Los Angeles’ 1943-1950 “Black Dahlia Avenger” and Lone Woman Serial Crimes Linkage to 1967-68 San Francisco “Zodiac” Serial Crimes–THE WHY

March 14, 2024
Birch Bay, Washington 
Some Comments from Non-Readers of Author Steve Hodel’s Books:
“According to Steve Hodel, his dad, George Hodel, started his serial murders as a teen and never stopped. He is now claiming his dad killed like fifty people in fifty years.”
“Now he says his father is Zodiac. Where’s he going next, the Grassy Knoll in Dallas?”
“I was on board with him on the Black Dahlia Murder, but when he claimed his dad was Zodiac,that’s when he lost me.”
OK. Let me once again set the record straight and separate fact from fiction regarding my writings, which now total a dozen (12) books.

Let’s start with my investigation into the 1968-69 Zodiac Murders.

As in all of my investigations, I simply followed the evidence to where it took me, and George Hodel’s crime signatures pointed the way. All signs (pun intended) pointed to Zodiac. His 1967 Manila Philippines murder and placement of victim Lucila Lalu’s surgically bisected body on a vacant lotoff a street named Zodiac literally pointed the way.







Initially, I said to myself, “No way.” George Hodel was too old to be Zodiac.” But then I discovered the star eye-witness in the Zodiac investigation, SFPD officer Donald Fouke’s revised statement of having seen Zodiac (truth be told, he and his partner, officer Zelm, actually stopped and talked to him) with Fouke’s description of a suspect in his “mid-forties.” This led me to the revised additional Zodiac police composites drawn from witness interviews using professional artists were picture-perfect to George Hill Hodel.
The result of that initial investigation led to the ongoing progress report and publication of Most Evil: Avenger, Zodiac, and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel (Dutton 2009). In that publication, I did not claim that GHH was Zodiac but merely presented the evidence and said, “Law Enforcement needs to compare their existing DNA to George Hodel’s, of which I had a full profile in my possession.” (Fifteen years have now passed and so far crickets from LE.)

Most Evil I’s publication led to the further startling linkage by Frenchman Yves Person, a high school teacher in Paris, France, who cracked the code on a legitimate Zodiac cipher and revealed it was an ancient Celtic alphabet known as Ogham, and it contained five letters which spelled the word
H O D E L. I then, some six years later, I published Most Evil II: Presenting the Follow-up Investigation and Decryption of the 1970 Zodiac Cipher in Which the San Francisco Serial Kill Reveals His True Identity (Rare Bird Books 2015). 
I will not here attempt to summarize all the Zodiac linking as presented in Most Evil II other than to say that the fact is George Hodel in the late-Sixties, reinvented himself from “Black Dahlia Avenger” (the name he created for himself in the 1940s) and once again terrorized California with serial crimes and taunting “clews” after creating a new public persona, calling himself, “Zodiac”. In ME II I provide thirty-two unusual crime signatures linking “Avenger” to “Zodiac”.
Transitioning now to The Early Years Parts I and II, I do present twenty-five serial crimes spanning twenty-three years. (1921-1944)
As seen in the above Introduction to both books I claim no “solution” to any of the crimes presented. I present the evidence and let you, the reader, be judge and jury and decide for yourself on each separate murder.
Finally, in response to one particular naysayer, who, in his own words, is a “wannabe literary person” and has been promising to reveal his own theory of whodunit in a book he has been writing for the past twenty-seven years. A man who has been spewing his hatred and jealousy in repeated attacks on my personal and professional abilities for more than twenty years. And most recently, he claims he talked to LAPD and “the boys downtown,” and Hodel has a reputation of being a pariah on the LAPD.” I will simply answer with my bi-annual LAPD Rating Reports from my seventeen years at Hollywood Homicide Division, along with a letter from LAPD Chief Daryl Gates upon my retirement in 1986.

LAPD Chief Daryl Gates served as Chief from 1978-1992


  1. Joakim on March 15, 2024 at 1:53 pm

    Do Zodiac cases have requirements to get that label: location, date and/or MO? Must a Zodiac case have a letter?

    • Steve hodel on March 15, 2024 at 2:04 pm

      No they do not. have to have a letter from the killer. I am sure there are other GHH murders out there both in LA and SF that have never been linked to him.

