No DNA Way– Cold Case Shootings

It’s a fact of the past– it’s a reality for the future. Some serial killers don’t like close contact, and after all the wonders of DNA tracing (through genealogical databases), it is the modus operandi of the future’s calculated thrill killers. Some murderers just like to shoot their victims. Only one bit of evidence is left behind– the caliber of the bullet and perhaps with this the model of the gun used. It is a daunting task to solve such a case.

For example, in the 2016 case of Anchorage, Alaska, serial killer James Dale Ritchie, the FBI profilers advised local police in a way that may seem strange at first. They recommended that the police not announce that the deaths of couples and an individual were linked to a serial.  The reason? All they had was a gun model determined by ballistics. The couples were unrelated and found on bike trails or in parks, and one near his aunt’s house where he was going to check on her dog. Their killer had walked up and just shot them. Had it been announced that a serial was afoot  (determined by the fact all victims were shot by the same gun), the killer could switch to another weapon. The only bit of evidence was then gone. Had it not been for a shootout later when Ritchie refused to stop for an officer, the string of shootings possibly never would have been solved.

The serial killings in Anchorage were a hot case too!  Think now about how hard it is to solve a cold case where there is no DNA.

One has to wonder if this is the reason why little information is presented on some cold case serial killings that desperately need more public light on them. They simply may not be solvable killings and as such, and this sounds more callous than I mean it, they may not be worth it. The case becomes famous, the police are burdened by amateur hour enthusiasts, and the tips can lead nowhere unless the actual gun is found. What are the chances?

The Atlanta Lovers’ Lane killings in 1977 are a case in point. Three couples were attacked by a man who simply walked up to their car in a parking lot (a park’s parking lot), squatted down and started riddling the car with gunfire. Like with Zodiac, he would kill some of his victims and maim the others for life. But little is known of the cases even though they are probably just as intriguing as the famous case of the Phantom of Texarkana or the Zodiac Killer murders. It is 43 years now, and the only evidence known is the type of weapon and the wadcutter bullets used.

No DNA exists in the case of the I-70/I-35 Killer, and now it is 28 years since he struck for a brief frenzy of deadly mayhem in 1992 and possible 1993 and early 1994. His case is receding in time even though there appears to be a couple of reliable sketches of him.

Sadly, in the future there will be more murders like these. Giving a weapon a sort of DNA is probably the best way to thwart such killings. But how to do so? How to give each weapon produced a very definite signature so that the actual firearm can be traced to an owner, or a chain of use via which the killer got a hold of it?

Food for thought.


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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress. 

Science and the Real Future of Mars

At the apex of immigration to the New World, with its millions of untapped square miles, forests, mountains, rivers, inland seas, exotic (but mineral rich) deserts, fertile plains, imagine advertisements alluring the prospective pioneer to sail to and settle and colonize Antarctica. You wouldn’t find them. No company would offer passage, for no company, no nation set up colonies.  It was and is a dead continent, one covered by ice where the temperature can get to minus 45 degrees Celsius. It is good for a few scientific stations. Nothing else.

This is the future, the real future of the planet Mars. It is unfortunate that our eyes have been set on it for so long, and thus with our eyes have followed our imaginations, stubborn now to let go of it. But the truth is Mars is a celestial kitty litter box fit for nothing but dumping old nuclear waste and plastic.

The idea that Mars amounts to anything, even a first step, is utterly absurd and is inspired from the world of obsolete science fiction writers. To maintain SCI-FI as our guide is tantamount to raving at the docks of 19th century Europe that ‘Antarctica, you fools, is the real place to go!’

We now stand at the thresh hold of perfecting Alcubierre’s warp drive, if we just want to take that step forward. With this comes Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani in months’ time. Probes fitted within this warp drive will be first. They will find planets. Some will land and be weather monitoring stations. Then if terraforming is necessary, probes will be sent with nitrobacter and nitrosomonas for soil fertility. Then seed pods broadcasting all forms of seed over the planet. Hopefully, and likely, a newly discovered planet is high in carbon dioxide. This will facilitate the super growth of all flora and conversion to oxygen. Pods with insects will next be sent. Then pods with small crustaceans and other microbiological life for the oceans.


