found in a vacant lot in 1947. Authorities said her face and body had been slashed, apparently while she was alive.

Many authors have claimed to have discovered Short's killer. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office said even if Hodel's claims are true, his father's 1999 death leaves no one to prosecute.

Steve Hodel said he began investigating his father after his death, when he found in George Hodel's belongings two photographs of a woman who he believes is Short.

Detective Brian Carr, who oversees the files of the case, said he was unable to determine whether the photographs were of Short.

Hodel also alleged similarities in notes written by his father and one the killer supposedly sent to a newspaper after the murder.

Bus crash injures 37 soldiers near Fort Drum

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- A bus carrying soldiers to a Fort Drum firing range crashed just outside the military post Saturday, injuring all 37 soldiers onboard and the civilian driver.

The Army reservists from Company A, 479th Engineer Battalion, of Canandaigua, New York, were on the bus when it crashed at an intersection about 8 a.m. No other vehicles were involved.

The driver and 34 of the soldiers were treated at hospitals and released, according to a Fort Drum statement. State Police were investigating the cause of the crash.

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