Meet the Hosts of Facing Evil
In The Episode
Trevor Young 00:04
You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeart Radio and TenderfootTV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the individuals participating in the show, and do not represent those of iHeartRadio or TenderfootTV. This podcast contains subject matter which may not be suitable for everyone. Listener discretion is advised.
Rasha Pecoraro 00:27
From TenderfootTV and iHeart Radio, introducing Facing Evil. I'm Rasha Pecoraro.
Yvette Gentile 00:34
And I'm Yvette Gentile.
Rasha Pecoraro 00:36
For those of you who don't know who we are, we suggest you give a listen to our hit podcast Root of Evil, the true story of the Hodel family and the Black Dahlia.
Yvette Gentile 00:46
Yes, Rasha and I are sisters. And in 2019, we hosted Root of Evil, together to help tell the story of our family, which is a crazy story if you haven't listened to Root of Evil.
Rasha Pecoraro 00:52
And a crazy family,
Yvette Gentile 00:55
And a crazy family. Listen to it. Yes. And it's really a story about overcoming incredible family secrets, murder. And when I say so much more, it's so much more.
Rasha Pecoraro 01:14
Specifically, the podcast is a multi dimensional story about our connection to George Hodel, the prime suspect in the Black Dahlia Murder case, which is also known as the Elizabeth Short murder case.
Yvette Gentile 01:27
And George Hodel was our great grandfather. And you must know that Rasha I never met our great grandfather, nor did our mother.
Rasha Pecoraro 01:35
She stalked him on the phone though.
Yvette Gentile 01:36
Yes. But in Root of Evil, we track the evidence for George's guilt. And we try to come to terms with the impact that he had on our entire family. We also tell the story of our beautiful mother Fauna Hodel and how she protected us our entire lives from this immense craziness that she discovered.
Rasha Pecoraro 01:59
We'll talk a little more about that case in a moment. But first, let's explain what we're doing here with you today.
Yvette Gentile 02:04
Yes, this is our new podcast, and it's called Facing Evil. It'll be very different from Root of Evil. While we focus primarily on our story in that podcast, in Facing Evil, we want to explore other cases and bring attention to missing and murdered people who don't get talked about. We also want to talk about older cases, obviously new cases, society and culture cases.
Rasha Pecoraro 02:34
After Root of Evil finished, Yvette and I realized that we were not alone in our story. There are hundreds, even 1000s of families who face tragedy every single year, whether they were a victim themselves close to a victim or even close to a suspect. Learning that someone you love was involved in a violent crime is never an easy truth to swallow.
Yvette Gentile 02:54
Right. And so we want to share the difficult lessons we've learned throughout our healing process because it's a journey. It's a never ending journey. And we want to shed light on the stories of people like us. Facing Evil is about being the light in the dark. Can I just repeat that say that again? Let me say it again. Listen, being the light in the dark. It's about moving upward and onward. And never, ever letting evil define you.
Rasha Pecoraro 03:24
Yvette Gentile 03:24
you know, say that and let that resonate and sink in.
Rasha Pecoraro 03:28
Yes. And each week we're going to talk about a different case. So yes, we're going to bring you the facts. We're going to tell you about what happened. But no one can talk about a story the way that Yvette and I can talk about a story, coming from what we've come from and what we've gone through in our lives. I hope that we can help people just find some, some healing.
Yvette Gentile 03:49
Right. And we know that there are dozens of cases for us to talk about on Facing Evil. But if you do know of a case you think we should cover please, please reach out to us and let us know.
Rasha Pecoraro 04:01
Before we go any further, there are some things you should know about us. First and foremost, Yvette and I were both raised in the beautiful Honolulu, Hawai’i.
Yvette Gentile 04:10
It's paradise. The most beautiful place in the world. Which means you may hear us use Hawai'ian words or phrases throughout the show. I love to say you can take the girl out of the island but you can never take the island out of the girl.
