After 60 years... Zodiac Killer | The story of the most mysterious and terrifying killer in history




A team of specialists investigating cold (old unresolved) cases say they have discovered the Zodiac serial killer, one of the most mysterious, deceitful and victimized serial killers in US history, who terrorized the population of the San Francisco area in the late 1960s with a series of brutal murders and mysteries. insoluble.


According to the American "Fox News" channel, "The Case Breakers" team, a team of more than 40 former law enforcement investigators, journalists, and military intelligence officers, has solved other mysteries such as the "DB Cooper" theft, kidnapping and disappearance of former labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa. And other unresolved issues. The group believes the killer is responsible for a murder hundreds of miles away that he had no connection to.


The Zodiac Ripper has been linked to a five-gram murder that occurred in 1968 and 1969 in the San Francisco area. Unlike most serial killers, the Zodiac ridiculed the authorities with complex zeros in letters sent to newspapers and law enforcement. The killings have inspired books, movies, and documentaries in the years since, and amateur and professional investigators scrutinize the case in an effort to uncover the killer.




In the decades since the first murder, many potential suspects have been investigated.


The team now says it has identified the Zodiac killer, whose real name is Guy Francis Post, and that he died in 2018.


The team's years of digging have uncovered new forensic evidence and photos from Post's darkroom. The team said that one of the images shows scars on Post's forehead that match the scars on his zodiac chart.


Among other clues, he deciphered messages sent by the Zodiac that revealed him to be the killer, said Jane Buchholtz, a former Army counterintelligence agent working on cold cases. In one memo, Post's full letters were removed to reveal an alternate message, she told Fox News.


"So you have to know my neighbor's full name in order to decipher these anagrams," Bucholtz said. "I just don't think there's any other way for anyone to figure it out."



What is the story of the zodiac?

The team believes Post also killed Sherry Joe Bates on October 31, 1966, in Riverside, California, hundreds of miles south of the San Francisco area and two years before the first zodiac-related murder occurred. Bates, 18, was found dead in an alley on the Riverside City College campus after her father called the police to report her missing.


The following year, authorities received a handwritten letter that led investigators to believe the murder might be related to the Zodiac killer. In 2016, investigators received an anonymous letter from a person who admitted to writing the previous note and said it was a 'sick joke'.


"The author has admitted that he was not the Zodiac killer or the killer of Sherry Joe Bates and that he was only looking for attention," the police department said.


Investigators later confirmed that the author was not involved in Bates' murder, and that the Zodiac was never associated with the crime.




The Riverside Police cold homicide unit told Fox News, "Our cold homicide unit has determined that the 1966 murder of Sherry Joe Bates has nothing to do with the Zodiac Killer. We understand the public interest in these unsolved murders, but a referral should be made. All inquiries related to the Zodiac Killer to the FBI."


"The Cherry Joe Betts case remains an open investigation and we do not have any additional details to announce at this time," the police added.


The Case Breakers team believes that Bates was the sixth victim of the Zodiac, and they try to persuade investigators to compare her DNA to Post's, but to no avail. According to a 1975 FBI memo to Riverside police obtained by the team, the agency said Bates was a Zodiac victim.


"The real part here has to do with vanity and arrogance," Bill Proctor of the Case Breakers team, a former police officer who spent 40 years as a guest in the news channels, told Fox News from the Riverside Police Department: Another who comes to the table may have a reasonable argument that information from an outside organization may be just as valuable, if not more valuable, than what the police department has already done."




The team said a series of coincidences connect Bates and Post: Post was an Air Force veteran when he conducted medical examinations for a shooting at a hospital located 15 minutes from Bates' crime scene. A watch with paint spots was collected at the scene of the murder and is believed to have been worn by the killer.


The team said Post has painted homes for more than four decades. Additionally, investigators found a heel imprint from a military-style shoe, which matches the same style and size as those found in other Zodiac crime scenes and Post.


This year, the Riverside Police Department offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the decades-old murder case.


Zodiac terrorized communities across Northern California in the late 1960s. The killer was linked to five murders but claimed to have killed 37 victims. The first confirmed killings of the Zodiac occurred in December 1968 when a man and woman were shot and killed in a car in Benicia, California. On July 4, 1969, another man and woman were shot in Vallejo. But the man survived.


