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Zodiac Killer

Zodiac Killer
Zodiac Killer
A sketch of the Zodiac Killer
Born Unknown
Died Unknown
Causeof death
Othernames Zodiac
Criminal penalty
Conviction(s) N/A
Victims 5 confirmed dead, 2 injured (claimed to have killed 37)
Spanof killings
December 20, 1968 (possibly June 4, 1966), (letters 1969)October 11, 1969 (possibly 1972), (letters 1974)
Country United States
State(s) California, possibly also Nevada
Date apprehended
The symbol used by the Zodiac Killer to sign
his correspondence
The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who operated in northern California
in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The killer's identity remains unknown.
The Zodiac murdered victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San
Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Four men and three
women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. The killer originated
the name "Zodiac" in a series of taunting letters sent to the local Bay Area
press. These letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers). Of the four
cryptograms sent, only one has been definitively solved.
Zodiac Killer
Suspects have been named by law enforcement and amateur investigators, but no conclusive evidence has surfaced.
In April 2004, the San Francisco Police Department marked the case "inactive," yet re-opened the case at some point
prior to March 2007.
The case also remains open in the city of Vallejo, as well as in Napa County and Solano
The California Department of Justice has maintained an open case file on the Zodiac murders since
Confirmed victims
Although the Zodiac claimed 37 murders in letters to the newspapers, investigators agree on only seven confirmed
victims, two of whom survived. They are:
David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16: shot and killed on December 20, 1968, on Lake Herman
Road, within the city limits of Benicia. Coordinates: 38541.61 N 122838.24 W
Michael Renault Mageau, 19, and Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, 22: shot on July 4, 1969, in the parking lot of Blue
Rock Springs Park in Vallejo. While Mageau survived the attack, Ferrin was pronounced dead on arrival at Kaiser
Foundation Hospital. Coordinates: 38733.56 N 1221127.94 W
Bryan Calvin Hartnell, 20, and Cecelia Ann Shepard, 22: stabbed on September 27, 1969, at Lake Berryessa in
Napa County. Hartnell survived eight stab wounds to the back, but Shepard died as a result of her injuries on
September 29, 1969. Coordinates: 383348.29 N 1221354.43 W
Paul Lee Stine, 29: shot and killed on October 11, 1969, in the Presidio Heights neighborhood in San Francisco.
Coordinates: 374719.47 N 1222725.54 W
Suspected victims
The following murder victims are suspected to be victims of Zodiac, though none has been confirmed:
Robert Domingos, 18, and Linda Edwards, 17: shot and killed on June 4, 1963, on a beach near Gaviota. Edwards
and Domingos were identified as possible Zodiac victims because of specific similarities between their attack and
the Zodiac's attack at Lake Berryessa six years later. Coordinates: 342811.20 N 120107.14 W
Cheri Jo Bates, 18: stabbed to death and nearly decapitated on October 30, 1966, at Riverside City College in
Riverside. Bates's possible connection to the Zodiac only appeared four years after her murder when San
Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery received a tip regarding similarities between the Zodiac killings and the
circumstances surrounding Bates's death. College coordinates: 335819 N 1172252 W
Donna Lass, 25: last seen September 6, 1970, in Stateline, Nevada. A postcard with an advertisement from Forest
Pines condominiums (near Incline Village at Lake Tahoe) pasted on the back was received at the Chronicle on
March 22, 1971, and has been interpreted as the Zodiac claiming Lass's disappearance as a victim. No evidence
has been uncovered to connect Lass's disappearance with the Zodiac Killer definitively.
There is also a suspected third escapee from the Zodiac Killer:
Kathleen Johns, 22: allegedly abducted on March 22, 1970, on Highway 132 near I-580, in an area west of
Modesto. Johns escaped from the car of a man who drove her and her infant daughter around the area between
Stockton and Patterson for approximately 1 hours. Junction 132/I-580 coordinates: 373816.14 N
1212355.22 W
Zodiac Killer
Lake Herman Road attack
The first murders widely attributed to the Zodiac Killer were the shootings of high school students Betty Lou
Jensen and David Faraday on December 20, 1968, on Lake Herman Road, just inside Benicia city limits. The
couple were on their first date and planned to attend a Christmas concert at Hogan High School about three blocks
from Jensen's home. The couple instead visited a friend before stopping at a local restaurant and then driving out on
Lake Herman Road. At about 10:15p.m., Faraday parked his mother's Rambler in a gravel turnout, which was a
well-known lovers' lane. Shortly after 11:00p.m., their bodies were found by Stella Borges, who lived nearby. The
Solano County Sheriff's Department investigated the crime but no leads developed.
Utilizing available forensic data, Robert Graysmith postulated that another car pulled into the turnout, just prior to
11:00pm and parked beside the couple. The killer apparently exited the second car and walked toward the Rambler,
possibly ordering the couple out of the Rambler. Jensen appeared to have exited the car first, yet when Faraday was
halfway out, the killer apparently shot Faraday in the head. Fleeing from the killer, Jensen was gunned down
twenty-eight feet from the car with five shots through her back. The killer then drove off.