NASA’s digital example of a space ship inside one of Miguel Alcubierre’s warp drives. Large pods can also be built to orbit a viable planet and then send down smaller pods for seeding, etc., and then recover those pods necessary. Eventually, the ships will be manned. 

This is where it will get tricky. We will have to have spaceships big enough and with controlled atmospheres by this time so we can transship smaller animals, then aquatic species and then the bigger species. Non predators must be first in order to give all species a foothold.

As you can imagine from just these steps (which are incredibly simplified) even with the perfection of Alcubierre’s warp drive we are crawling.

But there should be no doubt anymore that such a drive will be perfected. Let’s put science’s ability today into perspective. Russia has now deployed Avangard, a hypersonic missile that can reach Mach 27– i.e. speeds in excess of 20,000 miles per hour. There was a time when UFOlogists insisted that radar reports of anything going in excess of 10,000 mph in the atmosphere must be some electromagnetically powered flying saucer in its own gravitational field. There was no other explanation for how something could travel that fast and not disintegrate from air friction in our atmosphere. Well, the Russians have proven that wrong by good scientific engineering.

The Avangard missile. 

In like manner, the obstacles of perfecting Alcubierre’s warp drive to carry a spaceship within it (manned or otherwise) will be overcome. The arguments that the power required to generate the field are so intense that it would disintegrate any ship within it are as temporary as the argument about speed and air friction in our atmosphere.

Let’s put some things in chronological place here. In 1994 Miguel Alcubierre proposed such a warp drive and its effects on space. It would warp space in front of it, pulling it toward the ship. The spacecraft would then travel in its own warp bubble and thereby circumvent the nasty reality of bending space before it.

Speed and bending space are two of the major hurdles science needed to overcome for distant star travel. With massive speed in space comes the bending of space around the craft. This would be to such an extent that it would slow time to a remarkable degree inside the spaceship. It is called time dilatation. I have used the example before, but it is prudent to use it again. A spaceship travels to Sirius at .99 of speed of light. Those inside would experience a day or so of travel, but they would return to an Earth that is 18 years into the future. They didn’t travel in time. Time traveled around them. By their speed and increase in mass they created their own Time Continuum. This is not wild theory.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity predicted this. Atomic clocks set at sea level and at orbital heights have since confirmed that time is recorded differently. Those at sea level recorded Earth’s time whereas those at orbital heights recorded time passing just slightly faster. A great mass will bend space and thus slow time, and it will be slower closer to the center of gravity.

A Time Continuum is not another dimension. The Earth by its massive size and speed in space has created its own Time Continuum, though only a fraction different than that of the solar system.

Now imagine a spaceship bending space infinitely more by near lightspeed and thus its increase in mass. Those inside are locked into a slower tempo of time than those without, like us on Earth. They are unaware of it because of the center of gravity.  All things within the spaceship are moving with the same load and thus everything within this realm is calibrated to that tempo, so to speak. It is just like we on Earth. We are unaware of the Earth’s shape and its incredible speed of rotation (over 1,000 mph at the equator) and its speed in revolving around the sun. It is all because of gravity. Gravity is not an attracting force. It is an orienting “phenomenon.”

We don’t want to travel in space like this. In theory, Alcubierre’s warp drive has overcome the speed and time dilatation and thus freed us from contemplating the old images of nuclear powered rocket engines hurtling us through space. 

Gravity raises the other hurdle that must be overcome– creating gravity for a spaceship. Zero gravity is fine for probes, but when it comes time to go into deep space, we are going to need gravity at our command.

