Signed, Yours Truley– ZODIAC

For 6 years many of you have followed my very quiet investigation of Steve. Since I posted his picture in 2013 and a one page blurb on Q Files, you have been patient. Q Files held results of my crime scene restoration work, but not my own personal investigation.

In my long pursuit to get vintage penmanship samples, I succeeded in 2 stages, beginning in 2016. I’ve shared on Q Files a couple of samples of his penmanship compared to Zodiac’s. Penmanship does match. But that is not just to slanting style and specific letters and numbers. It is also to variations. Sherwood Morrill had said once that he could easily recognize Zodiac’s distinctive hand just from a bank deposit slip. I think more is better, of course, because you can then come across the phenomenon of how Zodiac varied letters. One example:

69-9-compared

The “9” on the left is taken from the Zodiac’s printing on the Karmann Ghia door. On the right is Steve’s notation. A rare moment of writing a “9” like a backward “P”. Zodiac’s “6” undergoes major changes. Sometimes it is very curved, even elegant. Sometimes it is just the product of his excessive slanting.

Sample-July2

From the comparison above, we see that Steve wrote his “6” similarly. He naturally slanted, as seen at the “u” and then slants the “L.”

But Zodiac was a very careful writer at times, writing both his cryptograms and sometimes letters with a rigid, straight style.

Sample-Jan

The above sample is so radically different that I disputed it. But it does, in fact, appear to be Steve’s as well, written at a moment when he was relaxed.

These comparisons below reveal some similarities, but for Steve they also reveal a shaky hand contrasted by a steady hand.
Samples-numerals2

I do know that some psychiatric problems may bear on printing. From what I have discovered I can certainly say that the man or men who wrote the above samples on this page were suffering from some severe mental disorders. One was released from the USAF psychiatric ward one and a half years before the Zodiac crimes began.

* * *
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.

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The ZODIAC Killer — Printing Match

Since there is more room here than on my website’s update page, I will use this post for clarifications. I finally posted snippets of printing from my suspect matching the Zodiac Killer’s printing. This printing is not done under supervision, but from 50 + year records where he is casually writing. They date to 1966-1967.

My report goes in next week identifying him to the jurisdiction I promised some time ago when I set out on the arduous trip to find vintage hand printing from a man who lived an obscure life. Once my report has been accepted, the jurisdiction will be identified here in an update.

As to the previous posts on ZODIAC identified by DNA: Again, the term “refining leads” got out and passed around– which in the context of months after a DNA submission to genealogy databases means someone has been arrived at by name. This was reported in various ways. One public source reported that they have DNA, which they have had for a while, so that may have been a mistake of not understanding “refining leads.”

In any case, I took down the posts reluctantly, not because of the belief there was inaccuracy (several out there are insisting that one jurisdiction ((Vallejo)) is vehemently denying  they know anything about any lead or name.) But “refining leads” may have been misused by the original source to merely mean DNA tracing is continuing but has not reached a pool of viable suspects yet.

In any case, for my purposes here it is not relevant anymore. It only confuses two entirely separate paths. So as it stands, if this is all true, I’m the only one turning in a suspect by name based on admissible evidence. You know my views on the old gumshoe, bulldog method.

Since sufficiently matching penmanship samples came into me last week, and more are expected Monday, I will confine myself on here purely to the developments, as I am able, as they pertain to my investigation.

I will probably share some more detailed printing samples later, but for now readers can go to the Updates page on my website The Quester Files and view those already placed up.

For those who have followed my pursuit for so many years, I thank you all for your patience.

* * *
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.

Murder Said Easy- The ZODIAC Killer– HORRORSCOPE

Since there have been delays in HorrorScope, I’m serializing some parts of it here to give everybody a taste. This is an outtake from chapter 4: Murder Said Easy. After recreating the events at Blue Rock Springs . . .

HorrorScope Copyright Gian J. Quasar

 

Every sound in a morgue seems final. Every echo seems to lead to an empty vault. The bland, swinging doors close and the echo leads nowhere. The walls are some faded pale green. It is supposed to be anodyne, but the antiseptic aura of a morgue is a utilitarian one. It is not like a hospital, where the purpose is toward preventing death. Everything in a morgue is utilitarian toward disposal. The surgical tables are stainless steel, cold but clean. All the hardware is stainless steel. Lights on overhead elbow joints lend no warmth— the cold steel simply sparkles. Life is gone. Utilitarian, sterile function takes the beat.
Bodies lie under sanitary sheets of that ugly pale green. A little tag is wrapped round the big toe of the cadaver. It is not even a body now. A shell. The shell is to be processed. It is pushed along on what look like large stainless steel dinner dollies. There to the morgue table they go; a squeak of the wheels, a heft onto the table. Underneath are the channels and the drains for the flow of blood and bodily fluids. Men in masks lean over and logistically “hmmm” before they start with the scalpel.
Such was now the end of vivacious Dee Ferrin.

Before Dr. S. Shirai could even do the coroner’s job he had to play detective and measure the bullet entry and exit wounds to get an idea of trajectory. This could be done fairly easily because of the 17 holes in Ferrin there were 9 entry wounds and 7 exit wounds. The angle between them was very apparent. As he finished, he dictated the following into a microphone:

General: Well developed, well nourished, fully built. Scalp hair is light brown, but dark towards the roots. Irides are blue; pupils equal at 0.5cm. Both eyelashes are false. