Zodiac Killer FAQs

Below are the most frequently asked questions about the Zodiac killer.

Who was the Zodiac killer?

The Zodiac was a serial killer active in California during the 1960s and 1970s.

Was he ever caught?

The Zodiac is still at large, although many persons believe they know his identity.

How many persons did the Zodiac kill?

The Zodiac claimed 37 victims, although police agencies only consider seven to be definite Zodiac victims.

Why was he called the Zodiac?

The Zodiac gave himself that name. Nobody knows why, although there are many theories.

What did the Zodiac’s cross-circle symbol represent?

The Zodiac never offered an explanation for his symbol, although there are many theories about what it meant.

What was the Zodiac’s M.O.?

The Zodiac usually targeted young couples in secluded areas. He used both guns and knives as weapons. On at least one occasion he wore an unusual costume. On two occasions he telephoned the police afterward to report his murders.

Is there a recording of the Zodiac’s actual voice?

No recordings were made of the Zodiac’s calls to the police. Also, the man who called the TV show claiming to be the Zodiac (as portrayed in David Fincher’s movie “Zodiac”) was eventually identified. It was proven that he was not the Zodiac.)

What was unique about the Zodiac compared to other serial killers?

After killing, the Zodiac would write letters to local newspapers and demand they be published. The letters would sometimes include physical evidence from a crime scene. Occasionally the Zodiac would send the newspapers cryptograms which he claimed included his identity.

Were any of the cryptograms solved?

Of the four cryptograms the Zodiac sent to newspapers, two were solved. The decoded messages was very disturbing, however they apparently didn’t include his identity.

How many letters did the Zodiac send?

The Zodiac sent at least 18 letters, usually to newspapers but occasionally to private citizens. The first letter was sent July 31, 1969 and the last on July 8, 1974. (In 1966, 1967, 1978 and 1990, communications were received that might have been from the Zodiac. However it’s not known for sure if he was the author.)

Are the police still investigating the Zodiac case?

Although several police agencies were once involved in the Zodiac investigation, the only recent law-enforcement activity had been from the San Francisco Police Dept. However, it recently made the decision to discontinue its investigation.

Who was the top suspect? Did they prove it was him?

Arthur Leigh Allen was the top suspect and although he was scrutinized by police for years, no evidence linking him to the Zodiac crimes was ever found. Additionally, Allen’s fingerprints, handwriting, and DNA do not match that of the Zodiac.

Did suspects Arthur Leigh Allen and Rick Marshall know each other?

There is no evidence to indicate Allen and Marshall knew each other. Click here for more info on Zodiac suspects.

There was a suspicious character named Bob Vaughn in the movie “Zodiac.” Could he be involved in the crimes?

In real life, Vaughn was an elderly man and likely had nothing whatsoever to do with the Zodiac crimes.

How accurate is the David Fincher/Jake Gyllenhaal movie Zodiac?

“Zodiac” is an entertaining film. However, it’s only about 35% accurate. In-depth discussion of the film can be found here.