As a bay area native, everyone has heard of the Zodiac Killer case, yet it still remains unsolved till this day. Many experts believe that the Zodiac Killer only operated in Northern California from the late 1960s to early 1970s. His murdered victims were from the Bay Area cities of Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa and San Francisco and were 4 men and 3 women who were between the ages of 16 and 29. What the Zodiac’s motives were behind these murders is still being debated, however all were killed by either being stabbed or shot, and were later followed with taunting letters that were sent to the local Bay Area press. These letters included 4 cryptograms or ciphers, which 3 of the 4 still remain to be decoded today.
Numerous 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 County. The California Department of Justice has maintained an open case file on the Zodiac murders since 1969.
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.
- Michael Mageau Renault, 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.
- 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.
- Paul Lee Stine, 29: shot and killed on October 11, 1969, in the Presidio Heights neighborhood in San Francisco.
Below is an original image of one of the cipher’s that has yet to be cracked.
So I ask you, who do you think the Zodiac Killer is?