Rasha Pecoraro 04:25
Hawaiian culture is incredibly important to us. Hawai’i is a sacred and a spiritual place. And I feel so fortunate that mom decided to raise us there. Yeah, yeah, we learned to cherish the ‘aina, the ‘aina means the land. We learned to have inner peace, love, which means aloha and kindness for everyone around us didn't matter who they were.
Yvette Gentile 04:48
No. We were raised in a melting pot. And you might hear us use the word “Ohana” which means family. We say this all the time. Ohana means everything.
Rasha Pecoraro 04:58
Yeah. And sometimes we greet each other by saying "e komo mai" which means welcome, so "e komo mai" to Facing Evil. So with that in mind, we're going to recap the basis of Root of Evil. That is how we got thrust into the Black Dahlia Murder case in the first place and entered the true crime arena.
Yvette Gentile 05:18
The first thing you should know is that our great grandfather George Hodel was considered a suspect in 1949, about two years after the victim of Elizabeth Short was found dead in 1947.
Rasha Pecoraro 05:32
So we're not going to go through all of the case details here. But Short's murder was one of the most gruesome and notorious killings in all of American history.
Archive Clip 05:42
Los Angeles had a rich newspaper and tabloid culture. No crime was central to entertainment in a pre TV world when people still got morning and evening newspapers. And when you had a really grisly, horrifying homicide like that, you know, this was the story that you ran with.
Yvette Gentile 06:07
Elizabeth Short was living in Los Angeles, California at the time, and she was a waitress with hopes of being an actress, but on January 8 1947, she went missing. A few days later, she was discovered in suburban Lambert Park, and her body was dismembered and mutilated.
She had been found at a vacant lot posed and surgically bisected.
Rasha Pecoraro 06:31
Dr. George Hodel became a prime suspect for a number of different reasons. First, he was a surgeon, which would explain the precise cuts identified on the dismembered body of Short. Second, he was known to have been deeply invested in sadomasochism. And third, and most damning, George was reported to have basically roundabout admitted to killing Elizabeth Short on a wiretap in his home.
Yvette Gentile 07:00
But before charges could be filed, George fled the country, and he landed in the Philippines where he started a new family. He later went to Hawai'i, Japan, and eventually San Francisco. And that's where he died in 1999.
Rasha Pecoraro 07:17
And thus, The Black Dahlia case, and George's guilt were never fully solved. However,
Yvette Gentile 07:24
George Hodel was almost certainly guilty of other crimes within our family. Without a doubt, we know that he sexually assaulted his teenage daughter, our grandmother, Tamar Hodel.
Rasha Pecoraro 07:35
Yeah, and there was an incest trial or at the time, they actually called it a morals trial, where Tamar's claims of sexual abuse were squashed. And ultimately, George was acquitted, even though there were adult witnesses, two of them, that actually saw him having sexual relations, as they call it with his own daughter. But George was never convicted of any of those crimes.
Yvette Gentile 08:01
Because they recounted their stories. Yeah. In August of 1951, our beautiful mother Fauna Hodel was born. And you know what, this was one of the biggest unanswered questions for us all, who was her mother's father, and it's still unknown till this day. And so much was left on the cutting room floor in Root of Evil, including DNA that could have possibly disproved that mom's father could have been her own grandfather, George Hodel. I never believed that George was mom's father, although I know that you did.
Rasha Pecoraro 08:36
I was actually shocked to learn the DNA results. But we're gonna get into that on another episode. But when I was a teenager, I actually had to do a family tree and mom sent me to Tamar's house. And so I asked Tamar our every question under the sun about our entire family and the Hodel side of the family. And she would never give me a direct answer when I asked about who mom's father was. But despite all of that, despite the fact that that mom, you know, might have been from George or who knows who her father was, Mom always carried herself like, she was just pure love. She was the most beautiful, amazing human being in this entire world.
