Black Dahlia Avenger–Zodiac –Thirty Unique Crime Signature and M.O. Comparisons


13 February 2015
Los Angeles, California


GHH Avenger Zodiac compare

Over the past year, I have received numerous requests asking me to clarify my position and state my reasons why I believe that my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel, the 1940s, Lone Woman Serial Killer also known as, the “Black Dahlia Avenger” may have reinvented himself twenty years later as the San Francisco serial killer, known as, “Zodiac.”

For those interested in examining the specific linkage, I would suggest they read the material summarized in MOST EVIL (Dutton, 2009) and advise them to “stay tuned” as I anticipate releasing new information in the near future.

That said, I am here providing a link to a YouTube recorded PowerPoint summary of what I consider to be THIRTY SEPARATE AND UNIQUE  CRIME SIGNATURES AND MO’S used by both Black Dahlia Avenger and Zodiac. (Have also attached the summary at bottom of blog, as a condensed downloadable PDF.)

As I indicate in the summary, for a homicide investigator to find two or three unique signatures would generally be enough to demand they  “take a look” at any two separate crimes as possibly being connected to the same killer. However, to discover THIRTY, as rare and distinct as what we find in the BDA/LONE WOMAN MURDERS and ZODIAC signatures is unheard of and screams out for some forensic follow-up.  (To date none of the five separate law enforcement agencies have examined any of the linkage.  The California Department of Justice’s handwriting expert, at my request, has compared George Hodel’s handwriting to Zodiac’s and due to the lack of lowercase printing (he requested additional samples from me, which are non-existent)  claims he is unable to positively identify the samples, but goes on to state, “I am unable to eliminate George Hodel as the author of the Zodiac letters.”

I have obtained a full DNA profile on my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel, that is available to law enforcement for testing. However, to date, no confirmed Zodiac DNA exists, and many of the potential evidence samples remain untested. (The best potential for confirmed Zodiac DNA remains the men’s size 7 gloves from the Paul Stine, San Francisco, taxi-cab murder. (In 2010,  DOJ informed me they “were looking for them to test, but apparently they were as then “lost” somewhere in the SFPD Evidence Lockers.”

(Video approximately 10 minutes)

MO Sigs blog pdf


  1. John Ayers on February 18, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    This really deserves investigation. I would like to see citizens such as yourself with experience empowered to represent law enforcement, have access to resources, etc. in pursuing cold cases. Some retired officers may not be interested but those who are could be invaluable. You have proven that a lot of progress could be made.

  2. Dina on February 24, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I have found your books to be fascinating and very compelling. I have no doubt that you have identified two serial killers in one.
    I am not a psychiatrist, but I am a physician. I must tell you that I do not agree with your conclusion that your father was simply a narcissist or that the causes may be found in his childhood. Your father was a sociopath, wired without a conscience. While his childhood may explain why his rage was directed at women, it is not to “blame” for the man. You cannot claim a dissociative personality disorder and claim that he gloated during a hot balloon ride over SF. He had memory of all he did, with the exception of perhaps drug induced state. He may have been carried by his rage, but there is no way he could feel any regret or remorse for what he did. He was incapable, He may have appreciated “wrong” as an intellectual concept, but could not truly feel what wrong is. He likely came out the womb wired without a conscience. I cannot view him as a “sick” individual for illness inspires sympathy and empathy. There can be none for this monster. Not the monster who killed Beth Short nor the monster who had sex with his daughter or the man who destroyed your mother and left her an alcoholic mess.
    I am sorry for all you were forced to discover. I commend you on your courage in sharing it all.
    Thank you for your story.

    • Steve Hodel on February 24, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Dear Dr. Dina Y. Thank you for your comments and kind words. Much appreciated. I agree with you that his insanity was congenital. I also agree that he was without conscience, which consequently gave us the monster who brought so much horror to so many lives and their extended families. Best Regards.

  3. Samuel Lai on May 23, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Is it possible the Zodiac had access to all the details of BDA cases, that he could adopt every one of them for his own work?

