New York Times Bestselling Author Steve Hodel

Tamar Nais Hodel Dies at 80 in Honolulu, Hawaii

October 18, 2015
Los Angeles, California

REST IN PEACE

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.”

 

56 Comments

  1. Jim Henson on October 19, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    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!

    Jim

  2. John Ayers on October 19, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    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 on October 19, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    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 on October 21, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Steve,
    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 on October 21, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      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. Susan w on October 23, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    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

    • Steve Hodel on October 23, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      Hi Su: Thanks for the kind words. Very much appreciated. Best to you and yours. Steve

  6. anonymous on October 23, 2015 at 9:30 pm

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

    • Steve Hodel on October 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you. Yes, Tamar was completely on board and in full agreement with my investigative findings.

  7. Linda Whitman on October 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Steve,

    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. ?

    Sincerely,

    Linda Whitman

    • Steve Hodel on October 24, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      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 on October 24, 2015 at 6:46 pm

        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.

        Thanks!

  8. Carole Craig on October 24, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    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 on October 25, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    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 on October 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      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

      • Just Another Jones on April 25, 2019 at 6:52 pm

        So typical…I’m so sorry…My ex-stepfather got away with it too. I know, though others are not convinced, that he was more than a pedophile. He never spent a day in prison, yet left a wake of devestation that will be pervasive through generations in my family. I pray now she has peace, as my mother does.

  10. Laura on October 31, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    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.

    • Steve Hodel on October 31, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Laura:

      Thanks you for the kind words. Steve

  11. Mitch Scott on November 8, 2015 at 1:12 am

    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 on November 8, 2015 at 10:37 am

      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

    • Janie Cole RN on March 6, 2019 at 5:18 pm

      two thumbs up,keep speaking the truth just finished watching all of Into the night, unbelievable

  12. joanne blanke on November 19, 2015 at 7:31 am

    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. Kathy G. on November 21, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    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 on March 19, 2016 at 4:49 pm

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

    Aloha ‘Oe

    Vika

  15. Jackie on April 19, 2016 at 8:15 pm

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

    • Steve Hodel on April 19, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      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.

      • Daria Joseph on February 10, 2019 at 11:22 pm

        I grew up in San Francisco and went to Grant grammar school. The Vice Principal at the time was Duncan Hodel. Is he a relative of yours? I remember him as a very nice and accessible man. Thanks!

        • Steve Hodel on February 10, 2019 at 11:36 pm

          Daria J: Yes, Duncan is my half brother and our father’s first son. Long retired from Grant HS in downtown San Francisco. Regards, Steve

        • Hailey Lyons on June 20, 2019 at 8:47 pm

          I’ve been listening to the podcast Root of Evil and my heart goes out to all of you but especially Deborah Elizabeth Hodel. What Tamar did to her is reprehensible. I know she was a broken person but what she did to her children was truly evil. I hope deborah is ok. I hope you are also well.

          • Steve Hodel on June 20, 2019 at 9:39 pm

            Hailey L: Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated.



  16. maddie on April 24, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    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

    • Steve Hodel on April 24, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      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 on May 17, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    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.

    • Steve Hodel on May 17, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      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. Joann on January 6, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    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

    • Steve Hodel on January 6, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      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 on October 9, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    R.I.P. TAMAR. BRAVE WOMAN !!!!

  20. Marla Nassey on February 27, 2019 at 1:46 am

    Just an amazing, gutsy body of work, Steve. Great job and thank you. Have a you finished the early years? Do you think he may have wanted you to uncover his truths as a final hurt? It is a shame your father’s brilliance conveyed to such a horrifying part of his criminal mind. My heart goes out to you and each person that suffered at his hands, things he chose or possibly couldn’t contain. I hope you get the satisfaction that you are searching for, perhaps a level of peace as well. Good luck, be well.

    • Steve Hodel on February 27, 2019 at 2:17 am

      Marla N: Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated. No, so many distractions this past year, not to mention having to write/complete BDA III. Then the two productions surfaced: I Am The Night, which I had no involvement in making and of course is 95% fiction and the companion podcast, “Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia” which I did do extensive interviews for to balance out the fictional miniseries. I’m thankful I agreed to participate as it was well directed by Zak Levitt and will help to deconstruct many of the myths as presented in IATN.
      Hope to resume work on the Early Years soonest. If I can complete that investigation and get a serious documentary made then my work will be complete and I will finally find the satisfaction knowing that I’ve done all I could do to present the truth for the many victims and their families. Best, Steve

      • Tammy Routson on March 4, 2019 at 11:26 pm

        I am glad you clarified that. I was so confused watching the mini series. It didnt make sense with the things I had already read. I am anxious to read your books now. Do you do book tours?

        Thanks
        Tammy Routson

        • Steve Hodel on March 4, 2019 at 11:35 pm

          Tammy R: Thanks. I am not touring at the moment but do give PowerPoint presentations in the LA area from time to time. Next talk will be in May at the Whittier Library. Will be posting as I get closer to the event time. Steve

  21. Candace on March 2, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Is there any evidence of GHH being Fauna’s father by inc st? Or am I miscalculating dates.

    • Steve Hodel on March 2, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      According to Tamar Fauna’s father was a White Italian in San Francisco. George was out of the country at the time Fauna would have been conceived which would have been around early Nov 1950 as she was born in August 1951. So, no, George Hodel would not/could not have been Fauna’s father.