Yvette Gentile 09:20
Yeah, she was beyond her time.
Rasha Pecoraro 09:24
Yeah. And she was pure light and aloha. And it breaks my heart that she's not here with us talking to you right now. But I know that she's here. Yes. And mom was actually at birth she was given up for adoption and raised by a new family in Reno, Nevada. So that's part of the mystery, right?
Yvette Gentile 09:42
Yeah, yeah. And that's what we want to uncover. So you know, stay tuned. At age 15, Mom got pregnant with me and married my father, AG Bobby Ward on her sweet 16th birthday. Mom gave birth to me in 1967 on August 7th a week later in Reno, Nevada. And after divorcing my father, she went on the search to find her biological family. She found them in Hawai'i, we ended up there. And that's where I was raised.
Rasha Pecoraro 10:14
I was born in Honolulu 11 years later, in 1978. And our mom, Fauna was truly the most loving mother that Yvette or I could ever have asked for. She loved both of us unconditionally, and she was truly our biggest cheerleader.
Yvette Gentile 10:31
We grew up with such immense love, that mom never let that evil that she came from, she never let that define who she was. And she never became a victim of her circumstances.
Rasha Pecoraro 10:50
So one little quick thing that we need to explain to all of you is the somewhat complex nature, our family's racial identity.
Yvette Gentile 11:02
When our mother Fauna Hodel was put up for adoption. Her birth certificate, said she was biracial. And she was raised by African American parents, Jimmy Lee, and Homer Faison and those were my grandparents growing up, my black grandparents. She grew up believing that she was half black. And it wasn't until she was in her 20s that she discovered the truth. And when my mom finally met her biological mother, Tamar in Hawai'i, Tamar revealed, in fact that she had lied and made it up and said that mom's father was Negro, for all kinds of different reasons. You know, you can imagine having a birth certificate, carrying it around your whole life. And then you meet your real mother, your biological mother, she tells you that you're not black. It completely shattered her world. And it took her, I mean, it took her many years to reveal the truth to her family, to her black family, and even to my father, who is black.
Rasha Pecoraro 12:04
And so my father is actually white, and was the first white guy I think mom had ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever dated. And she met him on a trip to Hawai'i. So she decided that Hawai'i was going to be the perfect place to raise the two of us, because it's such a diverse melting pot and mom did not want us to experience the type of racism that she experienced growing up in Reno, because she was never black enough. She was never white enough. And in Hawai'i, it's much more of a melting pot and it's so much more accepting and for me, being blond hair blue eyed, I never had an issue growing up in Hawai'i ever. Right? So But back to our upbringing, and how we came to learn about George Hodel. It wasn't until we were adults that the complete truth about George came to light. But we grew up hearing stories about him throughout our entire childhood.
Yvette Gentile 13:01
And we know for a fact that mom never met George, but spoke with him only on the phone. Mom felt that he kept tabs on us throughout our lives. But in 1999, George passed away and our uncle, retired LAPD detective Steve Hodel, started to do research into his father's life.
Steve Hodel 13:22
I flew to San Francisco. I'm sitting there with June, my stepmother who'd had been with my father for 30 years. And June said, I think your father would want you to have this. And she handed me this small album. I looked at it and I said to June June, who is this? And June said, I don't know somebody your father knew from a long time ago. I was trying to pull it in. Where do I know this picture? Why do I know this woman? Somewhere deep within me. I made the connection. The Black Dahlia.
Rasha Pecoraro 13:56
In 2003, our Great Uncle Steve published his book, Black Dahlia Avenger, exposing George and essentially revealing that he was almost certainly The Black Dahlia killer.
Yvette Gentile 14:08
And this is when the world and when I tell you the whole world knew our dark family secrets.
