Black Dahlia: Why Dr. George Hodel Didn’t Kill His Secretary

Ruth Spaulding Death Certificate

Here’s the May 9, 1945, death certificate of Ruth Frances Spaulding. Notice that the Los Angeles County coroner determined that Spaulding committed suicide at the age of 27.

If you have listened to Steve Hodel at all, you will have heard him say that Dr. George Hodel was a “suspect in the death of his secretary, Ruth Spaulding.”

Like so many things Steve Hodel says, this is a lie.

George Hodel wasn’t a suspect in the death of his secretary because nobody thought she was killed and therefore nobody was a suspect. Not George Hodel nor anyone else.

So how did she die?

Ruth Spaulding killed herself at her home, 1206 W. 2nd St., by barbital poisoning. “Ingestion of lethal dose of barbiturates.” She was transported to Georgia Street Receiving Hospital, the city’s main trauma hospital, and died two hours later.

Notice: Her death was investigated by the coroner, who determined that the cause was suicide. Nobody thought she was killed. And therefore nobody was a suspect.

Dr. George Hodel did not kill his secretary. Nobody did. She committed suicide. There you have it in black and white. Anything else is a lie.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1945, 1947, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Cold Cases, LAPD and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Black Dahlia: Why Dr. George Hodel Didn’t Kill His Secretary

  1. PETER NOWELL says:

    Any idea what her problem was?


    • lmharnisch says:

      No… Getting this far took an enormous amount of excavation. Only one newspaper carried an item on the suicide, which was typical. Newspapers reported suicides in those days but didn’t cover them all. The main point is that there was nothing suspicious about her death; certainly nothing that would implicate George Hodel. Which hasn’t stopped Steve Hodel from repeatedly claiming that his father was somehow “suspected.”


  2. Pingback: Black Dahlia: 6 Reasons Dr. George Hodel Didn’t Kill Elizabeth Short — No. 6 No Connection |

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