    The BTK comes to mind as sharing seemingly some of the most apparent M.O.s; is there any coincidental similarities between BTK and BDA/Zodiac?

    • Steve Hodel on May 23, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Samuel L: No. It’s taken me more than a dozen years to ascertain and make the linkage to the different L.A. Lone Woman crimes which themselves spanned nearly a decade. So, in my opinion, the only individual that would know those separate crimes would be–the actual killer himself. Stay tuned more linkage to come. I haven’t studied BTK in any detail, he could have obtained some “general M.O. inspiration” from other serial killers, including Zodiac? Regards, SKH

      • Samuel Lai on May 23, 2015 at 8:14 pm

        It’s the BTK’s taunting letters to the police and press coming from his desire to promote his work that seems very much unoriginal.

  4. Samuel Lai on May 23, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Cold case homocide detective (retired) John A. Cameron’s book “It’s me” claims Ed Edwards was both the BDA and the Zodiac. He also claim Edwards murdered possibly as many as 500 people in the span of 66 years undetected even having written a book “Metamorphosis of a Criminal” while still active.

    What is your analysis of Cameron’s claims?

    • Steve Hodel on May 23, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Samuel Lai: Do I believe that Ed Edwards was a skilled surgeon and killed Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short at age 13? And, prior to that, committed the Chicago “Lipstick Murders” at age 11 and 12 as claimed. NO.

      • Samuel Lai on May 23, 2015 at 8:12 pm

        Thanks Steve! I thought so. I thought it was preposterous too.

  5. Samuel Lai on May 25, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Upon searching for information on the “Jigsaw Murders of Manilla” I instead found information about a Dr. Buck Ruxton of the UK of the mid 1930’s. Apparently the use of surgical skill and anatomical knowledge on a murder victim in the aftermath of a murder is not absolutely unique to Dr. George Hodel.

    Also found was the case of the “Jigsaw Killer” also of the UK of the late 2000’s. Police were impressed with the dismemberment of the victim’s body because of the precision of the incisions and the apparently intimate knowledge of human physiology. The body was found to be jointed rather than merely sawn apart.

  6. Shane D on November 21, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Steve I do hold great interest in these cold cases, something that i’ve always been curious about. Do you think in breaking the codes the Zodiac (if it truly is your father, you knew the man yourself) would have actually had his identity revealed in them? I always thought that someone who put that much work into a code wouldn’t leave out 18 random characters, nor leave behind 4 codes without at least some what of a reason other than to say he enjoyed killing.

    • Steve Hodel on November 21, 2015 at 11:31 am


      When I wrote the first book, MOST EVIL, I felt that he would not go so far as to actually use his real name and identify in the cryptogram. (Even though he said in a Zodiac letter, “If you crack the code you will have me.”) The high-school teacher and his wife (The Harden’s) partially solved the cryptogram, but no name, which reinforced my belief he would never reveal it. However, now with the publication of Most Evil II and the solving of his 1970 “You Ache To Know My Name” cipher by another high-school teacher, Frenchman, Yves Person, I was proven wrong. He DID use his real name concealing the five letters H O D E L. So, what it tells us is that his megalomaniacal ego was ultimately his downfall. He couldn’t resist playing the “master criminal” and going so far as to play for keeps by including his true identity, confident that it would never be solved. Well, he was right for forty-five years, but in the end it became his own signed confession. His own undoing. Regards, Steve

  7. CODEBREAKER on December 15, 2015 at 4:21 am

    I have been working on the Zodiac Killer Ciphers for some time now. I have found that the Zodiac uses the letter ” Z ” ,and the character, ” Circle Outline with Cross Centered in it “, when signing many of the ciphers, letters ,or post cards. Therefore, I come up with the name, ” ED “. When I decipher the ” MY NAME IS __ ” CIPHER, this is what I come up with; ” WEED.S.H.REWE “, or ” EDW. W. HERSHE “, or ” EDWARD W. HERSHE “. The three circle outlines with an eight in the center I deciphered as being periods.

