If someone murdered your own mom, would you be able to forgive them?
Would you be able to put what they did behind you…and then become friends with them?
Jennifer Weiss is a woman from New Jersy who has a pretty remarkable relationship.
She’s now friends with the serial killer that murdered her mom, and she even considers him to be like a father figure to her.
Facebook; Jennifer is pictured above joking around with Richard, her mom’s serial killer
Richard Cottingham is a 73-year-old man better known as “The Torso Killer” and he took Jennifer’s mom out of her life before she even knew she was in it.
Though he professed to have killed between 85 to 100 different women from 1967 to 1980, Richard was ultimately convicted of 9 murders. Three of Richard’s victims did survive and later testified against him at the trial.
He earned the nickname of “The Torso Killer” for the way in which he dismembered his victims, frequently leaving behind just their torso and nothing else to identify them with.
Richard worked as a computer operator at the downtown Manhattan Blue Cross-Blue Shield, and he was very well-liked by his company and coworkers.
He was married. He had three children. He seemed to be quite an upstanding family man, but Richard turned out to be anything but that.
The first murder Richard committed was in 1967 when he took the life of 29-year-old Nancy Schiava Vogel, a married mom of two.
Nancy had been last seen on her way to play bingo at her local church with some friends of hers.
She was discovered three days later inside of her car, in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. She had been strangled to death and was missing all of her clothes.
A few years later on December 2nd, 1979, Richard murdered two women inside of a hotel around Times Square. Richard left them on the bed, took off their hands and their heads, poured lighter fluid on them, and set them on fire.
The body parts Richard had removed were never recovered and one of the victims was never positively identified.
The second woman was later determined to be 22-year-old Deedeh Goodarzi; Jennifer’s biological mom.
YouTube; NJ.com included the above photo of Deedeh in their video
Jennifer’s mom had been born in Iran and came to America with her family sometime later. After she gave birth to Jennifer, she put her up for adoption just two weeks later.
She ended up working in the adult industry, which is how she met Richard.
Speaking to NJ.com in a video interview, Jennifer said, “Everybody deserves to be forgiven…for things in life.”
“The magnitude of what he did is unfathomable. But, I became friends with Richard for my mother’s sake, and for my quest.”
“I desperately wanted to find Deedeh’s skull.”
“And that is the driving force behind what I’m doing. Whether or not he’s telling the truth or not, we’re getting bits and pieces of the truth.”
“I’m doing this for the mothers who lost their daughters and my own mother.”
Jennifer went on to say she learned about her mom’s murder from the children’s home that adopted her out.
So Jennifer started writing letters to Richard in prison, and he wrote her back. Then, she went to meet him in person and has since seen Richard more than 30 times.
She says that she doubts she would have sought out a friendship with him if he hadn’t killed her mom.
Deedeh’s skull has yet to be recovered by the authorities, and there are still so many details about what Richard did (and who he did them to) that are unknown.