In 2012 the warp drive was declared proven. NASA has made digital mockups of what a space ship inside one of these warp drives will look like. It can possibly travel 10 times the speed of light. So if you know the lightyear distance of Epsilon Eridani from Earth, you can do the math on how long it would take to make it there.cgwp589ukaa6wx0

There should be no question it will be done, if people realize it can be done. Sadly, war might be the instigating motive to finally put Alcubierre’s warp drive into action.

We come back to the above mentioned Avangard missile. There is no defense against Avangard. No missile system can catch such a speeding missile, and Avangard can also maneuver on its own.

Thus the US Pentagon must look to the next step. And what is the next step over Mach 27? It is Alcubierre’s warp drive as a delivery system. With this, the US could materialize a bomb over a foreign city or military installation in seconds.

But the good thing that comes from perfecting the warp drive, of course, brings us back to space exploration and planet colonization.

The steps to colonization depend on how vigorous space exploration becomes. Obviously, it would be economically rewarding. What has held us up with moon bases or setting up a scientific station on Mars is the fact it costs a lot and brings nothing back in. But the disgorging of tens of thousands of people to other planets is opening up an economic boom unparalleled in the past.

And we are not even crawling yet. Rocket fuel as a propulsion is worthless. That is obsolete. That is not even crawling.

The perfecting of probes within a warp drive is itself crawling. And determining what constitutes crawling is really dependent on your level of vision. Scientific Method is really just mechanics without a goal. In the hands of visionaries, it is the means by which houses of knowledge are built and progress is made. If your vision is to grow lettuce on Mars to supplement Earth’s produce, then you might think science is doing great. But if you have greater knowledge on the ramifications of all events pertaining to the planet, then you realize the reality of population doubling statistics. It is time now, already, to start disgorging millions of people to other worlds. And that this process is now overdue is the product of a lack of vision.

After the perfecting of probes within warp drives, there is a laborious process. From there we must be able to send them to other solar systems. This must go hand-in-hand with the technology to control them and bring them back with their information. It is pointless to send them one way. They can return faster than any radio signal from them, so they must be recallable back to near Earth where their digital information can be downloaded. We would first test this by sending probes to planets in our solar system, then to Alpha Centauri, our nearest star. Once perfected, the galaxy is the limit.

Take Avangard as a lesson. The Russians overcame speeds we once thought impossible. What they did for atmospheric travel, someone else can do for space travel. Eventually the months in passage to nearby stars would be decreased more and more. It will be quite possible, feasible, even unavoidable to go into space and colonize planets. The dots are already within science. It is possible to rationally draw lines between them.

Without the perfection of a gravity system within a spaceship, colonization comes to a crawl. A massive colonization can ship large quantities of animals and people. A limited colonization would have to rely, frankly, on something better though far more complex– genetically engineered specimens of existing species. These would have all the mutations removed from them. Thus making a very limited genepool capable of breeding an entire species on another planet. (The mutation rate is on average one in 10 (7) duplications of the cell, so you can figure how long it would take for mutations to appear in a somatically perfect species.)

Despite the mockery of an “Adam and Eve” within popular science (i.e. public forums), in real science the potential of somatically perfect specimens is well known. There are no somatic mutations and thus no genetic load to perpetuate. Without genetic load, close inbreeding for generations will produce nothing but perfect specimens. We will discuss this in future posts.

Seeding planets with two perfect specimens of each species (a Noah’s Ark type of project) is not the best way to go. We will lose contact with them. The result is entire planetary civilizations will develop with their own folklores and histories about their origins. We must have massive colonization. The heavy amount of “genetic burden” in our own human (and animal) genepool requires it.

Massive colonization can only happen with safe “space ways.” These are rendered safe by monitoring probes. They will also have to be in place to monitor space debris– similar to iceberg monitoring ships in the North Atlantic back in the day. It really wouldn’t be nice to pile into an unexpected meteor or asteroid at warp speed.

In terms of colonization, there is a cascade of complexity that will and must naturally happen. For instance, the first colonists must all be technically qualified, not just in sciences but in farming and ranching, botany, entomology– you name it. To borrow a Biblical visual, mankind must tend these gardens.