Blue Rock Springs attack
Just before midnight on July 4, 1969, Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau drove into the Blue Rock Springs Park
in Vallejo, four miles from the Lake Herman Road murder site, and parked. While the couple sat in Ferrin's car, a
second car drove into the lot and parked alongside them but almost immediately drove away. Returning about 10
minutes later, this second car parked behind them. The driver of the second car then exited the vehicle, approaching
the passenger side door of Ferrin's car, carrying a flashlight and a 9mm Luger. The killer directed the flashlight into
Mageau's and Ferrin's eyes before shooting at them, firing five times. Both victims were hit, and several bullets had
passed through Mageau and into Ferrin. The killer walked away from the car but upon hearing Mageau's moaning,
returned and shot each victim twice more before driving off.
On July 5, 1969, at 12:40a.m., a man phoned the Vallejo Police Department to report and claim responsibility for
the attack. The caller also took credit for the murders of Jensen and Faraday six-and-a-half months earlier. The police
traced the call to a phone booth at a gas station at Springs Road and Tuolumne, about three-tenths of a mile from
Ferrin's home and only a few blocks from the Vallejo Police Department.
Ferrin was pronounced dead at the hospital. Mageau survived the attack despite being shot in the face, neck and
Zodiac Killer
Letters from the Zodiac
The solution to Zodiac's 408-symbol cipher. The meaning, if any, of
the final eighteen letters has not been determined.
On August 1, 1969, three letters prepared by the killer
were received at the Vallejo Times Herald, the San
Francisco Chronicle, and The San Francisco
Examiner. The nearly identical letters took credit for
the shootings at Lake Herman Road and Blue Rock
Springs. Each letter also included one-third of a
408-symbol cryptogram which the killer claimed
contained his identity. The killer demanded they be
printed on each paper's front page or he would "cruse
[sic] around all weekend killing lone people in the
night then move on to kill again, until I end up with a
dozen people over the weekend."
The Chronicle published its third of the cryptogram on
page four of the next day's edition. An article printed alongside the code quoted Vallejo Police Chief Jack E. Stiltz as
saying "We're not satisfied that the letter was written by the murderer" and requested the writer send a second letter
with more facts to prove his identity.
The threatened murders did not happen, and all three parts were eventually
On August 7, 1969, another letter was received at The San Francisco Examiner with the salutation "Dear Editor This
is the Zodiac speaking." This was the first time the killer had used this name for identification. The letter was a
response to Chief Stiltz's request for more details that would prove he had killed Faraday, Jensen and Ferrin. In it, the
Zodiac included details about the murders which had not yet been released to the public, as well as a message to the
police that when they cracked his code "they will have me."
On August 8, 1969, Donald and Bettye Harden of Salinas, California, cracked the 408-symbol cryptogram. It
contained a misspelled message in which the killer claimed to be collecting slaves for the afterlife. No name appears
in the decoded text, and the killer said that he would not give away his identity because it would slow down or stop
his slave collection.
Lake Berryessa attack
On September 27, 1969, Pacific Union College students Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were picnicking at
Lake Berryessa on a small island connected by a sand spit to Twin Oak Ridge. A man approached them wearing a
black executioner's-type hood with clip-on sunglasses over the eye-holes and a bib-like device on his chest that had a
white 3"x3" cross-circle symbol on it. He approached them with a gun, which Hartnell believed to be a .45. The
hooded man claimed to be an escaped convict from Deer Lodge, Montana, where he had killed a guard and stolen a
car, explaining that he needed their car and money to go to Mexico. He had brought precut lengths of plastic
clothesline and told Shepard to tie up Hartnell, before he tied her up. The killer checked, and tightened Hartnell's
bonds after discovering Shepard had bound Hartnell's hands loosely. Hartnell initially believed it to be a weird
robbery, but the man drew a knife and stabbed them both repeatedly. The killer then hiked 500 yards back up to
Knoxville Road, drew the cross-circle symbol on Hartnell's car door with a black felt-tip pen, and wrote beneath it:
"Vallejo/12-20-68/7-4-69/Sept 27696:30/by knife."
At 7:40p.m., the killer called the Napa County Sheriff's office from a pay telephone to report this latest crime. The
phone was found, still off the hook, minutes later at the Napa Car Wash on Main Street in Napa by KVON radio
reporter Pat Stanley, only a few blocks from the sheriff's office, yet 27 miles from the crime scene. Detectives were
able to lift a still-wet palm print from the telephone but were never able to match it to any suspect.
Zodiac Killer
After hearing their screams for help, a man and his son who were fishing in a nearby cove discovered the victims and
summoned help by contacting park rangers. Napa County Sheriff's deputies Dave Collins and Ray Land were the
first law enforcement officers to arrive at the crime scene. Cecelia Shepard was conscious when Collins arrived,
providing him with a detailed description of the attacker. Hartnell and Shepard were taken to Queen of the Valley
Hospital in Napa by ambulance. Shepard lapsed into a coma during transport to the hospital and never regained
consciousness. She died two days later, but Hartnell survived to recount his tale to the press. Napa County Sheriff
Detective Ken Narlow, who was assigned to the case from the outset, worked on solving the crime until his
retirement from the department in 1987.
Presidio Heights attack
Two weeks later on October 11, 1969, a passenger entered the cab driven by Paul Stine at the intersection of Mason
and Geary Streets (one block west from Union Square) in San Francisco requesting to be taken to Washington and
Maple Streets in Presidio Heights. For reasons unknown, Stine drove one block past Maple to Cherry Street; the
passenger then shot Stine once in the head with a 9mm, took Stine's wallet and car keys, and tore away a section of
Stine's bloodstained shirt tail. This passenger was observed by three teenagers across the street at 9:55p.m., who
called the police while the crime was in progress. They observed a man wiping the cab down before walking away
towards the Presidio, one block to the north.
