The Zodiac Killer Case: Serial Killer Cold Case Remains Unsolved 5+ Decades Later!
It’s been roughly 55 years since the beginning of the rash of murders that haunted the Northern California area in the 1960s and 1970s. For decades, police forces have tried to crack the famous Zodiac ciphers and identify the killer. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement, cipher specialists, and even concerned citizens, the case remains cold. Do you have what it takes to solve the Zodiac Killer case?
Get to Know the Victims, the Suspects, the Letters
If you’re interested in this famous serial killer case, there is a lot of information to familiarize yourself with first. For example, while the Zodiac claimed responsibility for 37 victims over the course of his killing spree, he was only conclusively linked to 8 victims. While there were thousands of suspects in the Zodiac Killer case, there are 4 suspects that drew the most attention. Finally, the Zodiac sent many letters, some with accompanying ciphers, while he was actively looking for new victims. All of this information must be considered to crack the case.
Get the Facts Straight with Zodiac Killer: Just the Facts
If you’re looking for a straightforward and accurate summary of the facts about the Zodiac Killer case as we know them today, then you’ll want to read Zodiac Killer: Just the Factsby Tom Voigt. This book is a chronological collection of important Zodiac Killer case information, including police reports as well as letters from the Zodiac. Tom Voigt provides only the facts as we know them so you can see the case with clear eyes.
Information Gathered From the #1 Zodiac Killer Website
Tom Voigt is responsible for the creation, curation, and editing of the #1 Zodiac Killer website, Zodiackiller.com. Launched in 1998, Zodiackiller.com remains the ONLY Zodiac Killer website recognized by law enforcement. To learn more about the release of Zodiac Killer: Just the Facts, as well as other information about the Zodiac Killer case, visit Zodiackiller.com today.
On Dec 11, 2020, David Oranchak posted on his YouTube channel that he and two other members of an international code breaking team had cracked the infamous Zodiac Killer 340 cipher… a cipher named for its 340 cryptic characters (see below).
The 340-character cipher was mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle on Nov 8, 1969. The letter was postmarked from San Francisco, California.
According to David Oranchak, with the help of Sam Blake (Australia) and Jarl Van Eycke (Belgium), a breakthrough was made on Dec 3rd 2020 and by December 5th the team submitted the Zodiac Killer 340 cipher solution to the FBI. The solution below.
I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME THAT WASNT ME ON THE TV SHOW WHICH BRINGS UP A POINT ABOUT ME I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE GAS CHAMBER BECAUSE IT WILL SEND ME TO PARADICE ALL THE SOONER BECAUSE I NOW HAVE ENOUGH SLAVES TO WORK FOR ME WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS NOTHING WHEN THEY REACH PARADICE SO THEY ARE AFRAID OF DEATH I AM NOT AFRAID BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY NEW LIFE IS LIFE WILL BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADICE DEATH
Below is David Oranchak’s video followed by the top three You Tube reactions.
I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME THAT WASNT ME ON THE TV SHOW WHICH BRINGS UP A POINT ABOUT ME I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE GAS CHAMBER BECAUSE IT WILL SEND ME TO PARADICE ALL THE SOONER BECAUSE I NOW HAVE ENOUGH SLAVES TO WORK FOR ME WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS NOTHING WHEN THEY REACH PARADICE SO THEY ARE AFRAID OF DEATH I AM NOT AFRAID BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY NEW LIFE WILL BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADICE LIFE ISDEATH
In 2008, shortly after the online Zodiac masses began to learn about Richard Gaikowski, an article came to light which Gaikowski had written back in late 2003. The article detailed Gaikowski’s life in Albany, NY from when he had lived there in the late 1960s, working for the local newspaper. The article concluded with:
“I felt burned out and left The Knickerbocker News at the end of September (1968) and headed for Europe to lick my wounds.”
To an extremely vocal minority, Gaikowski’s vague “headed for Europe” claim was heralded as “proof” that Richard Gaikowski was in Europe on exactly Dec. 20, 1968, and thus could not be the Zodiac killer. However, let’s look at the facts:
*As clearly seen below, Richard Gaikowski applied for a passport in early October 1968, intending to visit the United Kingdom, France, and Spain.
*Gaikowski planned to return to the United States by December 1, 1968. (That return date would be nearly three weeks prior to the Zodiac killer’s first San Francisco area murders.)