The flora and fauna will grow. Mankind will spread out. Space stations and docking bays and landing ports will be in place to receive more ships and trade goods. The cosmos has opened and the sky is no longer the limit. There will be waiting lists and arguments to get on certain planets, as some will be discovered to be better for that lovely word all geneticists know about– quantum longevity.  This is atmospherics that are conducive to a long, long lifespan.

There are, of course, many more steps which must be put in place. Therefore it is time we took our first step. Rockets to Mars isn’t it. A giant step to Antarctica would have gotten us nowhere. The first crawl is perfecting Alcubierre’s warp drive and all refinements that come from this prototype. What must be put in place thereafter is massively complex, and we will begin to look at these steps in future posts.

But compare the generalized steps above with all the rubbish in the rags about Mars. Mars is a fraction of the size of Earth, with only a fraction of the gravity.  It can’t hold in an oxygen atmosphere, and even if it could you can’t breathe it because the human lungs need more pressure. The 14.7 psi at sea level on Earth isn’t even ideal. Our lungs like pressure. Even if you could breathe an oxygen atmosphere on Mars, you wouldn’t want to. The atmosphere is radioactive, and it wasn’t alien bombs. It is one big natural nuclear dumpsite.

In future posts, let’s start getting into the details and complexities required to crawl into space and visit lush, living planets and not the celestial equivalent of  Antarctica.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.





The Zodiac Killer and Ray Davis

Although for the last 6 years I have pursued Steve as the Zodiac to the point of getting matching hand printing, I have still reached out to other crimes to see if he/Zodiac could fit. There is more than one chapter in HorrorScope dedicated to putting in place the Gaviota, Riverside, and Swindle (San Diego) murders. I don’t believe the Riverside murder of Cheri Jo Bates was related, but the others are certainly disturbingly suggestive of the Zodiac. There is something instinctive about the Faraday/Jensen murders (December 1968), if you truly study the actual evidence, that suggests their killer had killed before. One example: after dispatching Faraday with one bullet to the head, the killer held his composure to put 5 bullets in Jensen’s back in “remarkable close grouping” while she ran away.

The question has always been, ‘Had the Zodiac killed before or killed other victims than those he boasted about in the Bay Area?’ Even identifying the Zodiac Killer does not immediately answer that question.

Except for Cheri Jo Bates (1966), the other pre-1968 suspected murders– Bobby Domingos/ Linda Edwards (1963); Johnny Ray and Joyce Swindle (1964)– are often glossed over.

But let’s get a little more detailed here, for a new “possible victim” has been put forward that is officially being considered by at least one jurisdiction responsible for investigating the Zodiac murders.  The victim is Ray Davis, a cab driver who was murdered in Oceanside, California, on the night of April 11, 1962. This puts him first before all the other suspected murders.

The time was 11:10 p.m. Ray Davis, 29 years old, reported to his dispatcher that he was taking a fare to south Oceanside. He never reported again.

At 1:45 a.m., April 12, officer Terry Stephens found Davis’ body dumped in the alley between two upscale streets. His body was, in fact, found behind the houses of the current mayor of Oceanside and the former mayor of Oceanside. The killer seemed to be making a statement, a statement that was intended to upset the powers that be. Otherwise the killing was quite utilitarian. The murderer had shot Davis in the back and in the back of the head with a .22 caliber pistol. He removed the body from the cab and drove off.  The cab was dumped on South Pacific a few blocks from Davis’s home on Tremont, but it was also close to a bus stop.

Ray Davis-dump-2

The dump location behind the mayors’ houses.

On top of an already brutal murder, it was no doubt this daring act of dumping the body behind the mayor’s house that reminded Oceanside Police that a crank called them on the night of April 9, two nights ago, and said: “I am going to pull something here in Oceanside and you will never be able to figure it out . . .” or words to such an effect.

