Everybody Whispers in Napa

It’s time to take things to an official level with ZODIAC. I have decided to submit  information on my person of interest, “Steve Beard.” For 3 years my The Zodiac Killer web section has helped vanquish the folklore and restore the actual crime spree to its original context again. But now it is time to proceed to solution.

Despite ZODIAC’s urban popularity, you’d be surprised that there aren’t many official avenues to pursue. Solano County (Faraday/Jensen murders) thinks it’s Leigh Allen. So does Vallejo (Ferrin murder). Not much point in going to them. San Francisco shuttered their investigation. What’s the point there? That leaves Napa County Sheriffs. Since I can link my POI to a Berryessa report, Napa is the obvious choice. So I’m in luck for a change . . .sorta. . .

zodiac-sketchIt has been my experience that everybody whispers in Napa. Even years ago when I contacted them (sheriffs) about aerial photos of the crime scene. The receptionist lowered her voice and asked with heightened curiosity, “Are you writing a book?” Oh dear. “Maybe.” Nice people all. But when you talk to them you get the urge to look over your shoulder or about the room to see if Nixon’s ghost is up in a corner.

The reason? One can easily surmise. The Lake Berryessa attack by The ZODIAC, of course, is his most romanticized and sensationalistic. Napa, as you might have guessed, has had to deal with a lot of nutty inquiries. I think any apprehension on their part is understandable.

Moreover, I suspect there’s still some fallout remaining from Rodelli’s claims about Kjell Qvale. Only Napa pursued his 30 page thesis to the point of DNA. Qvale called Rodelli a son of a bitch yet yielded to the test. Of course he was exonerated. There was little reason to suspect him. Qvale was 50 years old back in 1969. ZODIAC unquestionably had a young voice. More than one independent witness confirmed that.

From this stand of trees, ZODIAC watched Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard under the trees (no gone) on Zodiac Island before approaching them.
From this stand of trees, ZODIAC watched Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard under the oak trees (now gone) on Zodiac Island before approaching them.

Now, I arrive years later and wish to submit my information. Naturally there is caution. I was instructed to be very detailed. Again, very understandable. I am to submit this to the captain I have been communicating with. If it is deemed valuable information a “detective may” be in touch with me.

One can deduce the obvious: there is no detective actively working the case. My impression is that I must write from the assumption the reader is not particularly aware of the case details.

Despite my ZODIAC section on my website, which has been up for about 3 years, it didn’t seem my name was familiar. That’s all right. It may not matter. Rodelli had a site up calling his suspect “Mr. X.” He got lots of attention. But still Napa was burned.

Being an author isn’t an “in” anymore to respectability anyway. Unfortunately, the publishing industry is not so respected because its “daddy did it” books helped tanked the genre. No such book has solved any major cold case. We just get another “my dad’s the creep” book and “this is my journey to coping with it, give me a million clams.”

Looking up the other way, the gnarled old oak still remains. It has seen things I should wish to have seen-- exactly who The ZODIAC is.
Looking up the other way, the gnarled old oak still remains. It has seen things I should wish to have seen– exactly who The ZODIAC is.

Those that follow my work know that I am going for a solution or trying to contribute significantly to a solution to the mysteries that I take on. There’s more than one approach to this.

I’m going to have a statement page up on The Quester Files as to just what its purpose and my goals are. When asked why he did not write Westworld as a book but rather made it as a movie, Michael Crichton replied that it simply could not be done as a book. It was too visual, too much action. It had to be a movie. In some respects this is my answer about The Quester Files. Some things cannot be done in a book, and I do not have the ability to make a documentary. Fortunately, today we have another medium of expression, one that walks between the two. The internet. My approach to EAR/ONS, for example, could not be done in a book. It had to be done on the internet. For ZODIAC, both are required. Much folklore has developed that must be chipped away in order to see and place in context The Zodiac Killer crime spree for what it really was. 

For EAR/ONS I have been spoiled. The case was just building in popularity.  Detectives have contacted me. I don’t need to prove myself here. But I do with Napa. Hopefully not 30 pages worth. I think only Ken Narlow, the original investigator, would have read something that long. It was largely because of him that Napa pursued Qvale.

Napa’s cautious response to me was actually the best response. It places the burden on me. If you’ve truly investigated, that’s where it belongs. I must be quite detailed.


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