8 People Who Claim They Are Related To Infamous Murderers

The stories of people who propose a relation to infamous criminals can read like true crime fan fiction. Some people want to be connected to history and will insert themselves into the narratives of publicized murderers like the Zodiac KillerJack the Ripper, and even the unsolved slaying of the Black Dahlia.

Most of the time, individuals who are actually related to serial killers want nothing to do with their infamous family members. The children of BTK and the Hillside Stranglers have relocated to escape the unwanted fandom that surrounds their kin. Similarly, Jeffrey Dahmer’s brother dropped off the grid after his brother was convicted. This list highlights a few individuals who declare a biological connection to some of the world’s well-known - and in some instances, unidentified - killers.

  • Steve Hodel Thinks His Dad Killed 'The Black Dahlia'

    Steve Hodel is a retired LAPD homicide detective who has published books about the infamous Hollywood murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short. After Hodel’s father, George Hodel, died at the age of 91 in 1999, Hodel went through his things and discovered a photo of a woman who resembled Short - known as the Black Dahlia. Hodel also discovered that his father, a former physician, had actually been under investigation in 1947 for her slaying.

    Hodel concluded that his father may have murdered 10 women in the 1940s before moving to Asia, and then continued his murder spree once he returned to the States in the 1960s.

  • Steve Hodel Thinks His Dad Was The Zodiac Killer, Too

    Steve Hodel Thinks His Dad Was The Zodiac Killer, Too
    Photo: flippinyank / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Hodel also believes that after returning to America and moving to the Bay Area in the 1960s, his father, George Hodel, continued his killing spree as the Zodiac Killer. In 2009, Hodel published another book, which focused on his father’s relation to the infamously unidentified San Francisco killer. According to Hodel’s blog, George worked as a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1930s.

    From 1969 to 1974, the Zodiac killer reportedly sent cryptic letters and ciphers to numerous Bay Area news outlets, including the Chronicle.

  • Gary Stewart Also Thinks His Father Was The Zodiac Killer

    Gary Stewart Also Thinks His Father Was The Zodiac Killer
    Photo: Zodiac Killer 1969 / via Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Zodiac Killer is one of the most notorious unidentified serial killers in American history. Gary Stewart from Louisiana believes his now-deceased father - Earl Van Best, Jr. - may have been the Zodiac. Stewart saw a 1969 wanted poster for his biological father, which he believed looked like a sketch of the Zodiac. 

    Stewart said he compared the sketch to his father’s 1962 mugshot, as authorities had previously arrested Best for the sexual assault of Stewart’s mother. In 2014, Stewart published a book linking Best to the Northern California-based slayings. The book claims Stewart uncovered forensic evidence verifying the Zodiac’s identity.

  • Clay Rogers Thinks His Brother Killed O.J. Simpson's Ex-Wife

    There's no denying that Clay Rogers's brother, Glen Rogers, killed five people while on a deadly road trip from Florida to California. Glen Rogers is infamously known as “The Cross-Country Killer” and “The Casanova Killer.” Authorities apprehended him in 1995, and the state issued him a death sentence in 1999. 

    In the 2012 documentary My Brother the Serial Killer, Clay makes the argument that his brother is also responsible for the 1994 deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. In the film, Clay boasts that he has evidence his brother was present in California at the time of the murders. The LAPD has since rejected Clay’s claims.

  • Dennis Kaufman Says He's The Stepson Of The Zodiac Killer

    In 2007, Dennis Kaufman presented the claim that his step-father, Jack Tarrance, is actually the Zodiac Killer. A year after Tarrance’s death, Kaufman approached law enforcement with a series of items - a knife, a cloak, as well as handwriting samples - maintaining that the deceased Tarrance was responsible for the 1968 to 1969 slayings.

    Kaufman received publicity for the claim when he appeared in a 2007 Discovery Channel documentary. However, the FBI dismissed any connection between the Zodiac and Tarrance.

  • Deborah Perez Insists She's The Daughter Of The Zodiac Killer

    Deborah Perez Insists She's The Daughter Of The Zodiac Killer
    Photo: Zodiac Killer 1969 / via Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    At a 2009 news conference in San Francisco, Deborah Perez announced that her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, was the Zodiac Killer. The Corona, California-based real estate agent even suggested that as a child, she rode in her father's car when he committed the crimes back in the late 1960s.

    Perez also claims she wrote one of the infamous Zodiac Killer letters sent to Melvin Belli, a trial lawyer. Reportedly, a 2007 police sketch of the Zodiac prompted Perez to connect Hendrickson to the case. Authorities have since dismissed her claims based on lack of evidence.