Two blocks from the crime scene, Officer Don Fouke, responding to the call, observed a white man walking along
the sidewalk and stepping onto a stairway leading up to the front yard of one of the homes on the north side of the
street; the encounter lasted only five to ten seconds. The radio dispatcher had alerted to be on the lookout for a black
suspect, so they drove past him without stopping; the mix-up in descriptions remains unexplained to this day. A
search ensued, but no possible suspects were found. The three teen witnesses worked with a police artist to prepare a
composite sketch of Stine's killer; then, a few days later, this police artist returned, working with the witnesses to
prepare a second composite sketch of the killer.
Detectives Bill Armstrong and Dave Toschi were assigned to the case. The San Francisco Police Department
investigated an estimated 2,500 suspects over a period of years.
Communication from the Zodiac
On October 14, 1969, the Chronicle received another letter from the Zodiac, this time containing a swatch of Paul
Stine's shirt tail as proof he was the killer; it also included a threat about killing schoolchildren on a school bus. To
do this, Zodiac wrote, "just shoot out the front tire & then pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out." At
2:00p.m. on October 20, 1969, someone claiming to be the Zodiac called Oakland PD demanding that one of two
prominent lawyers, F. Lee Bailey or Melvin Belli, appear on the local television show A.M. San Francisco, hosted
by Jim Dunbar. Bailey was not available, but Belli did appear on the show. Dunbar appealed to the viewers to keep
the lines open, and eventually, someone claiming to be the Zodiac called several times and said his name was "Sam".
Belli agreed to meet with him in Daly City, but the suspect never showed up.
On November 8, 1969, the Zodiac mailed a card with another cryptogram consisting of 340 characters. The
340-character cipher has never been decoded. Numerous possible solutions have been suggested, but none can be
claimed as definitive.
On November 9, 1969, the Zodiac mailed a seven-page letter claiming that two policemen stopped and actually
spoke with him three minutes after he shot Stine. Excerpts from the letter were published in the Chronicle on
November 12 including the Zodiac's claim;
that same day, Officer Don Fouke wrote a memo explaining what
had happened the night of Stine's murder. On December 20, 1969, exactly one year after the murders of David
Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen, the Zodiac mailed a letter to Belli that included another swatch of Stine's shirt; the
Zodiac claimed he wanted Belli to help him.
[citation needed]
Zodiac Killer
Modesto attack
On the night of March 22, 1970, Kathleen Johns was driving from San Bernardino to Petaluma to visit her mother.
She was seven months pregnant and had her 10-month-old daughter beside her. While heading west on Highway 132
near Modesto, a car behind her began honking its horn and flashing its headlights. She pulled off the road and
stopped. The man in the car parked behind her, approached her car, stated that he observed that her right rear wheel
was wobbling, and offered to tighten the lug nuts. After finishing his work, the man drove off; yet when Johns pulled
forward to re-enter the highway the wheel almost immediately came off the car. The man returned, offering to drive
her to the nearest gas station for help. She and her daughter climbed into his car.
During the ride the car passed several service stations but the man did not stop. For about 90 minutes he drove back
and forth around the backroads near Tracy. When Johns asked why he was not stopping, he would change the
subject. When the driver finally stopped at an intersection, Johns jumped out with her daughter and hid in a field.
The driver searched for her using his flashlight telling her that he would not hurt her, before eventually giving up.
Unable to find her, he got back into the car and drove off. Johns hitched a ride to the police station in Patterson.
When Johns gave her statement to the sergeant on duty, she noticed the police composite sketch of Paul Stine's killer
and recognized him as the man who abducted her and her child. Fearing he might come back and kill them all, the
sergeant had Johns wait, in the dark, at the nearby Mil's Restaurant. When her car was found, it had been gutted and
Most accounts claim he threatened to kill her and her daughter while driving them around,
but at least one police
report disputes that. Johns' account to Paul Avery of the Chronicle indicates her abductor left his car and searched
for her in the dark with a flashlight;
however, in one report she made to the police, she stated he did not leave the
Further Zodiac communications
Zodiac continued to communicate with authorities for the remainder of 1970 via letters and greeting cards to the
press. In a letter postmarked April 20, 1970, the Zodiac wrote, "My name is _____," followed by a 13-character
The Zodiac went on to state that he was not responsible for the recent bombing of a police station in San
Francisco (referring to the February 18, 1970, death of Sgt. Brian McDonnell two days after the bombing at Park
Station in Golden Gate Park)
but added "there is more glory to killing a cop than a cid [sic] because a cop can
shoot back." The letter included a diagram of a bomb the Zodiac claimed he would use to blow up a school bus. At
the bottom of the diagram, he wrote: " = 10, SFPD = 0."
Zodiac sent a greeting card postmarked April 28, 1970, to the Chronicle. Written on the card was, "I hope you enjoy
yourselves when I have my BLAST," followed by the Zodiac's cross circle signature. On the back of the card, the
Zodiac threatened to use the bus bomb soon unless the newspaper published the full details he wrote. He also wanted
to start seeing people wearing "some nice Zodiac butons [sic]."
In a letter postmarked June 26, 1970, the Zodiac stated he was upset that he did not see people wearing Zodiac
buttons. He wrote, "I shot a man sitting in a parked car with a .38." The Zodiac was possibly referring to the murder
of Sgt. Richard Radetich, a week earlier, on June 19. At 5:25am, Radetich was writing a parking ticket in his squad
car when an assailant shot him in the head with a .38-caliber pistol. Radetich died 15 hours later. SFPD denies the
Zodiac was involved in this murder; it remains unsolved.
