Q: Mr. Hodel, I recently read in a blog that you claim the photographs in your book on page 79, were sent in by the Black Dahlia killer to the newspapers. They were not. What gives? Did you make a mistake?
A: No. Your information is incorrect and totally misstates the facts as I presented them.
I never claimed the photographs shown in my book were mailed to the press. I said they were removed by the press from her photo albums. I quote from pages 78-79 of Most Evil:
Pg. 78: “I asked her [handwriting QDE expert] to examine handwriting samples that appeared on four snapshots that had been removed by newspaper reporters from Elizabeth Short’s personal photo albums back in 1947. These four original Elizabeth Short snapshots were eventually sold as part of a Los Angeles Examiner’s archive collection and put up for auction years later in February 2003, when I acquired them. These four snapshots were all originally owned by Elizabeth Short. All four were pasted into one of her several personal photo albums that were recovered by police during the early stages of the 1947 investigation.
I then go on to explain that these four photographs were “part of a set of five separate photographs mentioned in the DA secret files that were mailed in by “ The “Avenger”…
Let’s set aside the issue of the inked handwriting on these four photographs for the moment. [Both I and the handwriting expert believe the names and notations on the photographs were written by George Hodel. The common belief until this new evidence came forward was that the handwriting on the photos was that of Elizabeth Short or possibly newspaper reporters from the Examiner.] What the documentation in the DA Files establishes is that- Elizabeth Short’s killer at some time before her death had access to and at least temporary possession of her photo albums and removed the other five photographs which he kept and later mailed to the “Examiner and other newspapers.” We know this because the writer also made notations on the actual black paper inside the photo album, which was later photographed and preserved. (See evidence photo below.) Journalists, not aware that the suspect had access to her personal albums speculated that the photographs may have been carried by her in her purse. The purse was not mailed in and was left by her killer outside a restaurant on Crenshaw Blvd in a direct line and halfway between where Elizabeth Short’s body was found and George Hodel’s private residence.
DA Black Dahlia Files- “The five separate photographs”
Seen below are the “five separate photos” which I reference as being sent in by “Avenger” to the L.A. Examiner newspaper. I have placed the appropriate LAPD item numbers from the secret DA Files for identification purposes.
SKH Note- Photo number 20 is “the unidentified man” confused by many as being, “Mr. Barnes” the individual that checked into a hotel with Elizabeth Short on January 12, 1947. This “strip photo” was enlarged and used by the press to identify Elizabeth Short (only) which lead to the original confusion. A second half of this same strip photo was found in Elizabeth’s photo album later recovered from storage. Both LAPD in 1947 and I in 2005 personally interviewed and eliminated the man in the photo after establishing this photo with Elizabeth Short was taken circa 1946, in Indianapolis, Indiana and the man was never in Los Angeles. See FAQ numbers FAQ 10.1 and FAQ 23.1 for details on the man seen in the photo.