Did the police catch the Zodiac Killer?

Zodiac Killer - Letters, Cipher & Suspects


The Zodiac Killer was blamed for several murders in the Francico Bay Area in the late 1960s. He was never caught. Parent-named Zodiac Killer was in 1968-19


The Zodiac Killer was blamed for several murders in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s. He was never caught.

Who Was the Zodiac Killer?

The self-proclaimed Zodiac Killer was directly linked to at least five murders in Northern California in 1968 and 1969, and may have been responsible for more murders. He mocked the police and threatened letters, which he sent to the local newspapers from 1969 to 1974 before abruptly cutting off communications. Despite an intense investigation, no one has ever been arrested for the crimes and the case remains open. The mystery of the murders has been the subject of numerous books and films, including the acclaimed 2007 contribution by director David Fincher Zodiac.

Zodiac Killer Letters, Symbol & Cipher

On August 1, 1969, the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle and Vallejo Times-Herald Each received an identical handwritten letter in an envelope with no return address. "Dear Editor, I am the murderer of the two teenagers who went to Lake Herman for Christmas last year," the letters contained details of the Zodiac Killer murders that only the killer could have known. The killer threatened further attacks if the letters weren't on the front page of the newspapers.

Each letter ended with a symbol that consisted of a circle with a line through it. Each letter also included a part of a three-part cipher that, in his opinion, contained his identity.

While the Bay Area Police Department worked feverishly with the assistance of the FBI to track down the killer, the police soon received another letter San Francisco Examiner. Start, "Dear Editor: This is the Zodiac Talking," it also detailed the murders and mocked the police for not being able to crack its code or catch it.

A few days later, the high school teacher Donald Harden and his wife Bettye managed to solve the cipher. "I like killing people because it's so much fun," it said. "It's more fun than killing wild game in the forest because humans are the most dangerous animal of all."

Three days after the fourth known Zodiac murder, the 1969 murder of taxi driver Paul Stine, the San Francisco Chronicle received a letter alleging the crime. It was written just as erratically as the previous letters of the zodiac and contained the details of Stine's murder and was accompanied by a bloody rag from Stine's shirt. At the end of the letter, the killer considered the next thing to do is to shoot down the tire of a school bus and "pick up the children if they jump out."

The Zodiac Killer continued his mocking correspondence with Bay Area newspapers, adding additional digits, claiming to have committed multiple murders, and mocking the police for their inability to apprehend him.

In 1974 the letters were discontinued, but the investigation was not.

Zodiac Killer Movies

The Zodiac Killer was the inspiration for the psychopath in the 1971 Clint Eastwood classic Dirty HarryIt shows a scene with a school bus full of kidnapped children.

Years later, Robert Graysmith's writing fueled the critically acclaimed creation of David Fincher Zodiac, which hit the big screen in 2007 starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr.

The following dramatized settings on this topic include the 2017 function Awaken the zodiac, about a couple investigating the killer before falling into his crosshairs.

The History Channel also aired a non-fiction TV series in 2017, The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer, about the investigators' hunt for the Zodiac Killer code.

Victims & Attacks

As of now, four different attacks have definitely been attributed to the Zodiac Killer. The first confirmed incident occurred on the night of December 20, 1968, when 17-year-old David Faraday and his 16-year-old girlfriend Betty Lou Jensen were shot dead near their car in a remote location on Lake Herman Street, on the outskirts of the city Vallejo, California. The police were baffled and unable to determine the motive for the crime or a suspect.

In the early morning of July 5, 1969, 22-year-old Darlene Ferrin and her 19-year-old friend Mike Mageau were sitting in a parked car in a similarly remote location in Vallejo when they were approached by a man with a flashlight. The figure fired several shots at her, killing Ferrin and seriously wounding Mageau.

Within an hour of the incident, a man called the Vallejo Police Department, gave them the location of the crime, and assumed responsibility for both the attack and the 1968 murders of Faraday and Jensen.

Despite evidence that included Finger, Mageau's description, the deciphered cipher, and a wave of clues and clues, the police were unable to track down the Zodiac Killer.

On the evening of September 27, 1969, he struck again and approached the young couple Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell, who were relaxing in a remote part of Lake Berryessa in Napa County. He wore a hood and a shirt with a circle symbol and tied her up before brutally stabbing her, scrawling police on her car door, and leaving the scene. He then called the Napa Police Department to take responsibility. Shepard and Hartnell were both in critical condition but were still alive when the ambulance arrived, but Shepard died shortly afterwards from her wounds.

Two weeks later, on October 11, 1969, the Zodiac claimed another life and shot and killed 29-year-old taxi driver Paul Stine in the Presidio Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. Since the murder apparently did not conform to the pattern of the zodiac, it was initially considered robbery until San Francisco Chronicle received a letter alleging the crime.

At least five other murders have been tentatively linked to the Zodiac Killer, including the 1963 shooting of Robert Domingos and Linda Edwards near Santa Barbara, California, and the stabbing death of college student Cheri Jo Bates in Riverside, California in 1966.

Sketch of the Zodiac Killer

Using descriptions from witnesses who saw a man leave the Paul Stine crime scene in 1969, police managed to create and circulate a composite sketch of the killer. But despite increasing evidence and investigating numerous suspects, the Zodiac remained at large.

Was the Zodiac Killer ever caught?

No suspect has ever been arrested in either the known or suspected Zodiac murders. In the nearly five decades since the Faraday-Jensen murders, the inability to identify the zodiac killer has continued to frustrate law enforcement.

Zodiac Killer Theories & Suspects

The mystery surrounding the Zodiac case continues to fascinate the public and has inspired more than part of his theories on the identity of the killer. It ranges from plausible to crazy. These include allegations that he was unabomber Ted Kacznyski or the convicted killer Charles Manson, or that he eventually moved to Scotland and committed more murders there before finding fortune and giving up his evil ways.

Arthur Leigh Allen

True crime writer and former San Francisco Chronicle Caricaturist Robert Graysmith wrote two separate works on the killer (1986) Zodiac and 2002 Zodiac exposed) and ultimately identified a man named Arthur Leigh Allen as the most likely suspect. However, Allen died in 1992 and was not definitively linked to any of the murders.

Earl Van Best Jr.

In 2014, HarperCollins released The most dangerous animal of all by Gary Stewart, in which he claims his father, Earl Van Best Jr., who bears a strong resemblance to the man in the police sketch, was the Zodiac killer.

Louie Myers

Another man got in touch in 2014 and announced that a friend named Louie Myers had confessed to being the killer before he died in 2002. Certain events in Myers' story coincided with those associated with the Zodiac, but just like with Allen and Van Best, it was inconclusive.