The Mystery Of The Zodiac Killer

On December 20th 1968 in Vallejo, California, David Arthur Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen had their first date – and their last A man with a pistol approached their station wagon, parked on a ‘lover’s lane’

The stranger shot David in the head Betty Lou was then shot five times in the back as she ran away These murders were the start of one of the biggest crime mysteries in modern history The same murderer has taken credit for 37 victims in total He has also had 5 killing attributed to him by the police and manipulated the authorities with taunting phone calls, letters, and cryptographic puzzles

To this day, the killer has never been officially identified – let alone caught On the night of July 4th, 1969, Vallejo Police Department received a phone call The man ringing claimed responsibility for the murder of Darlene Ferrin and attempted murder of Michael Mageau [ma-jo (soft ‘j’)], who was targeted just 40 minutes earlier During the same phone call, the murderer also took credit for the murders of Faraday and Betty Lou About one month later, on August 1st, the letters started

Three newspapers each received a third of the killer’s cryptic message The mystery criminal claimed that if they cracked the puzzle, then he would reveal his identity The killer also made the chilling threat that if the papers did not publish the messages, then he would “cruise around the weekend, killing lone people in the night” Only the San Francisco Chronicle printed initially, as the police and press wanted proof that this was real The murderer responded, and for the first time referred to himself as the Zodiac Killer

One week later, the code was cracked, by two high school teachers named Donald and Bettye Harden Though what this code revealed wasn’t the name of the killer – but his twisted mind In the code the murderer declared that every kill that he made gave him in an extra slave in paradise, where he would go when he dies But cracking the code wasn’t enough to stop this psychopath Two more victims were claimed a month later

Students Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell were picnicking by a lake when they were tied up and stabbed multiple times Only Bryan survived the attack Another gruesome murder followed two weeks later, when the killer shot cab driver Paul Stine in the back of the head Police were called and they even spoke to the culprit at the scene But they let him go, because the radio description was for a black suspect

Further haunting letters were received, threatening to blow up schools and school buses Then in 1974, the letters suddenly stopped Police were left frustrated by the investigation, despite having a partial handprint, witness accounts, and a police encounter There was a list of over 2,500 suspects, and throughout the years further murders were attributed to the Zodiac Killer, although not officially confirmed What could motivate a man to commit such acts and evade the police? Vallejo Police Captain Wade Bird thought the killer might be a genius who had been pushed to madness

Dr Lawrence Freedman from the University of Chicago believes that the Zodiac killer committed crimes because he was overwhelmed with anxiety, and attacked couples because he craved intimacy Psychologists like William Baker have blamed mother issues and problems from childhood Others like violence expert Michael D Kelleher [KE-LIH-ER] and psychologist David Van Nuys [VAN – NEYES] have even suggested that he suffered from multiple personality disorder

While we may never know the inner workings of this serial killer’s mind, it seems his identity remains just as much a mystery A dedicated website, run by Zodiac case expert Tom Voigt, collects and displays all of the police reports, photos, witness accounts, and theories about the killer His website lists 7 possible suspects [Show stills of each of them on screen with graphics – names in lower third Request this to editor] But the manhunt has also entertained the wider media for years

In February 2016, Kimberley McGrath released her in-depth theory that the Zodiac Killer is Dennis Rader – aka the BTK Killer Dennis Rader was an American serial killer who murdered ten people in Kansas His method was to bind, torture, and kill his victims The similarities between the two cases are striking Both murderers sent letters during their killing sprees, exhibited similar behavior with victims, and when the Zodiac Killer’s letters stopped in 1974, the BTK Killer began his own massacre

Although this is a strong theory, it remains just that Police recognize that between 20 and 30 serial killers operate in the United States at any given time, and the mysterious case of the Zodiac Killer remains open Which means the Zodiac killer could still be at large

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