The Elusive Zodiac Killer

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The Elusive Zodiac Killer

Serial killers almost without exception enjoy playing games. Whether played with their victims’, or the police forces trying to track them down, the game of the kill is almost as essential as the murder itself. In most instances this need to draw out the experience leads to the downfall of the culprit. This was not the case with the elusive Zodiac Killer of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Zodiac’s career, which would become the most cerebral murder case of all time, began in Riverside California on the night of October 30, 1966. The first victim, Cheri Jo Bates, a young student at the university was brutally murdered outside the college library. She was stabbed 42 times with a knife with a small blade. Following the stabbings, her throat was slit so brutally that it secered her larynx, jugular, and carotid artery. Authorities classified the extreme brutality of the murder “overkill”, which typically happened in cases where the victim and perpetrator are acquainted. Evidence found at the scene of the crime included a military class watch with a broken wristband, hair, blood, and skin tissue under Ms. Bates fingernails, and palm and fingerprints on her car. In addition, paint splattered on the watch was identified as being a variety used on ships. Ms. Bates clothes were still intact, and her wallet remained on her, leaving no other motive for attack.

The Cheri Jo Bates murder would have been believed to have been committed by a spurned lover, were it not for a bizarre twist occurring almost a month after the murder. On November 29, 1966 an anonymous letter was sent to both the Riverside Police and the Riverside Enterprise, a local newspaper. The letter, entitles “The Confession”...

... middle of paper ... events formed two rectangles held together by a solid line. This symbol, whose origin is the same as the Zodiac symbol used by the murderer, symbolizes the afterlife, and is placed on graves to hurry the souls to the afterlife. With Zodiac’s obsession with the afterlife, and the need for slaves in the thereafter, it is hypothesized that he is responsible for close to 100 murders across the area. The most resent developments to the Zodiac case have taken place on the East Coast. In 1998, a string of murders occurred in the New York metro area by someone claiming to be the Zodiac. Though police have assumed that this is a copycat case, it has not been ruled out that the Zodiac may once again be on the move.


Graysmith, Robert Zodiac. Berkley Books, New York. 1986

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