*APPROXIMATE DATE OF DEPARTURE: Nov. 1, 1968
*PROPOSED LENGTH OF STAY: One month
*CONCLUSION: There is literally no evidence supporting the myth that Richard Gaikowski was out of the United States in December 1968 — including his having allegedly authored a newspaper article from Ireland. So, you might wonder, how did Gaikowski’s “headed for Europe” claim somehow become unequivocal “proof” of his innocence? Simple — also see: The Man Behind The Falsehoods
Dec. 20, 2011) On this 43rd anniversary of the Zodiac’s attack on Lake Herman Road near Vallejo, Calif., I’ve added a comprehensive collection of vintage newspaper articles detailing the double murder. Click here to read and discuss.
Sept. 1, 2011) As we enter the anniversary month of the Zodiac’s 1969 attack at Lake Berryessa, I have received news of an exciting development:
————————————————– “Mr. Voigt,
My partner, Detective Shulman, said he would let you know once we got to the Cecelia Shepard case. We have reviewed the case completely and sent all of the evidence we have to the California DNA laboratory in Richmond. We do not expect to have any results back for some time. Routinely, the turnaround time for cases like this is measured in months if not years.
— REDACTED INFO —
Thank you for the access to your site. It has proven valuable for vetting out some of the theories we have received. We hope you will continue to allow us to view your research.
Thank you again for your assistance!
Detective Patrick McMahon
Napa County Sheriff’s Department
Cold Case Unit” ————————————————–
Discussion of this development can be found at the Zodiackiller.com message board.
July 5, 2011) It’s my pleasure to yet again share an exclusive and never-before-seen Zodiac case document. This time, it’s a 1971 Zodiac PERT chart, as prepared by the California Department of Justice. Until now, the chart was only available to police. One of the more interesting tidbits contained in the chart is the revelation that Zodiac rode in the front seat of victim Paul Stine’s cab, as discussed here. (For decades it was believed he sat in the back.) For discussion of the PERT chart, click here.
— CLICK IMAGE BELOW TO VIEW EXCLUSIVE ZODIAC PERT CHART — (PDF | 1.1 MB) For best results, zoom to 150% or more.
Feb. 19, 2011) Tonight’s episode of America’s Most Wanted featured a photo of Zodiac victim Darlene Ferrin that was first seen here at Zodiackiller.com last November. Pictured with Ferrin is a man of unknown identity. Click the image below for a huge version, and if you recognize the man, please contact me:
Jan. 31, 2011) At the end of January 1974, almost exactly 37 years ago, the Zodiac mailed a letter in which he seemed to claim 37 victims. It was the first Zodiac letter in nearly three years and its arrival sparked a renewed attempt by San Francisco police to catch him. To mark the occasion, I have updated the Zodiac Magazine Rack with a story about the investigation from the April 1974 issue of San Francisco Magazine.
> Click the image below for an amazing late-1960s aerial view of the neighborhood in San Francisco where the Zodiac killed cab driver Paul Stine:
Dec. 1, 2010) Retired Zodiac detective Ken Narlow has passed away after a strong battle against cancer. Narlow, who was a great friend to this website, worked for the Napa County Sheriff’s Dept. for several decades and was the original detective assigned to investigate the Zodiac’s attack at Lake Berryessa. He died in Napa on the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 29, 2010.
A recent e-mail from Ken: “This cancer is going to get me it’s just a matter of time. I rarely get out of the house anymore and when I do Marie takes me where I want to go. I still get a few leads, that I pass on to the boys in blue.”
Ken Narlow is pictured below with his son, circa 1960:
Oct. 6, 2010) In the Sept. 19, 2010 update, Zodiackiller.com showed how the Zodiac mimmicked Count Marco’s odd writing style. Just a month later, it appears we have solved yet another mystery. Click the image below for the latest:
Oct. 1, 2010) The 2008 Zodiackiller.com task-force meeting, which was held on Dec. 20, 2008 at the Roxie theater in San Francisco, is now available to watch online for free. Hosted by author David Van Nuys, the 100-minute video features several guest speakers, including Nancy Slover (she spoke to the Zodiac back in 1969).
Sept. 19, 2010) Ever since Zodiac wrote a letter referencing San Francisco newspaper columnist Count Marco back in July 1974, speculation has remained over why Zodiac adopted such an unusual handwriting style for that particular letter. See below for my recent discovery (Click for a larger version):
I believe Zodiac was very familiar with the nuances of Marco’s handwriting. If so, that potentially narrows the suspect pool immensely.
July 29, 2010) It has been nearly 41 years since the Zodiac murdered cab driver Paul Stine in San Francisco. Since then, most of us only know Stine through one published picture. Exclusive to Zodiackiller.com, I am thrilled to bring you a look at Paul Stine the public has never seen: MEET PAUL STINE.