Included with the letter was a Phillips 66 roadmap of the San Francisco Bay Area. On the image of Mount Diablo,
the Zodiac had drawn a crossed-circle similar to the ones he had included in previous correspondence. At the top of
the crossed circle, he placed a zero, and then a three, six, and a nine. The accompanying instructions stated that the
zero was "to be set to Mag. N." The letter also included a 32-letter cipher that the killer claimed would, in
conjunction with the code, lead to the location of a bomb he had buried and set to go off in the fall. The cipher was
never decoded, and the alleged bomb was never located. The killer signed the note with " = 12, SFPD = 0."
Zodiac Killer
In a letter to the Chronicle postmarked July 24, 1970, the Zodiac took credit for Kathleen Johns' abduction, four
months after the incident. In a July 26, 1970 letter, the Zodiac paraphrased a song from The Mikado, adding his own
lyrics about making a "little list" of the ways he planned to torture his "slaves" in "paradice." The letter was signed
with a large, exaggerated cross circle symbol and a new score: " = 13, SFPD = 0." A final note at the bottom of
the letter stated, "P.S. The Mt. Diablo code concerns Radians + # inches along the radians." In 1981, a close
examination of the radian hint by Zodiac researcher Gareth Penn led to the discovery that a radian angle, when
placed over the map per Zodiac's instructions, pointed to the locations of two Zodiac attacks.
On October 5, 1970, the Chronicle received a three-by-five inch card signed by the Zodiac with the drawn with
blood. The card's message was formed by pasting words and letters from an edition of the Chronicle, and thirteen
holes were punched across the card. Inspectors Armstrong and Toschi agreed it was "highly probable" the card came
from the Zodiac.
Zodiac letter to Paul Avery
On October 27, 1970, Chronicle reporter Paul Avery (who had been covering the Zodiac case) received a Halloween
card signed with a letter 'Z' and the Zodiac's cross circle symbol. Handwritten on the card was the note "Peek-a-boo,
you are doomed." The threat was taken seriously and received a front-page story on the Chronicle.
Soon after
receiving this letter, Avery received an anonymous letter alerting him to the similarities between the Zodiac's
activities and the unsolved murder of Cheri Jo Bates, which had occurred four years earlier at the city college in
Riverside in the Greater Los Angeles Area, more than 400 miles south of San Francisco.
He reported his findings
in the Chronicle on November 16, 1970.
Riverside attack
On October 30, 1966, 18-year-old Cheri Jo Bates, a student of Riverside Community College, spent the evening at
the campus library annex until it closed at 9:00p.m. Neighbors reported hearing a scream around 10:30p.m. Bates
was found dead the next morning, a short distance from the library, between two abandoned houses slated to be
demolished for campus renovations. The wires in her Volkswagen's distributor cap had been pulled out. She was
brutally beaten and stabbed to death. A man's Timex watch with a torn wristband was found nearby.
The watch
had stopped at 12:24,
but police believe the attack occurred much earlier.
A month later, on November 29, 1966, nearly identical typewritten letters were mailed to the Riverside police and
the Riverside Press-Enterprise, titled "The Confession". The author claimed responsibility for the Bates murder,
providing details of the crime that were not released to the public. The author warned that Bates "is not the first and
she will not be the last."
In December 1966, a poem was discovered carved into the bottom side of a desktop in
the Riverside City College library. Titled "Sick of living/unwilling to die", the poem's language and handwriting
resembled that of the Zodiac's letters. It was signed with what were assumed to be the initials rh. During the 1970
investigation, Sherwood Morrill, California's top "Questioned Documents" examiner, expressed his opinion that the
poem was written by the Zodiac.
On April 30, 1967, exactly six months after the Bates murder, Bates' father Joseph, the Press-Enterprise, and the
Riverside police all received nearly identical letters: in a handwritten scrawl the Press-Enterprise and police copies
read "Bates had to die there will be more", with a small scribble at the bottom that resembled the letter Z. Joseph
Bates' copy read "She had to die there will be more", this time without the Z signature.
[citation needed]
On March 13, 1971, five months after Avery's article linking the Zodiac to the Riverside murder, the Zodiac mailed a
letter to the Los Angeles Times. In the letter he credited the police, instead of Avery, for discovering his "Riverside
activity, but they are only finding the easy ones, there are a hell of a lot more down there."
The connection between Cheri Jo Bates, Riverside and the Zodiac remains uncertain. Paul Avery and the Riverside
Police Department maintain that the Bates homicide was not committed by the Zodiac, but did concede some of the
Bates letters may have been his work to claim credit falsely.
Zodiac Killer
Lake Tahoe disappearance
On March 22, 1971, a postcard to the Chronicle, addressed to "Paul Averly" and believed to be from the Zodiac,
appeared to take credit for the disappearance of Donna Lass on September 6, 1970. Made from a collage of
advertisements and magazine lettering, it featured a scene from an advertisement for Forest Pines condominiums and
the text "Sierra Club", "Sought Victim 12", "peek through the pines", "pass Lake Tahoe areas", and "around in the
snow". Zodiac's cross circle symbol was in the place of the usual return address.
[citation needed]
Lass was a nurse at the Sahara Tahoe hotel and casino. She worked until about 2:00a.m. on September 6, 1970,
treating her last patient at 1:40a.m. Later that same day, both Lass's employer and her landlord received phone calls
from an unknown male falsely claiming Lass had left town due to a family emergency.
