Real Name: Unrevealed
Case: Serial Killer
Date: December 20, 1968 to October 11, 1969
Location: San Francisco, California
Details: The Zodiac Killer committed five known murders and seriously wounded two people in 1968 and 1969. On December 20th, 1968, David Farraday and Bettilou Jensen were both shot and killed while sitting in a parked car at a lover's lane between Vallejo and Benicia.
There were no signs of robbery or rape. The second couple to be attacked were Michael Mageau, who survived, and Darlene Ferrin. They were shot at point blank range while enjoying the fourth of July, 1969 evening, sitting in Ferrin's parked car in a park on the Columbus Parkway, the location of which was reported to the Vallejo police the same night in a cryptic phone call.
The Zodiac proceeded to taunt the police and three local newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, with letters containing a cipher in which the writer identified himself as the Zodiac; once decoded, the cipher was discovered to contain taunts that produced several leads but led to no arrests.
On September 27, 1969, the Zodiac struck again, slaying Cecilia Shepard and seriously wounding Bryan Hartnell on the shore of Lake Berryessa. They were brutally attacked by a knife wielding man wearing a homemade disguise that hid most of his face and body and which was decorated with the sign of the self professed Zodiac killer, a circle with crosshair design. Hartnell survived to describe the attacker in a hood with eye slits, adding he saw spectacles and light brown hair. Curiously, the Zodiac changed his tactics with his last known killing, that of cab driver Paul Stine on Nob Hill. The Zodiac then walked off with Stine's wallet and a fragment from his shirt, which was later mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Suspects: Arthur Leigh Allen may have been the strongest suspect circumstantially, but handwriting experts were never able to match his handwriting to the cipher and various letters, nor did fingerprints ever tie him to the scene of any of the murders. Of all the suspects to be connected to the crime, the most unusual is that of Ted Kaczynski, The Unabomber. The similarities include but not limited to:
- Kaczynski lived in the area during the attacks, and a man similar to his appearance was seen near one of the crime scenes.
- Kaczynski was a mathematical genius, more than apt to create the codes used by the Zodiac.
- Kaczynski also communicated with the police through the newspaper as the Unabomber.
- The Unabomber had threatened to return with a new war with technology.
- Similarity of writing style and wording by Kaczynski and the Zodiac.
- The name "Theodore Kaczynski" fits perfectly in an undeciphered sequence of letters in one of the Zodiac letters.
However, both the FBI and the San Francisco Police Department have since eliminated Kaczynski as a suspect using scientific fingerprint and writing comparisons.
Extra Notes: The Zip Gun Bomber also claimed to be the Zodiac Killer. The Unabomber was first featured on Unsolved Mysteries on September 15, 1987, with his possible Zodiac connection not featured until September 20, 1996. The Zodiac Killer has also been featured on America’s Most Wanted and Haunting Evidence.