A young couple sits in a car out on Lake Herman Road in San-Francisco. Seventeen-year-old boy David Faraday and sixteen-year-old Betty Lou Jensen are enjoying their night out on December 20th of 1968. Suddenly at around 11:15 pm, witnesses found the couple dead or extremely wounded on the ground near their bullet holed car. Betty was found feet from the car dead with 5 or more bullets in her back while David was found still breathing but died while being rushed to the hospital (The Infographics Show).
Very tragic, truly. No motive, no clues. Except for a letter from the killer himself, he would be later known as The Zodiac Killer.
What was the reason? Why exactly did he kill them? Why did he kill so many people? These where just one of the many questions I can imagine that were and are peoples heads. They were mine too, there was no reason. He just wanted to kill, you know, as a hobby.
From that moment in December of 1968 to October of 1969, the zodiac killer has been making his mark on the world by killing and being one of the most prominent unsolved crimes ever.
He was very cryptic in his letters, yet open about his crimes. He appeared to have no to little motive to kill and his killing technique wasnt like any of the stereotypical killers we have come to know today. This made the zodiac killer very hard to find and impossible to identify. To this day we have no idea who the zodiac killer was, there have been plenty of suspects but we didnt have solid proof for any of them.
The way he acted made it seem like he wanted to get caught and wanted to see if police were smart enough to actually do it. Its like he was trying to prove a point, but have some fun with it. So what was his endeavor?
After the murder in December of 1968, the zodiac killer struck again almost 7 months later on July 4th of 1969. 22-year-old Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin and 19 years old Michael Renault Mageau were parked at Blue Springs Golf course sometime around midnight (ThoughtCo). They were found dead in their car. This time, the killer actually called from a nearby payphone at 12:40 am and reported the crime to the police and mentioned about killing the 2 kids last year. Mangeau actually survived but wasnt able to describe the killer to the police (The Infographics Show). A bit lazy with his murders on account that actually many survive his attacks. A couple of weeks later on July 31st, the zodiac killer sent letters to 3 different, local newspapers for them to post, he threatened to kill more people if his letters werent posted on their front pages (The Infographics Show).
The letters explained that he was the one who did both murders and had ? of one of his ciphers. Only one of his ciphers was ever cracked by a high school teacher and his wife, here is a quote I have found on what the letter explains 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 DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL TO KILL SOMETHING GIVES ME THE MOST THRILLING EXPERIENCE IT IS EVEN BETTER THAN GETTING YOUR ROCKS OFF WITH A GIRL THE BEST PART OF IT IS THE WHEN I DIE I WILL BE REBORN IN PARADISE AND THEY HAVE KILLED WILL BECOME MY SLAVES I WILL NOT GIVE YOU MY NAME BECAUSE YOU WILL TRY TO SLOW DOWN OR STOP MY COLLECTION OF SLAVES FOR MY AFTERLIFE EBEORIETEMETHHPITI. (ThoughtsCo) there are many spelling errors and the last 18 letters could not be deciphered.
On September 27 of 1969 came the 3rd attack of the zodiac killer. 2 college students went out to Lake Berryessa in Napa, California when they were approached by a man who was reportedly wearing an executioners mask (The Infographics Show).
He explained that he was an escapee from prison and needed their money and their car to drive to Mexico. He then tied them up and then proceded to stab them. He used a marker to write on the side of the car to mark his killing. Vallejo, 12-20-68, 7-4-69, Sept 27-69-6:30, by knife signed off with his signature circle with a cross. He once again called the police from a nearby payphone. The victims were rushed to the hospital. (The Infographics Show).
One of the victims survived and was able to give us all this information but was unable to give a description of the killer, or at least an adequate amount. The 4th and final reported attack happened on October 11th of 1969 around the Presidio Heights area. He had shot a cab driver named Paul Stine (The Infographics Show). For an unknown reason, he proceeded to cut off part of Pauls bloody shirt and include it in one of his letters. Maybe that day he wanted a little something to remember him by, who knows, this was his last attack anyway. He continued to send letters for a while to police, taunting them in every single one, making threats, giving more information on the killings, and more puzzles.
During the attacks and for a while after, police have interviewed more than 25,000 people, suspecting one of them committed the murders. Many people have also confessed on being the zodiac killer, one person accused their father of being the zodiac killer. No one out of all those people had enough to solid proof of being the zodiac killer.
Earl Van Best Jr. was accused by his biological son, Gray Stweart, of being the zodiac killer. He explained that his father looked most like the descriptions, was around the area, and interested in ciphers. He was dismissed after proper examination as a suspected on account of fingerprints not matching, the thick-rimmed glasses with a crew cut was a very common look in the 1960s. Best also died in the 1980s.
There were many reasons why he could not be found. He killed in areas with different police departments and could not share information correctly if even at all for example, not to mention the errors police officers could have made. It was very difficult to prosses crimes, find forensic evidence, and much more back in the 1960s. Most police officers thought that the last attack might have even been a robbery gone wrong.his low body count made it difficult to spot patterns, serial killers have around 30 victims, while he claimed to have killed 37, they can actually only confirm about 7.
The newspapers stopped receiving letters from the zodiac on July 8th of 1974. After his last confirmed attack, he has been linked to at least 5 other attacks. The investigation hasnt stopped although it has been declared inactive in 2004 until reopened in 2007. (Den Of Geek) The case still remains unsolved a continues to frustrate police. many think he died, move somewhere else to continue killing, got arrested for another crime, or just found peace or completed a mission on some kind and stopped killing. A letter sent in on November 12th of 1969, he announced that he will no longer be announcing his murders, that they will look like routine murders and robberies, which is why many crimes after that were linked to the zodiac.
The most possible reason for him to stop killing I think is that he had completed some type of mission and no longer had the need to kill. Or he lost his reason to kill.