Also see: Click the image below for the 13-page scrapbook that was kept by Paul’s mother, Audra: (PDF | 99.2 MB)
Jan. 1, 2010) As we enter 2010, I believe the time is perfect to revisit places the Zodiac haunted more than four decades ago. Click here for a Zodiac flashback.
Dec. 20, 2009) 40 years ago today, the Zodiac killer mailed a letter to famed attorney Melvin Belli. For the bizarre events that preceded the mailing, including exclusive photos, click here.
Nov. 9, 2009) Today I received this e-mail from the FBI’s cryptography expert, Dan Olson, concerning the Zodiac’s unsolved 340 cipher:
————————————————– “We havent seen any recent solutions or ideas that have generated a second look as of yet. If you can point us in the right direction we’ll be all over it. FYI, if we ever do see a good partial or full solution we will forward it with our endorsement to the cold case squad at SFPD, but we will give credit to where credit is due.
I dont have a graphic to share but here are more details you can post instead: Statistics for repeated characters for each line of text show a distinct higher randomness with the lines we’ve discussed (1-3 and 11-13). The higher randomness may be due in part or whole to greater care by the writer to not repeat characters on these lines. This indicates homophonic substitution. The opposite is true for lines 4, 10, 14, 17 and 18, these lines have many repeats. Additionally, there is far greater randomness for rows versus columns. This rules out any form of columnar or diagnal transpositions (a big step forward).
These same statistical tests were done on Z408. The results suggest that 340 is similar to 408 except for the bogus rows: overall randomness of 408 is .48, 340 is .50. Row randomness of 408 is .22, 340 is .19. Column randomness of 408 is .48, 340 is .68. By way of comparison, row and column randomness should be near identical if the 340 does not contain any message, or if there is a message that is evenly scrambled.
Thanks again for your help Tom.” ————————————————–
If you have a solution to the 340 cipher you’d like to share, I can pass it along to the FBI. Contact me. Discussion can be found here.
Sept. 22, 2009) Here’s the YouTube trailer for a TV project involving Zodiackiller.com:
Aug. 10, 2009) Before you check out the free, exclusive, two-hour Zodiac video below, keep in mind that even though I do my best, often I don’t have time to formally update Zodiackiller.com each time I receive interesting and valuable Zodiac information. Sometimes it can take me weeks or months to get the news to you, or it can just slip through the cracks and never get published. There is now a way for you to get all the good stuff delivered to your e-mail box immediately. Click here to find out how.
> Exactly five years ago, I filmed my own video of the various Zodiac crime scenes and other relevant locations. Click below for the free, exclusive, two-hour ULTIMATE Zodiac video on YouTube:
July 15, 2009) The recent Zodiackiller.com task-force meeting was a blast, and extremely informative to boot. Thanks to all who participated.
> I’ve written a feature article about the events of the last year or so in the Zodiac world. Click here for “The 13th Sign”.
May 14, 2009) About two weeks ago a woman came forward claiming to be the Zodiac killer’s daughter. She was the same woman who recently claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of President John F. Kennedy. Obviously her story is nonsense, as none of the witnesses to the Zodiac’s crimes ever described him as traveling in a motorcade.
In any event, discussion of these recent events — along with thousands of other Zodiac-related topics — can be found at the Zodiackiller.com message board.
> The next Zodiackiller.com task-force meeting is less than two months away. See the Jan. 5, 2009 update below for details.
Jan. 29, 2009) It was exactly 35 years ago that the Zodiac mailed one of his last letters. Today I updated the Zodiac Letters page to include two new additions. (Thanks to Howard Davis.)
Jan. 5, 2009) The Zodiackiller.com task-force meeting at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco might be history, but please enjoy the video at the bottom of this update of the subsequent Zodiac bus tour that 50 of us enjoyed.
> The next Zodiackiller.com task-force meeting will be held this July 5th (Sunday) at Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, Calif. That date is the 40th anniversary of the Zodiac’s attack of Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau. Fittingly, the section of the park reserved for the event is called “The Pines” and was the site of the very first task-force meeting back in 2002, as pictured at left. “The Pines” features 22 picnic tables, two BBQs, plus nearby restrooms, water, and shade. (We will most probably tent a portion in case of heat/rain.) Best of all, it’s free. Beer and wine are permitted. Kids are welcome. After the recent hectic task-force meeting, we are looking forward to a mellow affair. Mingling! Discussion! Make your plans to be there. I can’t wait! (Starting a new diet tomorrow.) I’d like to thank the Dahlia for her help.
> I’ve put together a page of vintage Zodiac television programs that you can either view online, or save to your computer. Here’s a link. Enjoy!