The Zodiac Killer
The Mystery Begins
Cops say the Zodiac Killer appeared to some of victims dressed in an outfit similar to this one.
On Dec. 20, 1968, Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday embarked on their first date together. They ended up in a secluded spot just inside the Benecia, Calif., city limits, except they weren't alone: they were shot and killed by an unknown assailant.
Police say that the killer used a small-caliber pistol and left behind no incriminating evidence. Stranger still, the killings lacked some of the usual features associated with murder: There were no signs of robbery, and no trace of sexual assault. Jensen and Faraday would be the first official murders in the Zodiac saga.
Months later, Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau were parked at the Blue Rock Springs Golf Course, a mere four miles away from where Jensen and Faraday had been killed. It was the Fourth of July 1969, and the couple were seated in Ferrin's car when someone parked behind them, blocking any escape. Approaching the passenger side with a flashlight, the killer blinded Ferrin and Mageau and opened fire with a 9 mm handgun. While Ferrin died at a nearby hospital, Mageau survived despite being shot in the face, neck and chest.
Cops say that 20 to 30 minutes later, a man anonymously called the Vallejo police station and claimed responsibility for the attack. He also took credit for the murders of Jensen and Farraday. Police traced the call to a public phone at a gas station just blocks away from the Vallejo Police Department.
A photo of Darlene has been circulating, and police are hoping you can help them identify the man in the photo. Police beleive the photo was taken sometime in the summer of 1966 or 1967 in San Francisco.
This Is The Zodiac Speaking
Police are hoping someone can identify the man seen with the Darlene Ferrin here.
Authorities didn't have to wait long before this burgeoning serial killer would make his presence known. On August 1, 1969, three letters arrived at the Vallejo-Times Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Examiner. The nearly identical letters took credit for the three murders and included a cryptogram that supposedly would reveal the killer's identity.
The killer demanded that all three letters be printed on the front page of each newspaper or he would kill a dozen people the following weekend. All three pieces were published, albeit not on the front page, and the murder spree never happened.
Three days later, another letter was received at the San Francisco Examiner. It started: "Dear Editor...This is the Zodiac speaking." The killer had christened himself.
For months after, the Zodiac played a very public cat-and-mouse game with law enforcement and the media. The Department of Justice reports that the Zodiac was responsible for five known murders although the Zodiac claimed to have killed dozens more.
The cross-like symbol used by the Zodiac Killer.