Lass was never found.
What appeared to be a grave site was discovered near the Clair Tappaan Lodge in Norden, California, on Sierra Club
property, but an excavation yielded only a pair of sunglasses.
[citation needed]
No evidence has been uncovered to
connect the Lass disappearance with the Zodiac Killer definitively.
Santa Barbara attack
In a Vallejo Times-Herald story appearing on November 13, 1972, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Bill Baker
[citation needed]
postulated that the murders of a young couple in northern Santa Barbara County might have been
the work of the Zodiac Killer. On June 4, 1963, high school senior Robert Domingos and fiance Linda Edwards
were shot dead on a beach near Lompoc, having skipped school that day for "Senior Ditch Day". Police believed that
the assailant attempted to bind the victims, but when they freed themselves and attempted to flee, the killer shot them
repeatedly in the back and chest with a .22-caliber weapon. The killer then placed their bodies in a small shack and
tried, unsuccessfully, to burn it down.
[citation needed]
Final Zodiac letter
After the "Pines" card, the Zodiac remained silent for nearly three years. The Chronicle then received a letter from
the Zodiac, postmarked January 29, 1974, praising The Exorcist as "the best saterical comidy [sic]" that he had ever
seen." The letter included a snippet of verse from The Mikado and an unusual symbol at the bottom that has
remained unexplained by researchers. Zodiac concluded the letter with a new score, "Me = 37, SFPD = 0".
Later letters of suspicious authorship
Of further communications sent by the public to members of the news media, some contained similar characteristics
of previous Zodiac writings. The Chronicle received a letter postmarked February 14, 1974, informing the editor that
the initials for the Symbionese Liberation Army spelled out an Old Norse word meaning "kill".
However, the
handwriting was not authenticated as the Zodiac's.
A letter to the Chronicle, postmarked May 8, 1974, featured a complaint that the movie Badlands was
"murder-glorification" and asked the paper to cut its advertisements. Signed only "A citizen", the handwriting, tone,
and surface irony were all similar to earlier Zodiac communications.
[citation needed]
The Chronicle subsequently
received an anonymous letter postmarked July 8, 1974, complaining about one of its columnists, Marco Spinelli. The
letter was signed "the Red Phantom (red with rage)". The Zodiac's authorship of this letter is debated.
[citation needed]
A letter, dated April 24, 1978, was initially deemed authentic, but was declared a hoax less than three months later
by three experts. Dave Toschi, the SFPD homicide detective who had worked the case since the Stine murder, was
thought to have forged the letter, because author Armistead Maupin believed the letter to be similar to "fan mail" he
received in 1976 which he believed was authored by Toschi. While he admitted to writing the fan mail, Toschi
denied forging the Zodiac letter and was eventually cleared of any charges. The authenticity of this letter remains
Zodiac Killer
On March 3, 2007, an American Greetings Christmas card sent to the Chronicle, postmarked 1990 in Eureka had
recently been discovered in their photo files by editorial assistant Daniel King.
Inside the envelope, with the card,
was a photocopy of two U.S. Postal keys on a magnet keychain. The handwriting on the envelope resembles Zodiac's
print, but was declared inauthentic by forensic document examiner Lloyd Cunningham. However, not all Zodiac
experts agree with Cunningham's analysis.
Wikipedia:Link rot There is no return address on the envelope nor is
his crossed-circle signature to be found. The card itself is unmarked. The Chronicle turned over all the material to
the Vallejo Police Department for further analysis.
A number of suspects have been named. Robert Graysmith's book Zodiac advanced Arthur Leigh Allen as a suspect
based on circumstantial evidence. A letter sent to the Riverside Police Department from Bates' killer was typed with
a Royal typewriter with an elite type, the same brand found during a February 1991 search of Allen's residence. He
owned and wore a Zodiac brand wristwatch. Allen lived in Vallejo and worked minutes away from where one of the
first victims (Ferrin) lived and where one of the killings took place.
In 2002, SFPD developed a partial DNA profile from the saliva on stamps and envelopes of Zodiac's letters. SFPD
compared this partial DNA to the DNA of Arthur Leigh Allen. A DNA comparison was also made with the DNA of
Don Cheney, who was Allen's former close friend and the first person to suggest Allen may be the Zodiac Killer.
Since neither test result indicated a match, Allen and Cheney were excluded as the contributors of the DNA, though
it cannot be stated definitively that it is DNA from the Zodiac on the envelopes.
Current status of investigations
In April 2004, the SFPD marked the case "inactive," citing caseload pressure and resource demands.
they re-opened their case sometime before March 2007.
In 2007, a man named Dennis Kaufman claimed that his stepfather Jack Tarrance was the Zodiac. Kaufman turned
several items over to the FBI including a hood similar to the one worn by the Zodiac. According to news sources,
DNA analysis conducted by the FBI on the items were deemed inconclusive in 2010. Kaufman's claims have later
been widely discredited. He claimed to have incriminating rolls of film taken by his stepfather. The photos allegedly
showed victims of the crimes. Kaufman later published some of these photos on his own web page. The photos were
very small, had low resolution, and were so blurry that nothing could be positively identified. An associate of
Kaufman's, Nanette Barto, who received her Forensic Document Examining certificate from an unaccredited school,
claimed to have matched Jack Tarrance's handwriting to that of the Zodiac Killer. However, in 2010, the FBI's Head
Document Examiner at Quantico deemed the handwriting "Inconclusive".
