“I want to report a murder... no, a double murder. They are two miles north of Park Headquarters. They were in a white Volkswagen Kharmann Ghia. I’m the one that did it.”

-Zodiac Killer

 

In August of 1969, numerous publications within the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Vallejo Times Herald, and the San Francisco Examiner each received an identical handwritten letter to the editor. Within them, the writer claimed to have committed the murder of two teenagers and threatened more if his letters were not published onto the front page.

Each letter contained a cipher that would lead to the identity of the killer, accompanied with a symbol depicting a circle with a cross running through it. The self-proclaimed Zodiac Killer continued to taunt authorities and newspapers as he committed murder after murder. Of the seven confirmed cases, only two of the Zodiac Killer’s victims survived, with he himself claiming to have murdered 37.

His last confirmed murder occurred on 11 October 1969, where the Zodiac Killer entered the cab of Paul Stine and shot him in the head, later sending a piece of Stine’s bloodied shirt enclosed in one of his letters. After a three year hiatus beginning in 1971, his last batch of letters came in 1974, after which communication ceased completely.

Despite a facial reconstruction through witness accounts, the Zodiac Killer was never caught nor his identity ever confirmed. Of his four coded messages, only the first remains deciphered. In one of his letters, the Zodiac Killer had claimed that he shall never be caught, for he was too clever. To this date, the case remains open.