The Northern California region underwent a series of brutal murders from 1969 to 1972 that came to be known as the Zodiac Killer case. The killer was named after the symbol he included on letters he sent to local media outlets. The killer’s identity remains a mystery; there have been many suspects but no one has definitively proven their guilt or innocence.

There are theories regarding potential suspects and even possible motives, but these remain speculation. Who was the Zodiac Killer? What is known is that seven people were brutally murdered and another two attacked but survived. This is everything we know about this grisly unsolved case…

Who was the Zodiac Killer?

The identity of the killer was never confirmed. There were many suspects, but no one was ever proven guilty. The most famous of these suspects was Arthur Leigh Allen. Allen was a former elementary school teacher and ex-soldier who lived in the area around the time the murders took place. Due to his familiarity with the area and the fact that he had a police record including charges of child molestation and attempted murder, he was considered a top suspect.

However, DNA testing proved that he was not the killer. Even though his guilt was disproven, many people still thought he was a viable suspect. Another suspect was a man named William Herndon who was a convicted felon who lived near the murder scenes. He was also said to have a similar physical description as the Zodiac Killer. Because Herndon died in prison in 1995, he was never charged. The other suspects have also died and no one has been proven guilty of the murders.

What happened?

The Zodiac Killer was responsible for seven brutal murders in northern California from October 1969 to October 1971. Only two of the murders occurred in October 1969, the others were committed throughout 1971. These victims were either stabbed or shot to death, and all were left with cryptic letters or codes written by the killer. The first victim was Paul Stine, a 29 year old taxi driver whose body was found in his cab in San Francisco.

The second victim was Cheri Jo Bates, a beautiful 21-year-old college student who was brutally stabbed to death in Riverside, California. The next victim was a couple in their late twenties named Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Ann Shepherd. Both were stabbed and barely survived. The final two victims were teenagers named Michael Mageau and Doreen Bolinger who were attacked near the city of Riverside. All four of these victims were attacked in the same way. Both Mageau and Bolinger survived the attack and were able to recount the details of the brutal murders.

When and Where Did the Murders Take Place?

The first murder took place in San Francisco on the night of October 11, 1969. A 29-year-old taxi driver named Paul Stine was found dead in his cab with his throat slashed. The second murder took place in nearby Vallejo on the early morning of October 19, 1969.

A beautiful 21-year-old college student named Cheri Jo Bates was found stabbed to death in a park. The next murder occurred in the early morning of July 4, 1970 in nearby Napa, California when a young couple was stabbed. The last three murders took place in the early mornings of October 1970, February 1971, and October 1971.

Three Eyewitnesses

Two of the surviving victims were able to describe their attackers. They described the killer as a man wearing black clothing, a white hooded jacket, a ski mask, and what looked like a naval officer’s sunglasses. The three eyewitnesses were able to provide slightly different descriptions of their attacker.

They each described their attacker as being 6’ 0” tall, weighing about 180 pounds, having black hair, and wearing a black coat. One victim described their attacker as being of either Asian or Mexican descent. They each also described their attacker as having a heavy voice, and one victim was able to describe their attacker as having a wide nose. None of the eyewitnesses were able to provide a full description of the killer.

Two Surviving Victims

Two of the surviving victims were able to provide additional details regarding the killer’s identity. They reported that their attacker was driving a black or dark blue car, and they reported hearing the killer whistling or singing a tune that sounded like “FLying saucers come out of the sky”.

The two surviving victims were able to describe the killer as being a Caucasian male who was between 25 and 35 years old. They reported that he was over 6 feet tall, weighed around 180 pounds, and had short black hair. Both victims described their attacker as having a heavy voice and one victim described their attacker as having a wide nose.

Five Dead Victims

The five victims who were killed were brutally stabbed to death. All five victims were found with paper messages left by the killer. The paper used in the messages was a yellow paper that was 8 ½ inches long and 5 inches wide. The paper also had a watermark on it that was a “W” shaped symbol between two arrows.

The messages written on the paper were sometimes riddles or ciphers that were never successfully deciphered. Each of the five dead victims was found with one of these cryptic messages. One of the victims was also found with a card written in almost childlike handwriting that read “please don’t let me be misunderstood”.

The Aftermath

The Zodiac Killer case received a lot of attention from the media and was even the subject of a popular movie. The victims’ families and loved ones became involved in support groups and created a website that keeps tabs on the case. They even have a “Mummy Squad” that distributes posters and collects DNA samples from people who believe they are related to the Zodiac Killer.

The police investigation is still ongoing, and the Zodiac Killer case remains open to this day. The case has been featured on many television shows and podcasts, and there are thousands of online forums dedicated to discussing theories about the case. The FBI has been involved in the investigation since the beginning, and they recently reopened the case.

Conclusion

The Zodiac Killer was responsible for seven brutal murders that terrorized the northern California region for years. The killer’s identity was never confirmed, and all of the suspects were either disproven or died before they could be charged. There are many theories regarding potential suspects and motives, but these remain speculation. The Zodiac Killer remains one of the most notorious unsolved cases in American history.