The Zodiac Killer is one of the most intriguing, unsolved mysteries of all time, second only to Jack the Ripper. Between December 1968 to October 1969, the Zodiac murdered victims all over the bay area. The Zodiac claimed to have killed over 37 people. Only five were found and confirmed, with two survivors sustaining injuries only.
Suspects have been named but the Zodiac’s true identity has never been discovered. Zodiac’s cases still remained open since 1969.
Although the Zodiac claimed 37 murders in letters to the newspapers, investigators agree on only seven confirmed victims, two of whom survived.
- 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.
The following murder victims are suspected to be victims of Zodiac, though none has been confirmed:
- Robert Domingos, 18, and Linda Edwards, 17: shot and killed on June 4, 1963, on a beach near Gaviota. Edwards and Domingos were identified as possible Zodiac victims because of specific similarities between their attack and the Zodiac’s attack at Lake Berryessa six years later.
- Cheri Jo Bates, 18: stabbed to death and nearly decapitated on October 30, 1966, at Riverside City College in Riverside. Bates’ possible connection to the Zodiac only appeared four years after her murder when San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery received a tip regarding similarities between the Zodiac killings and the circumstances surrounding Bates’ death.
- Donna Lass, 25: last seen September 6, 1970, in Stateline, Nevada. A postcard with an advertisement from Forest Pines condominiums (near Incline Village at Lake Tahoe) pasted on the back was received at the Chronicle on March 22, 1971, and has been interpreted as the Zodiac claiming Lass’ disappearance as a victim. No evidence has been uncovered to definitively connect Donna Lass’ disappearance with the Zodiac Killer.
There is also a suspected third escapee from the Zodiac Killer:
- Kathleen Johns, 22: allegedly abducted on March 22, 1970, on Highway 132 near I-580, in an area west of Modesto. Johns escaped from the car of a man who drove her and her infant daughter around the area between Stockton and Patterson for approximately 1½ hours.