Rasha Pecoraro 14:15
Yeah, I remember when Uncle Steve came out and I can never remember if it was Dateline or 48 hours. But I remember sitting next to mom watching it. And I remember literally saying out loud. I am so ashamed to be a Hodel. And mom looked at me because she wouldn't let me sit in that. And she's like, No. Like, we are not the evil that we came from. And she kept telling us over and over again. Like, you better know your mantra.
Yvette Gentile 14:46
We are the daughters of Fauna Hodel. Yea, I remember reading The Black Dahlia Avenger for the first time and thinking, holy shit. The whole world knows, that's such a crazy feeling of knowing that that bloodline runs through our family. Mom was even more convinced after this that she needed to tell the world her story, to shed light on overcoming evil. And she spent her whole life on this mission. The mission to not only tell her story, but to tell other stories about healing and surviving, just as we're doing now.
Rasha Pecoraro 15:27
Yeah, mom was a trailblazer. Like she, first and foremost, always wanted to empower anyone, especially people who were a victim.
Yvette Gentile 15:37
But then in 2017, everything changed. And our world was shattered when our beautiful mother Fauna Hodel, died from breast cancer. Sorry, I always get emotional over this. But yeah, our mother died from breast cancer. And it was just weeks before her lifelong dream of telling her story to the world came to fruition. And we were given, we were given this incredible opportunity to tell her story via Root of Evil, and TNT's limited TV series "I Am the Night." And it was it was truly a cathartic and surreal, we kept saying surreal, over and over, process for both of us. Being on set in the recording studio, as weird as it may sound, it really felt like we were helping to bring our mother back to life.
Rasha Pecoraro 16:40
And in 2019, it shocked us but Root of Evil shot to the top of the podcast charts and Yvette and I were basically thrust into the spotlight. But please don't be fooled. Mama Fauna Hodel, she she was working things from up above like she was sprinkling her fairy dust. Yeah, she knew what she was doing. And she prepared us for this our entire lives. And we went on this whirlwind press tour. We basically didn't even have time to grieve. But we did all kinds of things, including going on the Today Show, Dr. Oz, and my personal favorite, believe it or not, Dr. Phil. And the best therapy I've ever had in my entire life was actually with Dr. Phil not on his TV show that we were on. But afterwards, he invited us to be on his podcast.
Yvette Gentile 17:31
Yeah, so this is a funny story, because I did not want to go on the Dr. Phil Show. And Rasha was like, Come on, let's just do another one. But I went on it. And to my surprise, he was truly a wonderful human being. And he taught us so much so much on that show.
Rasha Pecoraro 17:52
Dr. Phil's pretty awesome. And I even still have the Dr. Phil handkerchief that he literally handed to me when we were sobbing uncontrollably in front of him. And the reason that we were sobbing is after he took in the entire story that we were telling him about our family and our lives. He looked right in our eyes. And he said what you girls are doing is so incredible, because someone's going to be listening to this. And they will see that it's okay. Because monsters live in the dark. And what you're doing is bringing this to light, because you're talking about it.
Yvette Gentile 18:27
That was such a powerful moment. For me, for both of us. What we realized in that moment is people don't talk about grief. People don't talk about death. People don't talk about incest. People don't talk about homophobia or transphobia or racism, or murder. People just don't talk. And grief and shame, I mean, they're like a beast, I shouldn't say they're like it is a beasts that we are all constantly trying to tame.
Rasha Pecoraro 19:03
So when you have a voice and you're privileged enough, like we are to have a platform, which we know we were given this platform as a gift, initially from our mom and then from Root of Evil and now Facing Evil. We have to use it to amplify others.
Yvette Gentile 19:21
And share it, share the light and give people hope. We never thought in a million years that we'd be sitting here talking to you as true crime hosts. Nope. Right. But if we're going to be here, if we're going to be true crime hosts, we are going to shed a light and help others heal somehow, some way. It's what it's all about overcoming,
Rasha Pecoraro 19:52
and Facing Evil.
