The Times Square Killer decapitated my mom and killed at least 10 others – there's a 'possibility' he could be my DAD

A WOMAN whose mom was killed and decapitated by the Time Square Killer says there's a possibility he is her father and wants a DNA test to find out the truth.

Jennifer Weiss, 43, has been working with authorities in Bergen County, New Jersey, for years to help identify further victims of Richard Cottingham, who claims to have killed between 80 and 100 people in an 18-year spree.

Weiss' own mother was among the most infamous of Cottingham's kills, earning him the nickname The Torso Killer after he tortured and beheaded her and an unidentified 16-year-old girl in a Times Square hotel.

The body of Deedeh Goodarzi was found in a burning room on December 2, 1979, with a firefighter making the gruesome discovery that the remains were lacking heads when he attempted to give mouth to mouth.

The skull of the Iranian immigrant, who had been working as a high-end escort in Times Square, was never found.

"It's possible but not probable because of the field of work she was in," Weiss exclusively told The Sun of Cottingham being her father.

"But because it's possible, it's unsettling.

"Although we haven't done a paternity test in the court of law, my whole feeling on it is still the same because it's possible."

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Weiss was given up for adoption by Goodarzi when she was less than two weeks old and there was no information given on her biological father.

Adopted by a New Jersey family, she found out the truth about her mom's death when she was 24.

First writing letters to now 75-year-old Cottingham in prison, she began to visit him in 2017 and has since met with her mom's killer more than 30 times.

She says that she does so to help bring out the truth about his other crimes and find justice for her mother and other victims.

When questioning Cottingham about the murders, he reportedly told Weiss that he had known Goodarzi for two years before he killed her, leading to her questions about whether or not he could be her father.

"If I was to pursue it in the court of law, I'd have to take him to court and do it legally," Weiss explained.

She said that she has hoped Bergan County authorities will help her in organizing the test after she has worked with the prosecutor's office in getting further information from Cottingham about his victims.


While he has said that he killed dozens of women, when Cottingham was eventually caught in the early 1980s, he was only charged and convicted with the death of five known victims.

Over the last four decades, he has admitted to a further six murders, pleading guilty to the killing of two teenagers in the 1970s as recently as April 2021.

Weiss said that she hopes a DNA test would not only prove once and for all whether or not Cottingham is her father but that it could be used to see if he has any other children apart from the three he had with his wife.

"We put his sample on the system we could see if I could be related or see if there's other children that could be related. And you know, that's just a whole other revelation," she said.

While Weiss would like to put the mystery to bed, she told The Sun that she is more interested in working to identify more victims and give families justice decades down the line.

"It would settle things for me, but it's not on top of my list," she said.

"It was never on my list until he said he'd been hanging around with Deedeh for a couple of years.

"It's a priority, but pretty low on the list. Nothing in my life will change.

"I'm still a great person and finding out that detail wouldn't change who I am."


Weiss told The Sun that she already knows of other victims of Cottingham's but that the slow pace of the official process means they have not yet been made public.

"I believe that there are other victims that were decapitated," Weiss claimed.

'You just haven't heard about them yet because we haven't had the chance to bring them to life, but they're in the lineup, for sure.

"It's an unusual thing to do to someone," she continued.

"But I think he was. He had done it many times before.

"It's just the public doesn't know that yet. I know it. But the public doesn't.

"And that's what I want. I want everyone to know the other women he killed and what he did to them.

"I have had contact with victims, family members," Weiss added.

"And that's a really good feeling.

"It doesn't come too often because these cases are so old, and most of the families are dead.

"But it's the children of the victims that have reached out and said that they were grateful for what I was doing.

"If we can work together, we could get it done quicker."


Cottingham managed to avoid detection until 1980 more than a decade after his first known murder – the killing of 29-year-old mother-of-two Nancy Vogel who was found naked and strangled in her car.

He only admitted to this killing in 2010.

Scouting for victims around Times Square, Cottingham worked a 3pm to 11pm shift in a health insurance company in Manhattan while living with his wife and three children in New Jersey.

He didn't leave any evidence at crimes scenes to connect the murders, leaving authorities unaware they were dealing with a serial killer.

The murderer was eventually arrested in 1980 after his wife filed for divorce and his killing spree appeared to ramp up

Cottingham was caught in the act in a hotel in New Jersey in May 1980 after the tortured screams of one of his victims alerted staff.

He had killed a woman in the very same hotel just over two weeks before.

Cottingham is serving a life sentence with no hope of parole in the New Jersey State prison.

It is believed the actual death toll of his murderous rampage will never be fully known or verified.

His story is explored in the Netflix documentary "Crime Scene: The Times Square Torso Killer" released last week.

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