Famous Unsolved Crimes The Zodiac Killer Part 1

About a famous unsolved crime involving the Zodiac Killer, history of the investigation, clues, and unanswered questions.


The Zodiac Killer (1966-?)

The Crime: Officially, the oddball but deadly Zodiac case started on Dec. 20, 1968, with the murder of two high school sweethearts, David Faraday, 17, and Bettilou Jensen, 16, who were parked on a lonely road outside Vallejo, Calif., just north of San Francisco. The boy was shot in the car; the girl was gunned down by five shots when she tried to run away. The killer was never found. The following July 4, however, the killer shot another young couple in a nearby park; the girl died, but the boy survived despite four bullet wounds. The killer had temporarily blinded him with a flashlight, so his description of the assailant was very sketchy. A short while later the Vallejo police got an anonymous phone call. A man said, "I just shot the two kids at the public park. With a 9-mm. automatic. I also killed those two kids Christmas."

On Aug. 1, 1969, the Vallejo newspaper and two San Francisco dailies got letters from the killer, each with a note and one third of a cryptogram--an odd series of letters and signs offering no easy interpretation. The killer signed himself with a circle divided by a cross, his symbol for the zodiac. In subsequent letters he started off: "This is Zodiac speaking."

The Investigation: While newspapers printed Zodiac's taunting letters and promises of more violence, police pressed their hunt for a possible mental case. In addition, San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery discovered that the handwriting in a letter written by the murderer of college coed Cheri Jo Bates in 1966 matched the Zodiac's.

Clues: It took days to crack Zodiac's cryptogram, mainly because his spelling was lousy (perhaps deliberately so). The code did tell something of Zodiac's bizarre motivation. He wrote: "I like killing people because it is more fun than killing wild game in the forrest because man is the moat dangerus anamal of all to kill something gives me the most thrilling expeerence. The best part of it ia thae when I die I will be reborn in paradice and all the I have killed will become my slaves. I will not give you my name because you will trs to sloi down or stop my collecting of slaves for my afterlife."

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