  8. Rick A. Roberts on February 9, 2016 at 2:23 am

    I believe that there were four individuals(Zodiac Killers) . On 15DEC15 I posted a message about possible identity of one person . Here is my second deciphering of the ” MY NAME IS _ CIPHER . Deciphers to, T E N D O L O N O I N T H . 8 = H, 888 = H.H.H. . Message is, ” HOLDEN TOOTH IN TOOTH ” . What do you think of my work Steve ? Thank you.

    • Steve Hodel on February 9, 2016 at 8:05 am

      Rick R. I am not a fan of any of the cryptogram wordage I’ve seen so far. Just too generic to have any real meaning. Also, I do not agree there were four suspects, just the one, Dr. George Hill Hodel. Regards, Steve

  9. Shelly Leigh on November 25, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Stephen, I just finished reading “Most Evil,” and found it fascinating. I do have a few questions for you. What do you think of this person who said he cracked the Zodiac. Cypher and the name was different then your fathers (please see website link below)?

    Also, did they ever look for DNA from the gloves found in the cab and match it to the DNA of your dads? One thing that wasn’t mentioned in your book was the car ride a victim took with the Zodiac Killer. Unless I missed that. I have just heard so many different theories about Him but yours was the closet to being the most accurate. I just didn’t agree with the excuse you gave him for killing people. He was just pure evil, in my opinion and it felt like he enjoyed the cat and mouse game with the police officers and the media. I think what really got my attention was how you connected the Black Daliah and the Zodiac murders. Hopefully they will break this case with DNA . Thank you, Shelly

    • Steve Hodel on November 29, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      Hi Shelly: Suggest you read Most Evil II published by Rare Bird Books in 2015. Should give you all the answers to your questions and provides the full update on both the police composites and the cracking of a confirmed Zodiac cypher by, Yves Person, a Paris, France highschool teacher.

      As of this date they have no “confirmed Zodiac DNA” available for comparison. They did get DNA from the Stine gloves (just recently announced) but has not been compared to any suspects to my knowledge? I will submit my father’s DNA profile once LE obtains confirmed Zodiac DNA, but not before that. (We need to know we are comparing it to Zodiac and not some other non-suspect like a detective, a postman, a reporter at the SF Chronicle etc.) Regards, Steve

  10. Luigi Warren on February 3, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    Steve: Of potential interest, lots of discussions going on just now about a forgotten, possible proto-Zodiac murder — the 1962 shooting of cab driver Ray Davis in Oceanside, CA. Killer called police before the crime saying “I am going to pull something here in Oceanside and you will never be able to figure it out.” Murderer took cab to upscale neighborhood, dumped body at 1926 South Pacific St (interesting address). Killer apparently taunted police on phone after crime, threatened to target a bus driver next, prompting city-wide security response. Paperback thriller found on front seat of abandoned cab, “Dance with Death” — cover features model in vaguely Dahlia-esque pose, plotline prominently features Honolulu and a fictionalized version of Pasadena. A local historian has revived interest in case. -LW

  11. Steve Hodel on February 3, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    LW: Thanks Luigi. I’ll check it out. skh

  12. Randy Knight on April 25, 2023 at 7:28 pm

    Steve: Just going to leave a comment about your books about BD. My cousin is also a retired L A officer. He worked in narcotics and went to the academy about the same year as you. Not long after he retired and moved to Arroyo Grande up near Pismo Beach, his wife passed away. A few years later he remarried and the gals name is Nancy. She worked in the office with you at one time. The 1st time I saw your story on a crime channel, I asked her if she knew you and if so, what were her thoughts about your investigation. She said quote, “If Steve did the investigation, and he’s totally convinced about his findings, then you can be rest assured it’s a solid investigation, as he is one of the most intelligent and honest men I ever worked with (for) in my career”. I thought you might like to hear that.

    • Steve Hodel on April 25, 2023 at 7:34 pm

      Randy K:
      Thanks for forwarding the kind words from Nancy. Much appreciated. So much has come together over the years since I began it really is SOLID. Best to you and Nancy.

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