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The Doodler

The Doodler

SF Chronicle, Ugly Duckling Films, Neon Hum Media
True Crime
11 episodes
The Golden State Killer. The Unabomber. Ted Bundy. You’re probably familiar with these serial killers. But in the mid-1970s, another monster terrorized San Francisco’s gay community. He was coined “The Doodler,” and he may have been responsible for as many victims as the Zodiac Killer, yet you’ve probably never heard of him. Plagued by a complicated investigation, a frightened public, and the hesitation of many to come forward, the case went cold, and a killer walked free. Nearly 50 years later, a renewed hunt for a forgotten serial killer seeks to change that. Follow the story on “The Doodler” podcast, debuting in March 2021. Have a tip? Email thedoodlerline@gmail.com, call (415) 570-9299, or visit thedoodlerpod.com.
  • Since the reactivation of the Doodler case in 2018, Dan Cunningham has been eyeing a key person of interest. Cunningham met with him and even got a sample of his DNA. The SFPD is comparing that DNA with blood from the original crime scenes. Kevin and Mike convince Cunningham that another unsolved mu...
    Play42m 31s
  • After the publication of the composite sketch, leads begin to pour in. SFPD receives a call from a psychiatrist’s office. The doctor claims the man in the sketch might be their patient. Homicide investigators act on the tip and question the man. But today there’s little information about what they l...
    Play33m 19s
  • In the Fall of 1975, a composite sketch of The Doodler is published in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Sentinel, and tips begin to roll in. Street cops are on high alert for anyone matching the description. Inspectors Rotea Gilford and Earl Sanders round up several suspects for int...
    Play25m 26s
  • At the end of 1975, The Doodler murders Harald Gullberg, the fifth and final suspected fatality that investigators have tied to this case. The Doodler’s sixth victim actually survives a brutal knife attack. Investigating today, Kevin is desperate to talk to an eyewitness, but investigator Dan Cunnin...
    Play35m 21s
  • A charismatic Russian woman arrives in the US on a mission to improve relations between the two countries, and she soon makes some powerful friends. But who is Maria Butina? And who is she working for? As Maria gets closer to the rich and connected she also attracts the attention of the FBI. In the...
    Play6m 15s
  • More than a year after the murder of Gerald Cavanagh, the SFPD finally assigns a dedicated team of investigators to The Doodler case. Turns out Rotea Gilford and Earl Sanders, the first Black homicide investigators in the SFPD, are perfectly suited for the job. Around this time, The Doodler claims h...
    Play31m 6s
  • Kevin and Mike dig deeper into the lives of the first three Doodler victims, and a clear pattern begins to emerge around the method and location of these deaths: brutal stabbings in remote hookup spots. Did SFPD see that pattern in the ‘70s? Or was it lost amid the crime wave sweeping across the cit...
    Play26m 52s
  • The Doodler’s second known victim is an up-and-coming San Francisco drag queen named Jae Stevens. In the present, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Kevin Fagan recruits private investigator and former Chronicle colleague Mike Taylor to help him track down some of Stevens’ friends and family. Through Jae...
    Play35m 20s
  • You’ve probably heard of the Zodiac Killer but not The Doodler. Why not? Between 1974 and ‘75 he killed at least 5 gay men in San Francisco and got away with it. But ever since, the case has been mostly overlooked. Until now. SFPD re-opened the case in 2018, with investigator Dan Cunningham at the h...
    Play32m 21s
  • San Francisco was a haven for queer people in the 1970s, but it was also home to a little-known serial killer called the Doodler. It might sound like a silly name, by his body count is as high as the Zodiac's. All of his victims were gay men. The Doodler was never caught. His murder spree was forgot...
    Play3m 33s
  • The Golden State Killer. The Unabomber. Ted Bundy. Serial killers you’ll be familiar with. But between 1974 and 1975, there was another ruthless serial killer at large, terrorizing San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ community. He was coined the "Doodler” and may have killed as many people as the Zodiac Killer....
    Play1m 50s