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The Zodiac Killer - Mysteries of The World


Unexplained Mysteries of The World ::-- [1.] Crop Circles [2.] The Pyramids of Egypt [3.] Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch) [4.] UFOs and Area 51 [5.] The Belmez Faces [6.] The Out of Body Experience [7.] The Mayan 2012 Prophecy [8.] Stonehenge [9.] Loch Ness Monster [10.] Bermuda Triangle [11.] Piri Reis map [12.] Shroud of Turin [13.] Mary Celeste [14.]The taos hum [15.] Black Dahlia [16.] Comte de Saint Germain [ 17.] Voynich Manuscript [18.] Jack the Ripper [19.] The Zodiac Killer [20.] The Babushka Lady.


The Zodiac Killer

The Zodiac killer was active in Northern California for ten months in the late 1960s. He killed at least five people, and injured two. He comitted the first two murders with a pistol, just inside the Benecia border. In his second shooting in Vallejo, he attempted to kill two people, but one survived despite gunshots to the head and neck. 40 minutes later the police recieved an anonymous phone call from a man claiming to be their killer and admitting to the murders of the previous two victims. One month three letters were sent to Newspapers in California containing a cypher that the killer claimed would give them his name. They cypher was decrypted to read:

 

I LIKE KILLING PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS SO MUCH FUN IT IS MORE FUN THAN KILLING WILD GAME IN THE FORREST BECAUSE MAN IS THE MOST DANGEROUE ANAMAL OF ALL TO KILL SOMETHING GIVES ME THE MOST THRILLING EXPERENCE IT IS EVEN BETTER THAN GETTING YOUR ROCKS OFF WITH A GIRL THE BEST PART OF IT IS THAE WHEN I DIE I WILL BE REBORN IN PARADICE AND THEI HAVE KILLED WILL BECOME MY SLAVES I WILL NOT GIVE YOU MY NAME BECAUSE YOU WILL TRY TO SLOI DOWN OR ATOP MY COLLECTIOG OF SLAVES FOR MY AFTERLIFE EBEORIETEMETHHPITI

 

The last eighteen letters have not been decrypted.While Arthur Leigh Allen was the prime suspect, all of the evidence was against him being the killer. To this day the Zodiac murders have not been solved.



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 confirmed to have been decoded.
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.

Victims

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Suspected victims

The following murder victims are suspected to be victims of Zodiac, though none have been confirmed:

  • Robert Domingos, 18, and Linda Edwards, 17: shot and killed on June 4, 1963, on a beach near Lompoc. 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.
  • Cheri Jo Bates, 18: stabbed to death and nearly decapitated on October 30, 1966, at Riverside City College in Riverside. Bates' 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' death.
  • 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' disappearance as a victim. No evidence has been uncovered to definitively connect Donna Lass' disappearance with the Zodiac Killer.

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 in the area between Stockton and Patterson for approximately three hours.

Prime suspect

Arthur Leigh Allen was the only suspect in the Zodiac murders to be served search warrants by police. He was never charged with any Zodiac-related crime and his fingerprints did not match those left by the killer of taxi cab driver Paul Stine. In 1991, 22 years after the shootings, survivor Michael Mageau identified Allen as the man who shot him, from a photo lineup of 1968 driver's licenses. Mageau stated he had never been shown a photo line up prior to that appointment in 1991.Allen, who suffered from diabetes, died on August 26, 1992, from kidney failure.

Current status of Zodiac Killer investigations

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 Vallejo Police Department's lead suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen. A DNA comparison was also made with Don Cheney's DNA, 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. Additionally in 2002, a partial palm print (called "Writer's Palm") was lifted from "The Exorcist" letter and then compared to a palm print of Allen's. Again, test results showed the palm prints did not match. Even though DNA samples taken from the letters sent by the Zodiac ruled out Allen as the person who handled them, neither the Vallejo nor the San Francisco Police Departments have ruled out Allen as a suspect.

zodiac killer

In April 2004, the SFPD marked the case "inactive," citing caseload pressure and resource demands. However, they re-opened their case sometime before March, 2007.
In 2007, Dennis Kaufman, the stepson of a man named Jack Tarrance, claimed that his stepfather 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, received her Forensic Document Examining certificate through an online course. She claimed to have matched Jack Tarrance's handwriting to that of the Zodiac Killer. In 2010, the FBI's Head Document Examiner at Quantico deemed the handwriting "Inconclusive".
In 2009, Deborah Perez claimed that her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, was the Zodiac. However, Perez also allegedly previously claimed 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 1975, had his law license suspended in California for failure to pay some clients) said that in 1972 a merchant marine walked into his office and confessed to him that he was the Zodiac Killer. The seemingly lucid seaman (whose name Tarbox wouldn't 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 30 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 Leigh Allen."
In 2009, an episode of the History Channel television series MysteryQuest looked at newspaper editor Richard Gaikowski (1936–2004). 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.
The Vallejo Police Department website maintains a link for providing Zodiac crime tips. The case is also open in Napa County and also in the city of Riverside.
Retired police detective Steve Hodel argues a case in his book The Black Dahlia Avenger that his father, George Hill Hodel, was the Black Dahlia suspect 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.

 

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