Later that year, a couple was stabbed near a lake. The man survived despite being stabbed several times.


A taxi driver was fatally shot in San Francisco that year as well. No one has been charged or identified in connection with the murders. Unlike most serial killers, the Zodiac mocked the authorities with complex ciphers and messages.


In 2020, a team of cipher-breakers deciphered a 340-character code sent to The St. Francis newspaper.




Confirmed murders


Although the Zodiac claimed to have committed 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.

Lake Herman Road murders


David Arthur Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen

The first murders widely attributed to the Zodiac Killer were the shootings of high school students Betty Lou Jensen and David Arthur Faraday on December 20, 1968 on Lake Herman Road, just inside Benicia city limits. The couple were on their first date and planned to attend a Christmas concert at Hogan High School, about three blocks from Jensen's home. They instead visited a friend before stopping at a local restaurant and then driving out on Lake Herman Road. At about 10:15 p.m., Faraday parked his mother's Rambler in a gravel turnout, which was a well-known lovers' lane. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., their bodies were found by Stella Borges, who lived nearby. The Solano County Sheriff's Department investigated the crime but no leads developed.

Utilizing available forensic data, Robert Graysmith postulated that another car pulled into the turnout just prior to 11:00 p.m. and parked beside the couple. The killer may have then exited the second car and walked toward the Rambler, possibly ordering the couple out of it. It appeared that Jensen had exited the car first, but when Faraday was halfway out, the killer shot him in the head. The killer then shot Jensen five times in the back as she fled; her body was found 28 feet from the car. The killer then drove off.


Blue Rock Springs murder


Just before midnight on July 4, 1969, Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau drove into the Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, four miles (6.4 km) from the Lake Herman Road murder site, and parked.

 While the couple sat in Ferrin's car, a second car drove into the lot and parked alongside them but almost immediately drove away. Returning about 10 minutes later, this second car parked behind them.

 The driver of the second car then exited the vehicle, approaching the passenger side door of Ferrin's car, carrying a flashlight and a 9 mm Luger. The killer directed the flashlight into Mageau's and Ferrin's eyes before shooting at them, firing five times. Both victims were hit, and several bullets had passed through Mageau and into Ferrin. The killer walked away from the car but upon hearing Mageau's moaning, returned and shot each victim twice more before driving off.

On July 5, 1969, at 12:40 a.m., a man phoned the Vallejo Police Department to report and claim responsibility for the attack. The caller also took credit for the murders of Jensen and Faraday six and a half months earlier. Police traced the call to a phone booth at a gas station at Springs Road and Tuolumne, located about three-tenths of a mile (500 m) from Ferrin's home and only a few blocks from the Vallejo Police Department.[9] Ferrin was pronounced dead at the hospital. Mageau survived the attack despite being shot in the face, neck and chest.[10] Mageau described his attacker as a 26-to-30-year-old, 195-to-200-pound (88 to 91 kg) or possibly even more, 5-foot-8-inch (1.73 m) white male with short, light brown curly hair.

First letters from the Zodiac


"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 all the I 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 solution to Zodiac's 408-symbol cipher, solved in August 1969, including faithful transliterations of spelling and grammar errors in the original. The meaning, if any, of the final eighteen letters has not been determined.

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, subsequently described by a psychiatrist to have been written by "someone you would expect to be brooding and isolated",[12] 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 killer demanded they be printed on each paper's front page or he would "cruse [sic] around all weekend killing lone people in the night then move on to kill again, until I end up with a dozen people over the weekend".

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.[14] 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 identification. The letter was a response to Chief Stiltz's request for more details that would prove he had killed Faraday, Jensen and Ferrin. In it, the Zodiac included details about the murders that had not yet 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 seemed to reference "The Most Dangerous Game". The author also said that he was collecting slaves for his afterlife.[n 3] No name appears in this 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 (film)


Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery thriller film directed by David Fincher from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt, based on the 1986 non-fiction book of the same title by Robert Graysmith. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. with Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Elias Koteas, Donal Logue, John Carroll Lynch, Chloë Sevigny, Philip Baker Hall and Dermot Mulroney in supporting roles.