[citation needed]
In 2009, Deborah Perez claimed that her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, was the Zodiac. However, Perez alleged
previously that she was the illegitimate daughter of John F. Kennedy, so her claim that her father was the Zodiac has
been viewed as unlikely.
In 2009, a lawyer named Robert Tarbox (who, in August 1975, was disbarred by the California Supreme Court for
failure to pay some clients)
said that in 1972 a merchant mariner walked into his office and confessed to him
that he was the Zodiac Killer. The seemingly lucid seaman (whose name Tarbox would not reveal due to
confidentiality) described his crimes briefly but persuasively enough to convince Tarbox. The man claimed he was
trying to stop himself from his "opportunistic" murder spree but never returned to see Tarbox again. Tarbox took out
a full-page ad in the Vallejo Times-Herald in which he cleared the name of Arthur Leigh Allen as a killer, his only
reason for revealing the story thirty years after the fact. Robert Graysmith, the author of several books on Zodiac,
said Tarbox's story was "entirely plausible." Retired police handwriting expert Lloyd Cunningham, who worked the
Zodiac case for decades, added "they gave me banana boxes full of Allen's writing, and none of his writing even
came close to the Zodiac. Nor did DNA extracted from the envelopes (on the Zodiac letters) come close to Arthur
Zodiac Killer
Leigh Allen."
In 2009, an episode of the History Channel television series MysteryQuest looked at newspaper editor Richard
Gaikowski (19362004). During the time of the murders, Gaikowski worked for Good Times, a San Francisco
counterculture newspaper. His appearance resembles the composite sketch, and Nancy Slover, the Vallejo police
dispatcher who was contacted by the Zodiac shortly after the Blue Rock Springs Attack, has identified a recording of
Gaikowski's voice as being the same as the Zodiac's.
Additional circumstantial evidence exists but cannot
definitively connect Gaikowski to the murders.
[citation needed]
The case is open in Napa County and also in the city of Riverside.
[citation needed]
Retired police detective Steve Hodel argues in his book The Black Dahlia Avenger that his father, George Hill
Hodel, Jr., was the Black Dahlia killer whose victims include Elizabeth Short. The book caused the release of
previously suppressed files and wire recordings by the Los Angeles district attorney's office of his father which
showed that he was a prime suspect in Short's murder. The L.A. district Attorney subsequently wrote a letter which
is published in the revised edition stating that if he were still alive he would be prosecuted for the crimes.
In a follow up book, Hodel argued a circumstantial case that his father was also the Zodiac Killer based upon
a police sketch, the similarity of the style of the Zodiac letters to the Black Dahlia Avenger letters and questioned
document examination.
On February 19, 2011, America's Most Wanted featured a story about the Zodiac Killer. A picture has recently
surfaced of known Zodiac victim Darlene Ferrin and a man who closely resembles the composite sketch, formed
based on eyewitness' descriptions, of the Zodiac Killer. Police believe the photo was taken in San Francisco in the
summer of 1966 or 1967. Police hope someone can identify the man in the photo.
It has been suspected that the
man in the photo is Darlene Ferrin's ex-husband, James Phillips. This has not been confirmed.
[citation needed]
Former California Highway Patrol officer Lyndon Lafferty argues that the Zodiac killer is a 91-year-old Solano
County, California man whom he calls "George Russell Tucker." Using a group of retired law enforcement officers
called the Mandamus Seven, Lafferty discovered "Tucker" and a cover-up for why he was not pursued. The man
died in February 2012 and is not considered a suspect by law enforcement agencies.
In February, 2014, it was reported that a man named Louie Myers had confessed to a friend that he was the Zodiac
Killer in 2001, after learning that he was dying from cirrhosis of the liver. He requested that his friend, Randy
Kenney go to the police upon his death. He died in 2002, though Kenney allegedly had difficulties getting officers to
cooperate and take the claims seriously. There are several potential connections between Myers and the Zodiac case.
Myers attended the same High Schools as victims David Farraday and Betty Lou Jensen. Myers also allegedly
worked in the same restaurant as victim Darlene Ferrin. Myers also had access to the same sort-of military boot
whose print was found at the Lake Berryessa crime scene. Furthermore, during the period between 1971-1973 when
no Zodiac letters were sent, Myers was stationed overseas with the military. Kenney claims that Myers confessed he
targeted couples due to a bad breakup with a girlfriend. While officers associated with the case are skeptical, they
believe the story is credible enough to investigate.
Zodiac Killer
Popular culture
The Zodiac Killer's crimes, letters, and cryptograms to police and newspapers inspired many movies, novels,
television productions, as well as other serial killers.
[1] [1] SFPD News Release, March 2007
[2] [2] Napa PD Website, Vallejo PD Website and "Tipline," Solano County Sheriff's Office
[3] [3] California Department of Justice Website
[4] http:/ / tools.wmflabs. org/ geohack/ geohack. php?pagename=Zodiac_Killer& params=38_5_41. 61_N_122_8_38. 24_W_
[5] http:/ / tools.wmflabs. org/ geohack/ geohack. php?pagename=Zodiac_Killer& params=38_7_33. 56_N_122_11_27. 94_W_
[6] http:/ / tools.wmflabs. org/ geohack/ geohack. php?pagename=Zodiac_Killer& params=38_33_48. 29_N_122_13_54. 43_W_
[7] http:/ / tools.wmflabs. org/ geohack/ geohack. php?pagename=Zodiac_Killer& params=37_47_19. 47_N_122_27_25. 54_W_
[8] http:/ / tools.wmflabs. org/ geohack/ geohack. php?pagename=Zodiac_Killer& params=34_28_11. 20_N_120_10_7. 14_W_
[9] http:/ / tools.wmflabs. org/ geohack/ geohack. php?pagename=Zodiac_Killer& params=33_58_19_N_117_22_52_W_
[10] [10] Adams, p. 274
[11] http:/ / tools. wmflabs. org/ geohack/ geohack.php?pagename=Zodiac_Killer& params=37_38_16. 14_N_121_23_55. 22_W_
[12] Graysmith, pp. 2628.
