In the late 1960’s, Northern California was plagued by a notorious killer who, through his cryptic letters to police, adopted the name Zodiac. Though the killer claimed to be responsible for the deaths of at least 37 people, evidence points to the fact that seven people were attacked by the Zodiac killer, and only five of those people died.
Known Victims of The Zodiac killer
The first recorded attack by this villain occurred in December of 1968 when a young couple had sought out a secluded place to park and spend some quiet time together. According to witnesses, the couple was seen huddled together in the front seat of the car that night.
Shortly afterward, though, they were found outside of the car. Betty Lou Jensen had been shot five times in the back and was found dead. Her boyfriend, David Faraday, had been shot at close range in the head. Faraday was still alive at the time the couple was found. However, he died on the way to the hospital.
Few details regarding this crime were uncovered, and the only clue police were left with was the description of a car that was spotted near the area at the time of the couple’s deaths.
Several months later, in July of 1969, the killer struck again, just a few miles away from where the first killing occurred. This couple was in a similar situation, parked in a secluded area, when a car pulled up behind them.
The driver approached the car and fired several rounds into the car. When the couple were discovered, both were alive, but Darlene Ferren died on the way to the hospital. her boyfriend, however, was still alive and offered a rather vague description of the shooter.
The spree of killings continued in September of the same year, when a young couple picnicking in a park were attacked. This time, though, the methods and situation were different. The killer wore a hooded costume and demanded money and the keys to their car before tying the pair up and stabbing them repeatedly.
Evidence was left in the form of a crossed circle symbol, which the killer drew on the couple’s car before departing. Cecelia Shepherd died two days after the attack as a result of her injuries. Her boyfriend survived, though, and offered a detailed description of the incident to police
While the first three attacks were somewhat similar in that young couples were attacked in private settings, the fourth attack was markedly different. In October of 1969, Paul Stine, a taxi driver, picked up a passenger.
The passenger shot Stine in the temple, took his wallet and keys, and tore off a portion of his shirt, which was later enclosed in a letter sent to police. This incident was witnessed by a group of children who called the police and offered description of the killer.
A final incident occurred in March of 1970, when Kathleen Johns was abducted by a man who fit the same description as the Zodiac killer. Johns reported that she was driving when another driver pulled up beside her and told her that her wheel was wobbling.
The man offered to tighten the bolts on her tire, but he loosened them instead, and when she started driving again, the wheel feel off. At that point, he offered to give her a ride to a gas station.
When the man failed to stop at several gas stations, though, Johns became nervous and escaped from the car at an intersection, hiding in a nearby patch of bushes until she was sure he was gone. Johns is the last person who reported having contact with the killer.
Who Was The Zodiac Killer?
Given the grisly nature of the crimes and the frequent threat of more to follow, many have asked one very important question: was the Zodiac Killer found? That is a difficult question to answer because many people have come forward claiming to be the killer.
Fingerprints were found at the scene of the taxi driver’s murder, and these were deemed good prints, but the FBI was unable to use them to track down the killer (FBI Records: The Vault, 2015).
The letters sent to newspapers and law enforcement by the killer were analyzed, but the handwriting was not always the same. In essence, there simply was not enough solid and matching evidence to determine exactly who the Zodiac Killer was.
Perhaps due to the movie about the killer that launched in 2007, many people have again grown curious about this cold case and are looking to find out who the killer might have been. One man reports that a close friend of his, Louie Myers, confessed to being the killer.
Many elements of Myers’ life do point to connections that make this possible. His physical description does not match that of the killer, though, and police doubt his connection to the crime.
Based on the location of some of the murders and the physical description given, some have pointed the finger at Ross Sullivan, but detectives did not consider him a legitimate suspect.
Gary Stewart, a man who was adopted at a young age, claims that when he began looking for information about his birth father, he found that his father may be the zodiac killer. He includes both fingerprints and a handwriting analysis as evidence to his claims.
In the end, though, the questions still remain. Who was the Zodiac Killer? Was the Zodiac Killer found? The case is considered cold by the FBI and was let go without closure. There is no official evidence that the killer has yet been found, but the world is still actively looking.
Dodd, J. (2014, May 13). My Father Was the Zodiac Killer,Author Claims.
Montaldo, C. (2015). The Unsolved Case of the Zodiac Killer.
Noyes, D. (2014, February 24). I-Team: Friend confesses to being The Zodiac Killer.
Rosen, M. (2015, May 7). This Man’s Brother Is NOT The Zodiac Killer (We Asked) .
The Zodiac Killer Part 01 of 06 . (2015).