Yvette Gentile 19:55
So that's what you can expect from facing evil. Episode one we'll publish next week, and don't forget to subscribe so that you're up to date on every new episode.
Rasha Pecoraro 20:06
All right, we've got one last order of business before we let you go. We've been working with a fantastic really and phenomenal, awesome producer from iHeartRadio on this show, his name is Trevor Young. And he's here on mic with us right now.
Trevor Young 20:23
Hello. Yes, I am here. It's a pleasure to be here.
Rasha Pecoraro 20:26
All right, Trevor, tell everyone a little bit about your amazing self.
Trevor Young 20:30
Sure. So I am a supervising producer for iHeart Media's Podcast Network. And I've been here for a little over three years. I started in 2018. Working with TenderfootTV on the second season of the Monster podcast, and that was about the Zodiac Killer. Since then, I co-created the follow up season Monster DC sniper. So a lot of true crime podcasts. I'm also working on a number of other true crime shows, some of which I cannot talk about just yet, but you will hear about soon. Personally, I remember listening to Root of Evil when it came out in 2019. And frankly, I just had never heard anything like it. The openness with which you were able to tell your story, and really share what you had gone through what had happened to your family, and how that impacted you was utterly groundbreaking. I had never heard anything like that. And I really think it changed the podcast game. I think it blew open the doors in so many ways for what, you know, we talk about and do every day. And I'm just so thankful you did that. I'm so thankful you were willing to share your story and open up the way you did. So when the opportunity came up to work with you, too. I was absolutely thrilled. And so I jumped at the opportunity. So we've been working together a little bit now. And it's been such a great experience for me to get to know you to get to hear your story firsthand. And I'm really excited to see what you do with facing evil what you do with this show. I think it's going to be fantastic. And I can't wait for everybody to hear it.
Yvette Gentile 22:05
So we've loved working with Trevor so much that we've asked him to join us on the show each week. That's right,
Rasha Pecoraro 22:13
Trevor will be our on mic producer, and he's gonna help us stay on track because apparently sisters can get carried away sometimes you think I mean, maybe. So welcome to Trevor, we are so excited to have you on Facing Evil.
Trevor Young 22:26
Likewise, super excited to be here. Thank you.
Rasha Pecoraro 22:29
At the end of each episode, I am so honored and excited to bring a special segment that we're going to be sharing with you and it's called Imua.
Yvette Gentile 22:38
And for those who don't know imua means onward and upward and to move forward. In Hawai'i imua is a call for healing, a ritual of sorts. It's where you sit with a family or friends, you talk story and you really share blessings of hope of how you can overcome and heal from whatever it is you may be going through.
Rasha Pecoraro 23:03
Today we want to honor and have our imua for survivors, survivors like us survivors like our mom, Fauna and her mother, our grandmother Tamar. All of us who stood our ground in the face of adversity and evil we're all survivors.
Yvette Gentile 23:19
And there are so many victims like Tamar out there. Too many people are abused mentally, physically, verbally, emotionally, sexually, and they don't know how they will ever rise above. We are here to tell you that you can survive. And rise.
Rasha Pecoraro 23:38
And we hope that our ohana, or our family story can be a guiding light for anyone who needs it. To show that no matter what you've been through, you are a survivor. And that is truly beautiful.
Yvette Gentile 23:51
And your life doesn't end there. Those experiences won't ever define you. Once you face that evil, you can conquer it. move onward and upward. Imua.
Rasha Pecoraro 24:06
Mahalo nui loa, er thank you so much, everyone. We are so excited and honored to have you on this ride with us
Yvette Gentile 24:14
And look out for Episode One of Facing Evil next week.
Trevor Young 24:46
Facing Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The show is hosted by Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile. Matt Frederick and Alex Williams, are executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio with producers Trevor Young and Jessie Funk. Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey are executive producers on behalf of TenderfootTV, alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Claudia Dafrico. Original Music by Makeup and Vanity set.
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