  22. Sheila on March 3, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Steve,
    I just watched the first few episodes of IATN. It is an eye-opening story but now reading that it is 95% fiction, I am wondering what parts are true? Honestly, I had never heard of any of this until the show. Now I am looking forward to reading your books, although it scares me to know that I want to know and understand how someone can be so vile.
    Do you know if Tamar was the only one of your siblings that was molested? If so, how did all of the rest of you escape the horrific actions of George Hodel?
    Is it true that Tamar wasn’t a good mother and her children suffered abuse due to her past?
    Best,
    S

    • Steve Hodel on March 3, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      Shelia: I haven’t seen the IATN series, but from the trailers very little is actually true. Like I said, Fauna never met George Hodel and was never at the Sowden/Franklin House. She was born after our father left the country in 1050. Sadly, yes, Tamar was a very bad mother which is not uncommon for victim’s of incest. All of her children suffered bigtime. Our mother raised us from 10 years forward until each of us reached manhood.

  23. Fortunata Ubertini on March 28, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    I knew Tamar when she was 14. I’ve never firgotten her. My recollections are somewhat different from what I’ve read. . I’d like to tell you what I know., not for publication, but for your own Information about your sister. Feel free to email me, and, if you want to talk I’ll give you my phone number.

    • Steve Hodel on March 28, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      Fortunata Ubertini: FYI The email address you provided above came back “undeliverable”. My direct email is: [email protected]

  24. Melissa on April 5, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Wow. Just ‘binged’ the podcast. My heart goes out to you and your family, immensely. I’m not going to tear apart Tamar but, I do want to recognize that Tamar had every reason (in her kids) to break the cycle, and change her path. That’s a difficult thing to ask of an abuse victim. I know that. She didn’t chose to turn it around, and protect her kids. She fell right into the cycle, times 10. That was a very selfish act. She followed in her father’s deceitful, psychopathic legacy. For that her soul will stagnate, rightfully so. Bless you. Bless your family. Bless Elizabeth Short, and her family.

  25. Deanna Hollingsworth on April 13, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    I’m just finishing the podcast for into the night. What a tragedy of a life you all had. I know during that time there were other families that dealt with this. But a sad sad story nonetheless

    • Steve Hodel on April 13, 2019 at 7:57 pm

      Deanna H: Yes, as far as direct influence, Tamar and then her children had it the toughest. None of my father’s serial crimes were ever really known until after his death in 1999 as revealed in my first book, Black Dahlia Avenger in 2003. Best, Steve

  26. Pamela Phelps on April 28, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Mr. Hodel,

    I am deeply saddened by so much of what I have read. I have often wondered if there was any available DNA evidence and if so, was it properly preserved and ever tested?

    Genetic testing has become readily available to everyone over the last few years. Did Fauna ever get any info on who her biological father was or did she even want to know? If Dr. Hodel was indeed the father of Fauna, it would certainly vindicate Tamar (even posthumously) and prove her claims beyond any doubt. It would be interesting to know.

    Lastly, where were the adult women in this? It seems like they were complacent and allowed Dr. Hodel to do these awful acts. Were they abused and controlled as well? Did they have good relationships with their children at anytime? Were they loving, maternal mothers ever or am I just so far removed from this lifestyle, I will never be able to fully understand it?

    Thank you for your years of police service and your research into this case. Thank you for openly discussing and answering our questions. I/We appreciate you and wish you the best.

    Sincerely,

    P. Phelps
    Arlington, Texas

    • Steve Hodel on April 28, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      Pamela P: A massive amount of DNA exists but the evidence is not being pursued by LAPD. Other jurisdictions are attempting to obtain DNA, so maybe in the near future we may be able to compare to my father’s DNA of which I have a full profile.
      The actual paternity of Fauna Hodel is no longer in doubt. As her mother, Tamar, my half-sister always maintained, “Fauna’s father is a White Italian who forced himself on me in San Francisco after I was returned after the trial.” We have now confirmed through DNA that George Hodel was not Fauna’s father. Tamar’s pregnancy and abortion occurred back a year prior to her pregnancy by the Italian in San Francisco.
      There was a massive amount of dysfunction and abuse in all of the women connected with George Hodel. You need to read the books to get the complete picture.
      Best Regards, skh

  27. Steve on May 27, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    just started listening to the podcast story by your family. surprised to hear the Nais Hodel Lanikai home is right here in my backyard. is the home still in the family? would be a nice legacy to be left for the family to enjoy!

    • Steve Hodel on May 27, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      Steve: Not sure about the home? I know my nephews live out there, but exact status of property unknown by me. Best, Steve

  28. Isara Argent on July 14, 2019 at 1:43 am

    Hi Steve,
    I was friends with Tamar back in the late ’70s when the boys were young. She told me quite a bit of her history and some drug use at that time, but I had no clue about the abuse. I read your first book a few years ago; now I need to read the others. I was in touch with Fauna and spoke with Tamar a couple of years ago. She really wanted some help writing her story, and I’m glad it is all coming out.

    Thank you for your passion and your sense of justice.

    Sincerely,

    Isara

    • Steve Hodel on July 14, 2019 at 9:55 am

      Isara A: Yes, Tamar’s story is the glue that puts many of the pieces together. I wish my sister had been able to tell her own “Life Story” separate and apart from our father. She wanted to tell it, but unfortunately that never happened. Best, Steve

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