Tamar Nais Hodel Dies at 80 in Honolulu, Hawaii

October 18, 2015
Los Angeles, California


tamar obit photos







Two weeks ago today, my half-sister, Tamar Nais Hodel, passed away in her sleep. She was eighty years old.

She bore, five children.  Two daughters, Fauna and Fauna II (Deborah Elizabeth), and three sons, Peace, Love and Joy.  My heart felt condolences go out to each one of them.

I have written much about my half-sister’s life, and through my writings she has come to be known as, “the daughter of Dr. George Hill Hodel, the Black Dahlia serial killer, and the victim of his incest and sexual molestation.”

Sadly, from early childhood, Tamar suffered major physical, sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of her (our) father. Sexualized at an early age,  her life  continued out of control (sex, drugs, etc.) for decades. The cycle continued. The abused, became the abuser, creating more pain and suffering for her own five children. Each child’s suffering unique to him or her.

Much could be said about Tamar. She had hoped to tell her own story, in her own words, but that was not to be.

I am not going to attempt to expand on her life, most of which I know little about.  I do know that she had a natural ability to accept all people of all races and will let her close friend, Singer Josh White, speak for her.

One of my favorite songs  exemplifies my sister’s spirit. The song made popular by Josh White in the Forties is “Free and Equal Blues.”  Listen carefully to the lyrics and you will better understand a part of Tamar that sought for Goodness and Fairness.

Click here to hear Josh White singing “Free and Equal Blues.”



  1. Jim Henson says:

    My heartfelt condolences to you Steve and her surviving family. The magazine article Tamar that you posted recently was very revealing. What an amazing life!


  2. John Ayers says:

    So sorry to hear of Tamar’s passing. She was an integral part of my understanding of your dad as it pertained to your investigation. I vicariously think of both you and her as friends.

  3. Jean Atwood says:

    My condolences to her entire family. It is hard to lose any family member whether it be mother, sister, brother, father. May she rest in peace.

  4. Patricia O'Neill says:

    My sincere condolences to you and your family on the passing of your sister Tamar. Believe me, Steve, she is not only resting in peace but in love and gratitude to you. As I said in an e-mail after reading your first book, “only you could have done this for your sister.” The hidden secrets in your family now brought to light will also lift a terrible burden from Tamar’s children and their children. After listening to Josh White sing “Free and Equal Blues” it is truly evident—– George Hodel could not break her spirit nor take her soul!!
    Sincerely, Pat O’Neill

    • Steve Hodel says:

      Hi Pat: Thanks for the very kind words. Much appreciated. Yes the lyrics for “Free and Equal Blues” are absolutely amazing.
      She was absolutely colored blind and way ahead of the curve in the 1940s in her understanding as the song say’s, “…a molecule is a molecule and the damn thing has no race.” Best, Steve

  5. Steve, so sorry to have only just learnt of your very sad news whilst keeping up to date with your blog. My message comes to you with a heavy heart as I am so very sorry for your loss and for the loss of a mother to your nieces and nephews. From what I have read and learnt through your writings she was an exceptionally unique and wonderful person. Thankyou for sharing her early years with us and allowing us a greater insight to GHH. Sincerely Sue W

  6. anonymous says:

    My condolences. Was Tamar receptive to the evidence you found?

  7. Linda Whitman says:


    Thanks for the update on Tamar and thank you for for always treating her with gracious truth in your writings. As I have read and listened to your interview, read your blog and read articles about your extended family; the desire to do a genogram sticks with me. I’m particularly interested in several approaches to further understanding which would involve neurobiology, psychocology, sociology and spirituality. I feel that I cannot legitimately ask any questions of you until I have read all your books and gleaned as much from them as possible. I stand by a previous statement that your life would be very fascinating to examine because of the tremendous amount personal growth that you exhibit.

    I missed meeting you at the recent book signing. This was a disappointment for me but the prospect of driving alone back to Riverside afterward seemed a bit formidable. Your intelligence and sensativeity are very attractive and an acquaintance with you would be treasured. My birthday is 7/29/48 so perhaps you will consider a meeting. ?


    Linda Whitman

    • Steve Hodel says:

      Hi Linda: Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated. Nothing planned out Riverside way in the foreseeable future, but perhaps sometime next year?
      Will be giving my next talk at the South Pasadena Library (a beautiful venue) on November 5, 2015 at 7 PM. (Day before my birithday) As you mentioned, I see you share a birthday with not only Elizabeth Short, but also the primary detective who investigated her murder, Sgt. Finis Brown. (Brother of Deputy Chief Thad Brown.) Best Wishes, Steve

      • Linda Whitman says:

        That is WONDERFUL news. I would love seeing the beautiful venue, meeting you a day before a milestone birthday, it will be after payday and my daughter lives in So. Pasadena; all encouragements to attend.


  8. I am sorry for you loss. Tamar lived with us briefly in San Francisco, maybe just before the trial, or sometime between the trial and her marriage to Stan Wilson (he visited our house, my mother was a folk singer). I had a lot of child minders, most of them I didn’t like. I liked Tamar. I could see, even at four or five, that she was troubled, but also had a good, a very good, heart.

