Zodiac killer was a dreaded serial killer whose area of operation was in Northern California ranging between 1960s to there about early 1970s. Zodiac unhillated victims in Vallejo, Bennicia, San Francisco among other places in California. He preyed on middle aged individuals between the ages of 29 years to 30 years. The name ‘Zodiac” is pseudo and up to this moment no one clearly knows the real identity of this man. However, Zodiac was revealed in a series of taunting letters to local press, of the many letters sent only one was definitely solved. Zodiac killer is appealing to me because of the mystery surrounding his operations and this paper endeavors to bring to the limelight his operations.
Zodiac killer is a famous US serial killer who has never been identified up to this moment. His iconic statement is that ‘I kill because it is fun’; send cold shivers down the spines of those in California and beyond. His killings was actions was a comination of grisly murders and bizarre public letters coloured in terrifying threats, outrageous demands and unwelcome ciphers announcing his identity. This identity gave sleepless nights to security officials, professional code decoders and armchair criminologists for over five decades, and are yet to figure out his identity.
Suspects have been brought forward by the relevant law enforcing agencies and amateur investigations carried out by all departs of police but unfortunately no one has brought this case to a conclusive outcome. In the year 2014 San Francisco Police department earmarked the case as inactive but later reopened it at some point in the year 2007. Zodiac killer’s remain open in Vallejo, Napa County and salano (Lafferty, 2015). Astonishingly California department of justice has had this case open since 1969 and still upbeat about bringing the perpetrator to book.
In the year 1968 a lovely young couple in the town of Benicia went out on a drive to wind at a popular site for lovers, some hours later motorists identified their lifeless bodies along the road and reported the matter to police. The murder was termed as gruesome. Horrific scene was reported by ambulance operators and the nearby community (Garry & Mustafa, 2014).
Seven months down the line Zodiac again struck a fatal blow. In July 1969 a young guy and lady were attacked in Vallejo California some few kilometers from the first murder site. According to police reports a man approached the car and opened fire on them killing them instantly. Within minutes of the brutal murder an identified person killed the police and reported a murder via a pay phone. Zodiac is claimed to have made the call claiming that he has killed two young kids in a brown car and he had killed two in a car the previous year (Rasmussen, 2016).
July 1969, Zodiac killer sent letters to three local media houses, the San Francisco chronicle, San Francisco examiner and the Vallejo times Herald where he claimed to be the murderer of the four people who had died in a span of seven months. Zodiac wanted his letters to be printed on the front pages of the daily publications and gave his identity in what is famously known as the cipher. He threatened that if that is not followed to the later and published by 1st of August 1969he will go on a kill rampage fry and move around the streets killing lone people at night and move on to kill more until he is left with a dozen people during the weekend.
Zodiacs letters were signed by a circle and a cross through it. The meaning of this sign has remained elusive to date serve for the few theories surround it. Some of this theory presupposes that this sign was stolen from a Swiss watch brand named Zodiac. The face of Zodiac watches had a crosshair symbol and he alleges that Zodiac watches runs in San Francisco examiner as well as San Francisco Chronicle concurrently with Zodiac’s first murder.
The cipher was printed by the three publications and a team of researchers and curious minds went into decoding the message and it was discovered that Zodiac loved killing people, because it was fun than killing wild animals in the forest it was thrilling for him to kill a couple and he was certain sure that he was collecting his slaves for after life. It was established that from the code he would not release his name for the simple reason that he would be stopped from collecting more of his slaves for the afterlife.
Furthermore, in September 1969 another young couple’s life was taken away during their picnic at an isolated lake in north of Napa. Bryan and Cecilia were approached by a man wearing a blue hood, on his chest on the hood a zodiac symbol was drawn in white paint. He pointed a gun at them and told them he wanted to tie them up, which he did by binding their arms and legs using a plastic band. Then its reported by New times that Zodiac stabbed them using a knife in a pattern that portrayed the Zodiac sign, he left them bleeding to death. He then went ahead to draw the sign of zodiac on the couple’s car as a message to police and even indicating the date for murders he took credit for.
Consequently, in October 1969, Zodiac killed a man called Paul who was a taxi driver whom Zodiac had flagged down to take him home. He waited after Paul had parked the car he pulled the trigger and shot Paul at the back of his head killing him instantly he later cut off a piece of his blood stained shirt (Penn, 2015). Witnesses called police to report the crime and unfortunately the first reporter said the murderer was a black man hence the police passed over zodiac who was actually at the scene of murder of which he mocks police for committing such a silly blunder.
Days later the San Francisco Chronicle received another letter from Zodiac inside the envelope was a blood stained piece of cloth from Paul the taxi man. Zodiac introduced himself as the murder speaking who had killed the taxi man (Laura, 2013).
Several murders were reported linked to Zodiac killer in the same decade but unfortunately non had been confirmed. He personally confessed to have killed 37 people although that number is yet to be verified. Police has stated categorically that zodiac’s killings stopped in 1969.
Police department however, are on the trail to unearth this mysterious zodiac killer using genealogy website and tracking means to take him down. Genealogy website was used successfully to find golden state killer after decades of evading police trap. Over fifty years of search have yielded no fruit but the department of police in Vallejo have dispatched envelops believed to have been send by Zodiac to a lab for sophisticated DNA analysis.
Investigations into the activities of this serial killer also attracted the attention of San Francisco and Napa counties through examining evidence that will led to bringing to justice of this worlds notorious serial killer (Haugen, 2010). DNA profile is being sought for from the killer’s saliva on stamps and paper flips which will be used to compile a family tree from an open source data base.
Some related cases to Zodiac the killer is that of Joseph James DeAngelo who was arrested after samples for DNA were taken for testing who is strongly believed to be the Golden State Killer. Investigations until his case used a similar approach to track down using cases from decades sent to genealogy website multiple sites.
From the foregoing discourse we established that Zodiac killer is a mysterious character that murdered over 30 people. He wrote letters to local publications bragging about his achievements and the laxity in the police sector to reign in stop the killings. The story is absurd and if not unbelievable. There is an urgent need to carry out more investigations, invest more in intelligence and research centres and programs upgraded to meet the fluid and slippery form of crimes that keep coming up.
Hitherto, the enduring mystery of Zodiac’s killings, accelerated with the inhuman nature or rather brutality manifested at the crime scenes and lustful appetite for attention in media publications and open mockery for the police shows that some drastic steps ought to be taken. These is a clear indication of impunity and zodiac is gaining public interest in movies, books, plays and even computer games. It is a wrong precedence that must be stamped out with thorough investigations.
Garry, P. and Mustafa, S. (2014), The Most Dangerous Animal: Searching for My father and Finding the Zodiac Killer. New York: Harper publishers.
Haugen, B. (2010), The Zodiac Killer: Terror and Mystery. California: Capstone Press.
Lafferty, L. (2015), The Zodiac Killer Cover-up: AKA The Silenced badge: California: Manadmus Publishers.
Laura, F. (2013), True Crime: Unsolved crimes. New York: Time Life Books.
Penn, G. (2015), Times 17: The amazing Story of the Zodiac Murders in California and Massachusetts, 1966-1981. California: Foxglove Press.
Rasmussen, W. (2016), Corroborating Evidence. New York: Sunstone Press.