Former Los Angeles police department detective Steve Hodel has spent the last 15 years cataloguing evidence that his dad killed Elizabeth Short – and others.
While law enforcement officials disagree about whether Steve Hodel is a brilliant vigilante or an obsessive crackpot – no one has been able to prove him wrong.
That fact has been all the encouragement Steve needs to keep digging.
The celebrity status of Short’s death was driven in part by a relentlessness media.
The Los Angeles Record carried related items on its front page for 31 consecutive days and sales of newspapers surged as the LAPD’s investigation continued.
Part of the intrigue came from the unprecedented brutality of her murder.
Before she was killed Short had been forced to eat feces.
Flesh and pubic hair had been shaved off her body and inserted into her vagina and rectum.
Short’s uterus was removed.
Long gashes extended her mouth into an eerie smile.
‘It’s the body itself which laid the groundwork for endless generations of Black Dahlia zealots’ the writer John Gilmore told an interviewer.
‘It’s like this tremendous bizarre magnet’.