The murder of Ray Davis fit. He was killed for no reason other than being a target, a target the killer could get to any place in town. He hadn’t been robbed. Nothing else had been done to him. He had been shot in the back and the back of the head and unceremoniously disposed of where it would shock the town the most– behind the houses of the powers that be. Everything fit the caller’s warning of two nights before.

Ray Davis-locations

Yellow star indicates where Ray Davis’ body was dumped in the alley behind South Pacific. The cab was ditched in the alley in the 400 block of South Pacific, so the killer simply drove north along the road after throwing Davis’ body out in the alley. This was, coincidently or not, not too far from Davis’s house (red star). 

That the caller and the murderer were one and the same was underscored a week later when he called the police again and declared: “Do you remember me calling you last week and telling you that I was going to pull a real baffling crime? I killed the cab driver and I am going to get me a bus driver next.”Ray Davis-locations2

Chief of Police William Wingard believed they were dealing with a deranged killer. Yes, but it was a specific type of deranged killer. It was a man for whom killing was merely an ante in a game of death and community terror. Ignoring Zodiac’s claim he wanted slaves in the afterlife, Zodiac’s murder campaign was essentially the same thing.  His motive to murder was actually to send the Bay Area into a panic.

The same thing had ensued in Oceanside in April-May 1962, of course.  Bus routes were watched. Two drivers were assigned to busses. Guards were at the terminals. It was written up far and wide in the southern California newspapers of the time.

Nothing transpired. No bus driver was murdered. There were no murders that fit the pattern again.

But on June 4, 1963, at Gaviota Beach near Lompoc, north of Los Angeles, a couple would be brutally gunned down by a man using a .22 caliber automatic pistol. In February 1964, Johnny Ray and Joyce Swindle would be murdered in a very utilitarian way while they cooed along Sunset Beach in San Diego. They were also murdered with a .22 pistol. It too sent the Ocean Beach area into a panic fearing the “Sniper Slayer.” Extra patrolmen were assigned, and a chopper patrolled overhead. Lompoc sheriffs came down to see if there could be a connection to their killing, but nothing was publicly made of any connection, except a .22 caliber had been used.

Perhaps Lompoc sheriffs were a bit blind-sighted. Heavy suspicion existed around a suspect in Lompoc for the murder of the couple there. So perhaps the general similarities weren’t noticed, only the specific one of a similar .22 caliber weapon.

Overall there were similarities, naturally. Both were cooing couples. Both were gunned down pointlessly along the coast. But though there are more similarities than this between these double murders, there is actually far more similarity between the Swindles’ murders and Ray Davis’s murder, also along the coast, than to the Gaviota slayings. Davis had merely been a stepping stone to set the city in panic. That was the appearance anyway. The result of the Swindles pointless slaying was the same– a district wide alert. Their killer had to have known this would happen.

Four years later David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen are murdered while cooing on Lake Herman Road near Vallejo. A .22 caliber pistol (most likely a J.C. Higgins Model 80) was used. It was such a common weapon with common lands and grooves in a right turn that the actual model could not be identified if it was in the hands of the ballistics experts. Perfect weapon for a utilitarian killer.

After this there were no more. .22 caliber murders. Zodiac used a 9 mm at Blue Rock Springs Park and thereafter. But he took credit for the Lake Herman Road murders.

The progression seems damning in the couple murders in California in the 1960s indicating one perp was involved. Thrill of murder, yes, but it was secondary to the greater thrill of looming over a community by sending it into a panic. Was Zodiac trying to rekindle the thrill he had unintentionally achieved in San Diego by merely gunning down a loving couple? Only now in 1969 during the open throes of antiestablishment it works?

But does the single unexplained murder of a cab driver in Oceanside in 1962 fit in?

It is made to fit in because Zodiac’s last victim was a cab driver, and his motive appeared to be the same: kill a cabbie in the heart of San Francisco to finally send the metropolis over the edge. That’s all a life meant to both killers. Murder for the sake of the greater thrill to send society into a panic. 

