'Black Dahlia' Murder Home: Is John Sowden House in Los Angeles Where Elizabeth Short Was Killed?


John Sowden House

A possible break in the decades-old "Black Dahlia" murder case puts the spotlight back on the John Sowden House in Los Angeles, the home where 22-year-old Elizabeth Short (pictured below with a companion in an undated photo) is believed to have been killed in 1947. The San Bernardino Sun reported on Friday that a trained dog sniffed out the scent of human decomposition at the home once owned by George Hill Hodel, the prime suspect in the Black Dahlia case. Hodel was never charged in the murder. He has since died.

Elizabeth Short, the Black DahliaHodel's son, Steve Hodel, wrote a book called The Black Dahlia Avenger, accusing his father of murdering Short after their relationship went sour. Short's body was reportedly found cut in half and drained of blood in a vacant lot in L.A. The case dominated newspaper headlines for months, but it has remained unsolved for 66 years. Steve Hodel, a former Los Angeles Police Department detective, recently teamed up with retired police Sgt. Paul Dostie and a Labrador retriever named Buster to search the basement of his father's former home. That's when the dog immediately picked up the smell, Steve Hodel claimed.

"It certainly seems like someone was murdered there," Dostie told The San Bernardino Sun. "Something happened." The John Sowden House has been shrouded in the mystery of the Black Dahlia all this time. It has switched hands a few times over the years, selling most recently for $3.85 million, according to online listing site Redfin. Designer Xorin Balbes used to own the place and poured more than $2 million into two renovations of the home, Curbed reported. The Sowden House, built in 1927, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


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