  2. Yolie 💎 on March 16, 2024 at 10:20 am

    Rap’cha and I send you a deep, cleansing, centering breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ancestral healing! Ancestral healing is the ancient practice that connects us to our forefathers and foreMOTHERS to dispel all the negative energy of past generations to replace it with purest LOVE 💖💖💖💖💖. We pray that you will embrace the power of ancestral healing that works MIRACLES! Say yes to the power and beauty of ancestral healing! Come to Whittier!
    Peace to you!
    Peace to Brother Kel!
    Peace to FaunaElizabeth!
    Peace to powerful Dorero of the Sacred WombSpace!
    Peace to noble Rima, earthly Guardian of Steve!
    Peace always!
    Kristel was up all night with Boogers the rescue cat who is back at the vet and had to spend the night!

  3. Luigi Warren on March 17, 2024 at 1:46 pm


    Best wishes on this Saint Patrick’s Day. I hope this finds you well and that you are enjoying retirement and time with your family.

    Things have been pretty quiet on the Zodiac front since the big news on the Donna Lass case last December. I continue to ponder the many questions raised by your investigation. Two of my main new ideas from the last few months:

    1. The Z408 and Z340 cipher solutions, far from being uninformative and bland, tease major hints about Zodiac’s identity by alluding to two longstanding cold cases, the kidnap-murders of Mimi Boomhower (THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME) and Donna Frislie (“I AM NOT AFRAID [OF DEATH] BECAUSE…”).

    2. The Zodiac’s Pines Card is really a puzzle about the Donna Frislie case, inspired by the Chronicle’s “Tahoe Mystery” article on the Donna Lass disappearance and influenced by Raymond Chandler’s “The Lady in the Lake” and Steve Fisher’s film adaptation of that book.

    I remain particularly intrigued by your theory that GHH was the mystery caller in the Father Heslin case — the purported secret pal of William Hightower. The archives of the San Francisco Bulletin recently became available on newspapers.com. There’s about a hundred pages of coverage on the case which make interesting reading.

    Best regards,


    • Steve Hodel on March 18, 2024 at 11:24 am

      I am enjoying life in rural America. It’s a big change from the bright lights of L.A. Beautiful country up here in the NW corner of WA state. It’s not really retirement, as I don’t see myself really “retiring,” but a change of pace for certain.
      Yes, the calling signature is scattered throughout his many crimes and is a real tell (pun intended) as far as I am concerned. As active as I believe he was, I’m sure we are missing many of his crimes over his fifty-year career, but we certainly have our hands full as things currently stand.

  4. Patricia ONeill on March 18, 2024 at 12:13 pm

    Steve, reference to the Zodiac killings caught my eye at the end of a busy 🍀🍀week so writing my thoughts bfor post holiday cleanup here! IMO the killing of Eric Zelms, SFPD, was well planned by the “powers that be” in SFPD! Zelms and his partner had stopped Zodiac, questioning him on the street where Paul Stine was murdered in his cab. Zelms was a young and sharp young police officer who immediately spoke up when the drawing of Zodiac (police caricature ) came out in the newspaper. It was a fairly good rendering/observation but Zelms said he could definitely add to it with his own recall of the man they questioned on the street the evening of the murder. An appointment was made to interview Zelms……..unfortunately Zelms could not keep that appointment with the police artist due to his own murder😞……hmm!! And LW’s reference to Fr. Heslin’s murder brought back memories of holiday dinners where my relatives spoke in whispers about this murder in Colma where most of my family is & was buried. Whispers because we wouldn’t want to upset our host & revered uncle, Jim English, the Chief of D’s, SFPD! And how about the comments on film by my youthful “crush” Martin Lee, (his inability to look directly into the camera as he spoke says it all!) the then Chief of D’s, saying Zodiac’s killings were based on resentment against SFPD! NO! SFPD had “connections” with GHH….years of abortions, prostitute connections, gambling, drugs…..you name it! Somebody stop me….I’m on a roll here😑!! Back to housework🤣! 😎🌵

    • Steve Hodel on March 18, 2024 at 2:57 pm

      Pattucua O:
      I don’t think Zelm’s shooting was anything more than what it appeared. It was a business burglary with a couple of punks who stupidly carried weapons and used them so as not to get caught. Though caught, they were shortly after the caper. Had it been otherwise, I think one of the two would have come forward to try and reduce his sentence. That said, no question GHH was majorly connected with SFPD from his news reporter/columnist days in the Thirties. He would have known a lot during his eight years in Oakland and SF during premed/medical school. And prostitutes, yes, for sure, and SF Chinatown as well as LA Chinatown.