[13] Graysmith, pp. 3233.
[14] [14] Graysmith, p. 29.
[15] Graysmith, pp. 5455.
[16] [16] Graysmith, p. 49.
[17] "Coded Clues in Murders" (http:/ / web.archive. org/ web/ 20090205124833/ http:/ / cdn. sfgate. com/ chronicle/ acrobat/ 2007/ 02/ 25/
zodiac_1969_08_02_a.pdf). San Francisco Chronicle, August 2, 1969. Archived from the original (http:/ / cdn. sfgate. com/ chronicle/
acrobat/ 2007/ 02/ 25/ zodiac_1969_08_02_a. pdf) on February 5, 2009.
[18] Graysmith, pp. 5557.
[19] Graysmith, pp. 6277
[20] "I've Killed Seven" The Zodiac Claims (http:/ / cdn. sfgate. com/ chronicle/ acrobat/ 2007/ 02/ 25/ zodiac_1969_11_12_1. pdf). San
Francisco Chronicle,m November 12, 1969.
[21] New Letters From Zodiac Boast of More Killings (http:/ / cdn. sfgate. com/ chronicle/ acrobat/ 2007/ 02/ 25/ zodiac_1969_11_12_jump_1.
pdf). San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 1969.
[22] [22] Adams, p. 268.
[23] [23] Graysmith, p. 139.
[24] "My Name Is" letter (http:/ / zodiackiller. com/ MyNameIsLetter. html). Retrieved March 8, 2007.
[25] Zamorra, Jim Herron. 196771 a bloody period for S.F. police (http:/ / www. sfgate. com/ cgi-bin/ article. cgi?file=/ c/ a/ 2007/ 01/ 27/
MNG9DNQ8TQ1. DTL). San Francisco Chronicle; January 27, 2007. Retrieved March 7, 2007.
[26] Gilbert and Sullivan Clue to Zodiac (http:/ / cdn.sfgate. com/ chronicle/ acrobat/ 2007/ 02/ 25/ zodiac_1970_10_12_1. pdf). San Francisco
Chronicle, October 12, 1970.
[27] Graysmith, pp. 161162.
[28] Graysmith, pp. 165166.
[29] Photo of watch found near Bates' body. (http:/ / www. zodiackiller. com/ BatesWatch2. html). Retrieved July 21, 2007.
[30] Graysmith, pp. 168169.
[31] Graysmith, pp. 170172.
[32] Wark, Jake M. "Paul Avery and the Riverside Connection" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20061110224731/ http:/ / members. aol. com/
Jakewark/ connect. html). AOL. Archived from the original (http:/ / members. aol. com/ Jakewark/ connect. html) on November 10, 2006.
[33] Zimmerman, Janet. New movie 'Zodiac' includes Redlands resident's attack (http:/ / www. pe. com/ localnews/ riverside/ stories/
PE_News_Local_D_zodiak_02. 3f2cafb. html) Riverside Press-Enterprise, March 1, 2007. Retrieved March 13, 2007.
[34] [34] Graysmith, p. 178.
[35] Tips Still Pursue Multiple Slayer (http:/ / cdn.sfgate.com/ chronicle/ acrobat/ 2007/ 02/ 25/ zodiac_1976_08_26_1. pdf). San Francisco
Chronicle, August 26, 1976.
[36] Williams, Lance. "Zodiac's written clues fascinate document expert", (http:/ / www. sfgate. com/ cgi-bin/ article. cgi?f=/ c/ a/ 2007/ 03/ 03/
MNG37OETI71. DTL& hw=zodiac+ christmas+ card& sn=001& sc=1000) San Francisco Chronicle, March 3, 2007. Retrieved March 15,
[37] Freedman, Rich. Zodiac: Did killer send card in 1990? (http:/ / www. timesheraldonline. com/ todaysnews/
ci_5355609~Zodiac:_Did_killer_send_card_in_1990?); The Vallejo Times Herald, March 3, 2007. Retrieved March 16, 2007.
[38] Weiss, Mike; DNA seems to clear only Zodiac suspect (http:/ / www. sfgate. com/ cgi-bin/ article. cgi?f=/ c/ a/ 2002/ 10/ 15/ MN47255.
DTL& hw=zodiac+ case+ dna& sn=006& sc=687); San Francisco Chronicle; October 12, 2002. Retrieved February 28, 2007.
Zodiac Killer
[39] Goodyear, Charlie. Files shut on Zodiac's deadly trail (http:/ / www. sfgate. com/ cgi-bin/ article. cgi?f=/ c/ a/ 2004/ 04/ 07/
MNG8N61MGI1.DTL); San Francisco Chronicle; April 7, 2004. Retrieved September 18, 2008.