But aside from motive, the similarities end there. Zodiac didn’t even contact the police or press after his first double murder in 1968– he waits 7 months until after he strikes his next victims. No crank calls the police in the Swindles and Gaviota murders. Thus the progression can still fit Zodiac. He finally wanted to take credit after his attack in Blue Rock Springs Park. But the ruthless maniac who killed Davis begins by taunting the police.

Davis’ killing doesn’t really fit with the Zodiac’s MO. The killer’s motive does. Yet there’s a big difference in the two. The Zodiac’s MO was to kill couples, usually quite quickly, in rural areas. It became apparent he wanted to set the entire Bay Area on edge, and his rural murders weren’t cutting it. So he strikes last in San Francisco itself. He kills a cab driver and then sends a letter proving he is the murderer. He ends the letter with the one thing that will finally get San Francisco’s undivided attention: he threatens to shoot out the tire of a school bus full of children and pick them off as they come “bouncing out.”  It had its effect. Until that time, Zodiac had garnered little attention in the metropolis except briefly in August 1969 for his cryptograms to 3 newspapers. Zodiac became the No. 1 arch villain after the school bus threat.

Ray Davis’ killer had killed a cab driver for effect and now threatened to kill a bus driver for an even greater effect. There’s a big difference here compared to the Zodiac’s motives. From cabbie to bus driver is an obvious step for a killer, even when the killer is hoaxing. Zodiac shooting a cab driver and then threatening to snipe school children doesn’t mean he was involved in the Oceanside 1962 murder of Davis, or even knew about it. Unfortunately, cabbie killings aren’t rare, nor are threats against school busses. One reason, perhaps, why nothing resonated in 1969, only 7 years later, with Oceanside Police so that contact could be made with San Francisco PD and an attempt to link the cases.

The progression in the Zodiac’s murders and in his publicity campaign to get attention shows how he constantly wanted to terrify the whole Bay Area. This only happened when he finally struck in San Francisco in October 1969.

In the summer of 1969 Chief of Police in Vallejo Jack Stiltz had made a big noise  about his doubt that the bragging writer of the letters was one and the same as the murderer. This same doubt hung over the case until Zodiac erased it on September 27 when he wrote on his latest victim’s car door. The writing proved the letter writing Zodiac was at the crime scene and therefore was one and the same as the murderer.  About two weeks later, Zodiac kills a cab driver in San Francisco. The stage is now set for the panic Zodiac wants.

Ray Davis’ murder does not entirely fit in this pattern.

It can be argued that in 1962 Zodiac was merely learning his trade; that he expanded to couples thereafter. However, the Gaviota slayings really didn’t indicate the killer wanted to terrorize the community.  They were in a rural area, like with Zodiac’s other murders, but even more remote. The Swindles were in a crowded area, gunned down from the slopes off Narraganset Avenue, approached while wounded and then dispatched with a bullet to the head. This was a frightening murder case.

There are points that connect and do not connect these early double murders to the Zodiac Killer. The same can be said for Ray Davis’s murder. Much of the speculation could be dispensed with if more details were released– a valuable one would be the impression of the voice’s age that called the police. Was it young or not? Zodiac had a young voice in 1969.

The Ray Davis case is connected to Zodiac’s only by the broadest of generalities, and crucial specifics are sadly wanting in the public forum.  Those who draw the most connection are those who limit themselves to the Zodiac case and therefore are impressed by the generalities, but unfortunately, once again, cab killings and boastful slayers weren’t a rare thing in the 1960s and 1970s.

We do not even have enough information to know whether someone wanted to murder Davis specifically. If a single murder merely to send a community into a panic was not the killer’s motive, then the only explanation is that he could have been someone who knew Davis and wanted him dead. Everything else was an elaborate hoax on his part to direct attention to a crazed killer.. . .and away from himself. If so, it worked. Davis’ murder never has been solved or even sufficiently explained.

* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.