  5. Patricia ONeill on March 18, 2024 at 7:42 pm

    Steve, you’re the detective and probably right but reading about his death I do remember his partner was not at the scene with him when shot, and he called out “get my partner”! Very convenient, but not unusual & yes, a detective would say to me “just the facts, ma’am”😞!
    I definitely think your father found San Francisco quite comfortable and enjoyable for one who enjoyed the very open unencumbered, somewhat vagabond SF lifestyle. I often bristle at the use of the “hippie” description so often used in describing my City. Many of those sometimes ragged hippies came from very comfortable, well -to -do SF families…..and unfortunately that young generation enjoyed taunting, flipping the bird at those well meaning and hard working parents, immigrant grandparents! And the City enhanced by the fog and foghorns, the golden lights illuminating its’ beautiful red bridge encased in that fog…………good memories, bad memories and unfortunately now a city beset with severe crime, homelessness and disrepair. I’m sure L.A. experiencing the same, so count our blessings we are in fairly clean, fairly good surroundings within AZ & WA. Let’s hope it stays that way for our children & grandchildren🙏! Stay well…….do you notice the 80’s bring out more of one’s quirkiness🤣 day by day?!
    Stay well! 😎🌵

  6. Yolie 💎 on March 23, 2024 at 10:16 am

    Rap’cha and I unite in the Sisterhood of the Sacred WombSpace to send you a deep cleansing, centering breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ancestral healing! Ancestral HEALING is the ancient practice that connects us to our forefathers and foreMOTHERS to dispel the negative energy of past generations and replace it with purest LOVE 💖 💖💖💖💖 The purest LOVE of past generations! 💖💖💖 Let this be your time to embrace it! 💖💖💖💖
    Peace to you!🙏
    Peace to Brother Kel🙏
    Peace to FaunaElizabeth 🙏
    Peace to powerful Dorero of the Sacred WombSpace 🙏
    Peace to noble Rima, earthly Guardian of Steve 🙏
    Peace always🙏
    Yolie 💎
    Kristel is caring for her rescue cat Boogers who spent 2 nights at the vet. We pray🙏 for Sister Kristel 💎 and Boogers.

  7. Eddie on April 18, 2024 at 10:09 pm

    Hi Steve,
    Rural is good, and no doubt you realized that.
    At this point, it seems like you’ve looked at this from so many angles and explored so many rabbit holes, including the afterlife, so other than getting DNA out of some LAPD vault to match or some other external breakthrough, what else is out there for you to explore at this point? Is it just getting the story on film? Is there an endpoint in your mind? Thanks!

    I’m curious as I’ve followed this from the first book years ago.

  8. Steve Hodel on April 18, 2024 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks for keeping up with the books. As you know, they all are really one ongoing investigation.
    Well, probably BDA IV was the “endpoint in my mind” as far as being able to represent most of the evidence by the only way I could figure out how to give the victims a voice—at least in the Black Dahlia and L.A. Lone Woman Murders. Without any actual living witnesses now that I am aware of, I think you are right about DNA. That said, I don’t see any LE agencies picking up the ball. A film version, be it a documentary or scripted, would get more exposure. Very few are going to sit down and read all nine books, but they would watch a documentary or television series. I might do a book to further explain some aspects of my investigation for clarification, but that will be mixed in with enjoying my new dog Rima, and my sons and grandchildren. Let’s call it “semi-retirement for now. Best Regards, Steve

  9. Frank Adkins on May 30, 2024 at 1:19 am

    Dear Steve, I was curious if you’d heard of a private detective from San Francisco named Peek-a-Boo Pennington. He worked closely with Melvin Belli and his business logo had two big cartoon eyes in the two O’s in Peek-a Boo. The cartoon eyes and use of the word Peek-a-Boo in Zodiacs Halloween card it’s safe to say are not coincidental imo. It has me wondering if Belli had Pennington nosing around Z caught wind n the card was a warning to Pennington as well as Avery. It says Peek-a-Boo I see you you’re doomed! That’s sounds da like a threat to Pennington. I wonder if GHH had a history with Belli or Pennington. Seems Pennington had been around in San Francisco a long time. I found images of Penningtons logo with the cartoon eyes I’m just not able to post them on here. I hope this isn’t old news n it can maybe help.

    • Steve Hodel on May 30, 2024 at 9:41 am

      Frank A:
      Hi Frank, No, I had not heard of Peekaboo Pennington before your email. Thanks for the heads-up. I will take a peek at Peekaboo. I’ve never seen any links to GHH, but with his history with San Francisco going back to the Twenties, as do the detectives, I will see what I can find. Mucho Gras.

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