"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. Numerous suspects were named by law enforcement and amateur investigators but no conclusive evidence surfaced during the killer's lifetime.
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.
Zodiac Killer letters
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 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 published.
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 himself. The letter was a response to Chief Stiltz's request for more details to prove he had killed Faraday, Jensen and Ferrin. In it, the Zodiac included details about the murders which had not 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...
Zodiac Story on Tru-TV Crime Library
July 5, 2011 (San Francisco Chronicle)
Zodiac sleuths with police skills keep case alive
Lyndon Lafferty and his cohorts are like a lot of unofficial sleuths trying to solve the 42-year-old Zodiac serial killer case - utterly convinced they've cracked it, obsessive about their research, and dismissive of any theory that doesn't match theirs. But there's one thing Lafferty's ad-hoc gumshoes have that most of the others don't...
Lafferty believes there was a huge cover up with the Zodiac case... Full Story Here
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