    Carole Craig

  9. Dan Frank says:

    I finished reading Avenger II while on a cruise at Honolulu at time of your half-sister’s passing. This book sealed my opinion of the guilt of your father’s guilt in Beth’s murder. Any updates on forensic evidence tests? Any interest in current DA’s personnel to test possible evidence?

    • Steve Hodel says:

      Hi Dan: No, no movement by LAPD on that front. They don’t even want to even take the hour time to hear the new evidence. And, now with the major develops on linking GHH as Zodiac in MOST EVIL II, I’m sure that will only increase their desire, not to hear/do anything. With the new proof that GHH WAS IN FACT ZODIAC, that puts even more blood on their hands. Blood from “inaction.” Had LAPD pursued and arrested GHH back then, then there would have been no Zodiac crimes. That is the tragedy of not pursuing serial killers to the fullest. Most just keep killing until they are arrested, become to ill or old to continue, or they die. Very sad situation. Regards, Steve

  10. Dear Steve,

    I offer my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Your sister was a beautiful, gifted, and altogether wonderful woman who transcended her horrendous childhood to become a great mother and mentor to other young women.

  11. Mitch Scott says:

    Hi Steve.So very sorry you lost your sister….I find it less hard to believe that your father was the Zodiac killer than that Arthur Lee Allen was totally innocent.There was just so much circumstantial evidence tying him to the crimes.Is there any way they were in cahoots?As always thank you for your invincible determination in all of this and your riveting conclusions.Real justice would be L.A,P.D. kissing your ass on national t.v.

    • Steve Hodel says:

      Hi Mitch: Thanks for the condolences re. Tamar. As to your question on Arthur Leigh Allen, no, I don’t see any connection between Allen and GHH. With the just published MOST EVIL II solving of the cipher by M. Yves Person, where dad actually signed his real name to what we know is a genuine Zodiac mailing, there can be no longer any doubt. It is in fact a signed confession brought on by his own hubris and megalomaniac ego. Think I’ll pass on the LAPD kiss, but thanks for the support. Best, Steve

  12. joanne blanke says:

    Dear Steve, so sorry to hear about the sad passing of your wonderful half sister. She was amazingly STRONG and DEFIANT like you for JUSTICE, DECENCY and THE TRUTH.
    I have read your books and find them fascinating. SHAKESPEAR was right when he said, TRUTH WILL OUT. IT HAS TAKEN YEARS though what is time compared to enlightenment. I am sure my father was similar though on a much smaller scale as your father. You know I was thinking about the Short murder, perhaps a group of his sick friends all each performed their own twisted desire and fantasy ant the eight burn marks are the brand marks of each individual person, a sort of confirmation. Thank you for your integrity. Joanne

  13. Dear Steve,
    My heart felt condolences go out to you on the death of your half sister. I was very sorry to read about that here. She had a hard life it sounds like, but she is in a good place. Best wishes to you and your family, Kathy

  14. Vika Unga says:

    All my Love and Aloha to such a fun a wonderful woman, may you fly with Angels sweet Tamar.

    Aloha ‘Oe


  15. How many brothers and sisters do you have? Also whats their age?

    • My father had eleven children by five separate women.
      I had three full brothers, one is still living. I had four half sisters and three half brothers.
      One half brother and two half sisters are still living.

  16. Its such a tragic that she died and i hope your family are copping with the loss and remember she is in god hands but i have a question for you did she ever mentioned about any relationship she had with elizabeth short? It would be nice if you got back to me thanks

    • Maddie: Thank you for the condolences. No, she never mentioned any personal relationship with Elizabeth Short, and didn’t even know the victim’s name until in her 50s. Regards, SKH

  17. Mike merolle says:

    Just read about your sisters passing, I am so sorry to hear this news. I am now reading BDA and can not put it down. Did you find evidence of murders in other areas, other than SF, such as the Phillipines, while he was in those areas.

    • Mike M: Thank you for the condolences. Yes, now have four published books on the investigation: BDA, MOST EVIL, BDA II and MOST EVIL II. They cover out of state and out of country murders spanning a thirty year period from 1940-1970, including a copycat Black Dahlia murder in Manila, Philippines which was my father’s home base after he left the U.S.

  18. Steve,
    First my condolences to you and your sister’s children on her passing. I truly connected with the story you told because I too was the victim of a controlling father who molested me and continued on to rape until I left home at age 17. I read both of your books regarding the Black Dahlia murders and have read ever article and watched any appearances you have made on news shows.

    She is at peace, I pray that she found peace before her passing and peace with her children in her lives. It is hard, the demons stay in your dreams and thoughts no matter what you do.

    Again, accept my condolences and as a writer I would love to see you carry her story further, to put it out there along with the other victims of your father and those in his life that took advantage of innocence.

    May you find the answers soon

    • Joann: Thank you for the kind words and condolences. Much appreciated. And, let me return them to you for the pain and suffering you too experienced as an incest victim. As you know, those traumas last a lifetime, and no one who has not experienced it can truly understand the far reaching effects and impact it has on the victim’s life. Sadly, so many “survivors” (men and women) out there.

      I have actually got four books published on the investigation now. (BDA I & II and Most Evil I & II) Currently working on the fifth and hopefully final book, which will deal with “The Early Years.” My father’s crimes in the 1920s and 1930s. Again, my thanks. Steve

  19. Carlos Frederico Vasconcellos says:


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