CONFIRMED ZODIAC KILLER VICTIMS
Cecelia Shepard & Bryan Hartnell
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Killed: Shepard, Sept. 29, 1969 (Monday)
Wounded: Hartnell, Sept. 27, 1969 (Saturday)
Case number: 105907
Time of attack: Approximately 6:15 p.m. | Sept. 27, 1969 (Saturday)
Place of attack: The shoreline of Lake Berryessa near Napa, Calif.
Method of attack: Cecelia Shepard, age 22, was stabbed 10 times, five in the front and five in the back. Bryan Hartnell, age 20, was stabbed six times in the back. The knife had a wooden handle and a blade approximately 10 to 12 inches long. There was no indication of robbery or sexual molestation. There were no witnesses.
Details: According to the police report, the couple was relaxing on a blanket at a very remote location by the lake. Shepard noticed a man approaching them wearing an unusual costume and holding a gun. He appeared to be more than 6’0″ tall with a heavy build. The man claimed he was a prison escapee from either Montana or Colorado and needed money and a car to flee to Mexico. Hartnell offered his wallet and car keys, which weren’t taken. After several minutes of conversation, the man tied the couple with plastic clothesline and began stabbing them. Hartnell was attacked first, then Shepard. After the assault, the man walked casually away from the scene. After several minutes, a nearby fisherman heard the couple screaming and alerted park rangers. By the time help arrived, Shepard and Hartnell had managed to untie their restraints. It took nearly an hour for an ambulance to arrive, at which time both victims were in critical condition. Just over an hour after the attack, the Napa Police Department received a call from a man claiming responsibility for the stabbing. The call was quickly traced to a phone booth in downtown Napa and fingerprints were later recovered. Meanwhile, Napa County Sheriff’s Department deputies were responding to the crime scene. They found that the attacker had written a message on the victim’s car door. The message included the dates of the Faraday-Jensen and Ferrin-Mageau attacks and was signed with a cross-circle symbol. Tire tracks indicated the killer had parked behind the victims’ car. Size 10 1/2 Wing Walker shoe prints were recovered from the scene, indicating a suspect weighing more than 210 pounds. Detectives later located three young women who had noticed a strange man in the general area just a couple of hours before the attack. Shepard died within 48 hours of the stabbing. Her funeral services attracted a huge crowd of mourners. Hartnell recovered from his wounds and is now an attorney in Southern California. While Bryan gave many interviews in the first few years after the attack, he is no longer discussing the case with the news media. Many suspects were scrutinized, including serial killer Ted Bundy. A February 1989 comparison of fingerprints helped clear Bundy of this crime.
Conclusion: This was a bizarre and horrifying crime. A careful consideration of the facts should dispel all myths that Zodiac was simply a super-criminal only intent on taunting the police. Rather, he was a very warped individual who apparently had grown bored with mere killing. He now apparently needed to implement extremely bizarre behavior in order to achieve satisfaction.