George Hill Hodel
- Category : 1907-births
- Type : ME
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (20,55)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 3
American physician, the prime suspect during the murder investigation of Elizabeth Short, which became known as the "Black Dahlia" murder. He was born to Russian parents George Hodel, Sr., and Esther Hodel. Their only son, he was well educated and bright (scoring 186 on an early IQ test). He was also a musical prodigy, playing solo piano concerts at Los Angeles's Shrine Auditorium. Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff traveled to his grandparents' house to hear the boy play. Hodel moved in affluent Los Angeles society, friends of people such as Man Ray and John Huston.
He came under police scrutiny in October 1949, when his 14-year-old daughter, Tamar, accused him of molesting her. Three witnesses testified at his trial that they were present in the room and saw him having sex with Tamar. Another witness, who had previously admitted that she had participated in sex acts with Tamar, recanted and refused to testify. Hodel was acquitted of the charges in December 1949. The molestation case led the LAPD to include Hodel, a physician specializing in public health and sexually transmitted diseases, among its many suspects in the Dahlia case. Authorities put Hodel under surveillance from 18 February to 27 March 1950, including the installation of two microphones in his home, monitored by over 18 detectives, to ascertain whether he could be implicated in the murder.
In 2004 the LAPD acknowledged that Hodel was originally investigated for the suspected murder (forced overdose by pills) of his secretary, Ruth Spaulding in 1945, but fled to China, which terminated the original investigation. Just before he was to be arrested in April 1950 for the Black Dahlia murder, Hodel left the country again. He remained in Asia for the next forty years.
After Hodel died, his son Steve, a former LAPD homicide detective, wanted to learn more about his father. In the process he uncovered information that led him to believe his father was Elizabeth Short's killer. During Steve Hodel's investigation, he learned that his father may have killed more than once. George Hodel is suspected of being the Lipstick killer and the Zodiac Killer, and may have been responsible for other murders.
In 1990, Hodel, Jr. and his fourth wife, June, returned to the U.S. from Manila. He died on 16 May 1999 at age ninety-one of heart failure.