A Dog May Have Cracked the Black Dahlia Case

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The so-called Black Dahlia murder mystery has haunted Los Angeles and captured the imaginations of unsolved-crime aficionados for almost 70 years. Now, a dog with a nose for murder might have turned up new evidence that could potentially solve the case, according to the Daily Beast.

Steve Hodel, a former Los Angeles police detective, has long believed his father was the man who murdered 22-year-old Elizabeth Short in 1947. Now he's hired Paul Dostie -- another former LAPD detective -- and Dostie's dog, Buster, to sniff out new evidence to prove that George Hodel was, indeed, the killer.

Dostie says that Buster has been trained to detect the smell of human decomposition. To Buster's keen nose, the smell of decomposing bones and blood can remain for many decades, allowing the dog to detect even very old evidence.

Hodel and Dostie brought Buster to George Hodel's old home, where Hodel believes his father might have committed the murder or disposed of evidence. Sure enough, Buster indicated the potential existence of clues in several parts of the house's basement. Soil samples from the basement are currently being tested for evidence.

Buster also "found" something at the front steps, the back of the house near some trees, and a retaining wall in an alley. "He lies down and points his nose at the source and waits for his toy," Dostie said. "I could tell the way he was whining that he smelled the scent on the front steps."

Hodel has been researching the Black Dahlia case, and his father's potential involvement in it, for years. George Hodel was indeed one of many suspects in the case, but no one was ever officially charged with the murder. If Buster's nose turns up anything definitive, one of the most famous murders in Los Angeles history could finally be closed.


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