Ray Davis

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Murdered: April 10, 1962 (Tuesday)

Case number: 62286216

Time of attack: Approximately 11:20 p.m.

Place of attack: Oceanside, Calif.

Method of attack: Ray Davis, age 27, was shot twice from behind in his own cab. The weapon was of .22 caliber and the ammunition was long rifle.

Details: After becoming estranged from his wife, Davis lived with his brother in a rented house at 525 S. Tremont Street in Oceanside. At 11:10 PM, Davis, a driver for the Checker Cab Company, picked up a fare at a downtown cab stand, possibly on Mission Avenue, and notified his dispatcher that he was delivering the fare to a location in South Oceanside. Davis was never heard from again. Early the next morning, the body of Davis was found in the exclusive, upscale neighborhood called Saint Malo, Oceanside’s first gated community. Davis had been shot twice from the backseat of his cab; one shot to his back and the other to his head. After dumping the body of Davis in the alley, his killer escaped in the cab before quickly abandoning it at 400 S. Pacific Street. The exact dump site of the body was an alley directly behind 1926 S. Pacific Street. The investigation revealed that Davis wasn’t robbed and police could never establish a motive for the killing.

Zodiac victim? The killer of Ray Davis called the police in advance and warned them he would soon be committing a baffling crime. Soon after Davis was killed, the police received another call from the killer, this time threatening to target a random bus driver. Servicemen from nearby Camp Pendleton were used to help guard bus stops. Astonishingly, even though by late 1969 the Zodiac killer was making headlines throughout the country, no law enforcement agency ever noticed the many similarities between the unsolved murder of Ray Davis and the unsolved Zodiac killings. Those eerie similarities include:

*Shooting a cab driver to death in the wealthiest neighborhood of a city
*Calling the police to take credit for a murder
*Contacting the police to warn of future murders
*Openly stating his intent was to baffle the police
*Making a bus the subject of a death threat
*Displaying no obvious motive for murder
*Using both a .22 weapon and long rifle ammunition in the same killing

Conclusion: With all of the unusual similarities between the confirmed Zodiac attacks and the murder of Ray Davis, I see only two possibilities: The Zodiac killer somehow learned of the Davis case and decided to copy it, or Davis was killed by the actual Zodiac. In a 1971 letter, the Zodiac killer claimed he had many undiscovered victims in Southern California, and I believe Davis was likely one of them. While there is no available DNA in the Davis case, the possibility exists of using ballistics to prove the same .22 weapon was used in both a Zodiac case and the murder of Ray Davis — which would give us definitive proof. For now, however, Davis is definitely a possible Zodiac victim.

Below: Feb. 2020 feature news story about the Ray Davis case