[40] Zodiac Killer's Daughter, Deborah Perez, Also JFK's Daughter (http:/ / sfist. com/ 2009/ 05/ 01/ zodiack_killers_daughter_deborah_pe.
php). Retrieved February 7, 2010.
[41] http:/ / members. calbar. ca.gov/ fal/ Member/ Detail/ 25339
[42] http:/ / blogs. sfweekly. com/ thesnitch/ 2009/ 07/ how_many_disbarred_lawyers_doe. php
[43] [43] Retrieved August 10, 2011.
[44] America's Most Wanted, Fugitive Cases: Zodiac Killer (https:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20120509161730/ http:/ / www. amw. com/
fugitives/ case. cfm?id=43096), Television airing February 19, 2011. Link to hi-res photograph (http:/ / zodiackiller. com/ images/
newdarleneamwhuge. jpg)
[45] http:/ / abclocal.go. com/ kgo/ story?section=news/ iteam& id=9441384
Primary sources
FBI Files:
FBI Case File (1 of 5) on the Zodiac Killer. 89 pages.
FBI Case File (2 of 5) on the Zodiac Killer. 109 pages.
FBI Case File (3 of 5) on the Zodiac Killer. 258 pages.
FBI Case File (4 of 5) on the Zodiac Killer. 208 pages.
FBI Case File (5 of 5) on the Zodiac Killer. 373 pages.
Further reading
Charles F. Adams (October 1, 2004), Murder by the Bay: historic homicide in and about the city of San Francisco
(http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Lfw1vdIQ51oC& pg=PP1), Quill Driver Books, ISBN978-1-884995-46-0
Brenda Haugen (August 1, 2010), The Zodiac Killer: Terror and Mystery (http:/ / books. google. com/
books?id=p2bS3thnD5YC& pg=PP1), Capstone Press, ISBN978-0-7565-4357-0
Robert Graysmith (January 2, 2007), Zodiac, Berkley Books, ISBN978-0-425-21218-9
Michael D. Kelleher; David Van Nuys (2002), "This is the Zodiac speaking": into the mind of a serial killer,
Praeger, ISBN978-0-275-97338-4
Gareth Penn (1987), Times 17: the amazing story of the Zodiac murders in California and Massachusetts,
19661981, Foxglove Press
William T. Rasmussen (August 2006), Corroborating Evidence II (http:/ / books. google. com/
books?id=G8v-moyT8w0C& pg=PP1), Sunstone Press, ISBN978-0-86534-536-2
External links
"Zodiac Murder Map" (http:/ / maps. google. com/ maps/ ms?ie=UTF8& hl=en& om=1&
msid=110578061651284892934. 00000111d3cf57de2c360& msa=0& ll=38. 201497,-122. 203674& spn=1.
651111,2. 271423& z=9) Google Map plotting definite and possible Zodiac attacks (with details).
Article Sources and Contributors
Article Sources and Contributors
Zodiac Killer Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=605571104 Contributors: .V., 21655, 2D, 320btp, 4leona2, A-non-moose, ACSE, ALargeElk, Ablebakerus, Academic
Challenger, Acc78, Acid1394, Acroterion, ActivExpression, Adamdaley, Adotorniny, Afitillidie13, Agrumer, Ahseaton, Aitias, Akwilks, Alansohn, Alaric the Goth, Ale jrb, AlexiusHoratius,
Alison, Aliyaskie, Allstarecho, Amandaljones, Americus55, Anastrophe, Andonic, Andy Dingley, Andyluciano, Anna Frodesiak, Anna Lincoln, Antandrus, Anubis3, Apollyon48, ArglebargleIV,
Arnaudh, ArnoldReinhold, Asarelah, Asc85, Ascidian, Ashley Pomeroy, Astoria Village, Athaler, Atomicicarus, AtticusX, AussieLegend, Avb, Axelfear, BD2412, BHC, Bacteria, Basilisk4u,
Bater2481284, Bdve, Beefball, Bellerophon5685, Bender235, Berean Hunter, Berg1115, Bigbluefish, Bill37212, Bindyree, Binksternet, Biznatchnumerouno, Bloogoo, Bmdavll, Bobo192,
Bongwarrior, Bons, Boris Barowski, Brandmeister (old), Brian1979, Briangmilnes, Brintsta, BrotherJustin, Bryan Derksen, Bryan121, BryanG, Bsheelflip, Bsroiaadn, Bullzeye, Burntsauce,
CCS81, CL, CPav1130, CWii, Calabraxthis, Calmer Waters, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, CanadianCaesar, CanadianLinuxUser, Canis Lupus, Canjth, Cannolis, Canthusus, Capricorn42,
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Chrisjwalker, ChristinaDunigan, Chzz, Cj005257, Ckatz, Clarkster456, Claw6788, Closedmouth, ClovisPt, Coelacan, Colin Marquardt, Commander Shepard, Consulate76, Contributor777,
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Cryptic, Cst17, Cthompson, Cuddyc, Cunningham, Curtmack, Curtsurly, Cyanidethistles, Cyanolinguophile, CzarB, D99figge, DVD R W, Dadaist6174, Daddyx2008, Dancing is Forbidden,
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Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors
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File:Zodiac-logo.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Zodiac-logo.png License: Public Domain Contributors: Image:Zodiac-logo.jpg
File:Zodiac cipher.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Zodiac_cipher.png License: Public Domain Contributors: Anastrophe. at en.wikipedia
File:Zodiac-logo crop.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Zodiac-logo_crop.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Zodiac Killer
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