Between 1966 and 1969, a serial murderer known as the Zodiac killer terrorized California. Despite intense law enforcement and media scrutiny, few clues to the killer's identity or motives have ever emerged.
Now, old police reports may shed new light on characteristics common to the victims.
Collected for nearly a decade at a unique online repository for information about the case, Zodiackiller.com, the reports -- from Napa, Vallejo, and Solano County police and sheriff departments -- reveal that before they were murdered, sometimes within days or weeks, each of the Zodiac's four known or suspected female victims had broken off a relationship or rebuffed the advances of a male admirer in favor of another male partner, and each breakup involved public arguments or witnessed threats.
What's more, in the three murders involving male-female couples, the female victim was the "older woman" in either her former or current relationship.
Experts say the similarities suggest the killer may have known more about his victims than has previously been assumed, and may not have chosen them entirely at random.
"The similarities are very intriguing and worth taking a second look at," said Sheryl McCollum, founder and director of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute at Bauder College in Atlanta. "Similarities between victims are often telling about the killer. I do not believe in coincidences -- much less four of them. Therefore, the victims all having had a breakup or male stalker becomes something that may need to be re-investigated."
Discovered during research for a story about the first public allegations in the Zodiac murders -- when, beginning in 1981, retired government librarian and true crime author Gareth S. Penn accused U.C. Berkeley public policy professor Michael H. O'Hare of the crimes in a series of articles and books -- the findings were presented at the 2009 Midwest Criminal Justice Association annual conference in Chicago and the 2009 Southern Criminal Justice Association annual conference in Charleston, South Carolina this September.
For more information and in-depth details, read the exclusive feature story at Weekly Scientist, http://www.weeklyscientist.com/
My review of MysteryQuest: Zodiac Killer
rating: 2.5/5 stars
See interactive page: http://www.history.com/genericContent.do?id=72116#6
The conclusion seemed to rest mainly on an elderly woman listening to an audio clip of the Zodiac Killer and the voice of Gyke to compare them. She was the 911 operator who answered the call the Zodiac made after he commited a murder. She didn't seem to have any impression until she heard the last part of Gyke's phone conversation. Then she gets shaken up and says that it is him and she doesn't want to hear it again. My problem with this is that she doesn't seem sure but Voight keeps pushing her. I have some problems with this guy. Anyway, to me the voice didn't sound very similar. But I'm not voice recognition expert. Don't you think the Zodiac disguised his voice when speaking to the operator? Gaikowski wasn't masking his voice in the phone conversation clips. He was just being himself. He didn't have a reason to mask his voice.
The Zodiac claimed that in one of the ciphers you can find his name. Yes, the letters GYKE is clearly seen in one of the ciphers but he didn't spell his nickname that way. He spelled it: G-A-I-K. Does it still count? I don't know. I don't claim to know how to get into the mind of the Zodiac Killer.
Another piece of new "clue" did not sit well with me. It was the age progressed sketch of the first witness sketch of the Zodiac suspect. They compared it to a picture of an older Richard Gaikowsky and claimed that the similarities are chilling. There were no similarities. They looked nothing alike. Did anyone else feel this way?
Also, whoever wrote the narration for the show was clearly leaning towards Richard Gaikowski as "most likely" being the Zodiac. You could hear in the verbiage how slanted it was. So in that sense I was disappointed.
Who is the Zodiac? I don't claim to KNOW. I am not a criminal invistigator. I only have the same information the rest of you (the public) has to go on.
Sure, it could be Richard Gaikowski. But what would be his motive? I want to know more about his background and personal life before just going on a composite sketch and a phone call.
PS: I will embed the show here when I find it.