The Zodiac Killer
Written by: ML
Edited by: Grave Reviews Staff
If the Zodiac Killer or simply “Zodiac” seems familiar to you, it’s because he has been featured in several movies in the thriller genre. The fact that his murders are left unsolved because of the failure to capture or even identify him has been an effective inspiration for these movies.
His Killing Style
The Zodiac Killer did his killings in Northern California. He claimed to have committed 37 murders in his active years and according to reports. But only 7 was confirmed where 2 luckily survived.
His first victims were teenage lovers who were shot while having a date on December of 1968. Then shortly on July 1969, another couple was shot multiple times while sitting on a car. The girl died, but the boy survived bullet wounds on his jaw, shoulder, and leg.
On September 1969, another couple who was having a picnic was approached by a man wearing a hood with a symbol of two intersecting lines inside a circle. This time, the Zodiac threatened them with a gun, tied them up and stabbed the poor couple. The girl eventually died, but the boy survived.
Zodiac’s last confirmed kill was in October 1969. The victim was a taxi driver. Zodiac posed as a passenger and shot the poor man in the head.
It was on August 1969 when he first used the name “Zodiac” to identify himself. This was in a letter addressed to The San Francisco Examiner. He also signed his letters with a crosshair symbol which is a circle with intersecting lines in the middle, just like the one in a rifle viewer. This was also the symbol that he wore during his September 1969 killings.
From then on, he has been sending cryptic messages to different publications. He blackmailed them into printing his messages with threats that he will kill again. In a printed message to the police, he said that he will never be caught because he has been too clever for them.
Zodiac’s messages were all codes and it was a married couple who was able to solve the first one. It was revealed that Zodiac liked killing people because it was fun. Zodiac claimed that he would share his true identity in the next cryptic message but the next messages were never deciphered.
After killing the taxi driver, some people witnessed the incident. As soon as the police arrived at the murder scene, they described Zodiac as a white man, around 25 to 30 years old, wearing glasses with a crew cut hairstyle.
The police immediately saw a man who matched the descriptions. He was caught but was allowed to leave after a dispatcher mistakenly told them that the suspect was a black man. From then on, the Zodiac was never captured and only a vague artist’s sketch was all they have to help identify him.
Zodiac’s failed capture only made him stronger. Days after his last murder, he sent out a message saying that he plans to kill children next. He mentioned about shooting the front tire of a school bus and picking the kids as they get out. This resulted in a mass hysteria where police officers guarded buses, schools were on heightened alert, and curfews were observed. Some parents didn’t even allow their kids to go to school.
The public threats continued until 1971 as Zodiac’s cryptic messages got published. Then from there, he went silent until 1974. His new message stated that he already scored 37, and the San Francisco Police Department remains zero. The authorities took it as a claim that he already killed 37 victims.
Still a Mystery
After a few more cryptic messages in 1971, Zodiac went silent again. Then in 1978, a cryptic message surfaced claiming to be from Zodiac. It was eventually deemed questionable because the handwriting and tone was different from the previous ones.
From then on, a lot of theories came out as to what happened to the Zodiac Killer. Over 2,500 possible suspects were considered because during the 1960s, DNA testing was not a thing. Evidences were tampered. There were people claiming that Zodiac was their relative or that they know his whereabouts.
In the 1990s, a man named Arthur Leigh Allen was named primary suspect but was never proven. To this day, the identity of the Zodiac Killer remains an unsolved mystery. As of 2014, CNN among other news sources found a possible match which was published into a book called The Most Dangerous Animal of All who names where a man who searched for his father, may have found the Zodiac Killer. The name he suspects was the Zodiac Killer was Earl Van Best, Jr who had since been deceased. However this claim too was never proven.
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