The film tells the story of the manhunt for the Zodiac Killer, a serial murderer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 1960s and early 1970s, taunting police with letters, bloodstained clothing, and ciphers mailed to newspapers. The case remains one of the United States' most infamous crimes, although it has just recently been solved, with the killer being identified as one Gary Francis Poste. Fincher, Vanderbilt, and producer Bradley J. Fischer spent 18 months conducting their own investigation and research into the Zodiac murders. Fincher employed the digital Thomson Viper FilmStream Camera to photograph most of the film, with traditional high-speed film cameras used for slow-motion murder sequences.

Zodiac was released by Paramount Pictures in North America and Warner Bros. Pictures in international markets on March 3, 2007, and received mostly positive reviews, with praise for its writing, directing, acting, and historical accuracy. The film was nominated for several awards, including the Saturn Award for Best Action, Adventure or Thriller Film. It grossed over $84.7 million worldwide on a production budget of $65 million. In a 2016 critics' poll conducted by the BBC, Zodiac was voted the 12th greatest film of the 21st century.

On July 4, 1969, an unknown man attacks Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau with a handgun at a lovers' lane in Vallejo, California. Only Mike survives.

One month later, the San Francisco Chronicle receives encrypted letters written by the killer calling himself the "Zodiac," who threatens to kill a dozen people unless his coded message containing his identity is published. Political cartoonist Robert Graysmith, who correctly guesses that his identity is not in the message, is not taken seriously by crime reporter Paul Avery or the editors and is excluded from the initial details about the killings. When the newspaper publishes the letters, a married couple deciphers one. In September, the killer stabs law student Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard at Lake Berryessa in Napa County; Cecelia dies two days later.

At the office, Avery makes fun of Graysmith before they discuss the coded letters. Graysmith interprets the letter, which Avery finds helpful, and he begins sharing information. One of Graysmith's insights about the letters is that the Zodiac's reference to man as "the most dangerous animal of them all" is a reference to the film The Most Dangerous Game, which features the villainous Count Zaroff, a man who hunts live human prey.

Two weeks later, San Francisco taxicab driver Paul Stine is shot and killed in the city's Presidio Heights district. The Zodiac killer mails pieces of Stine's bloodstained shirt to the Chronicle along with a taunting letter. San Francisco police inspectors Dave Toschi and his partner Bill Armstrong are assigned to the case by Captain Marty Lee, and work closely with Vallejo's Jack Mulanax and Captain Ken Narlow in Napa. Someone claiming to be Zodiac continues to send taunting letters and speaks on the phone with lawyer Melvin Belli on a television talk show hosted by Jim Dunbar.

In 1971, Detectives Toschi, Armstrong, and Mulanax question Arthur Leigh Allen, a suspect in the Vallejo case. They notice that he wears a Zodiac wristwatch, with the same logo used by the killer and Toschi heavily suspects him. However, a handwriting expert insists that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters, even though Allen is said to be ambidextrous. Avery receives a letter threatening his life; becoming paranoid, he turns to drugs and alcohol. He shares information with the Riverside Police Department that the killer might have been active before the initial killings, angering Toschi and Armstrong. The case's notoriety weighs on Toschi, who is unable to sit through a Hollywood film, Dirty Harry, loosely based on the Zodiac case.

In 1978, Avery moves to the Sacramento Bee. Graysmith persistently contacts Toschi about the Zodiac murders, and eventually impresses him with his knowledge of the case. While Toschi cannot directly give Graysmith access to the evidence, he provides names in other police departments where Zodiac murders occurred. Armstrong transfers from the San Francisco Police homicide division, and Toschi is demoted for supposedly forging a Zodiac letter.

Graysmith continues his own investigation, profiled in the Chronicle, and gives a television interview about the book he is writing about the case. He begins receiving phone calls with heavy breathing. As his obsession deepens, Graysmith loses his job, and his wife Melanie leaves him, taking their children. Graysmith learns that Allen lived close to Ferrin and probably knew her and that his birthday matches the one Zodiac gave when he spoke to one of Belli's maids. While circumstantial evidence seems to indicate his guilt, the physical evidence, such as fingerprints and handwriting samples, do not implicate him. In 1983, Graysmith tracks Allen to a Vallejo Ace Hardware store, where he is employed as a sales clerk; they stare at each other before Graysmith leaves. Eight years later, after Graysmith's book, Zodiac, has become a bestseller, Mike Mageau identifies Allen from a police mugshot. Final text indicates that Allen died before he could be questioned and that the case remains open.

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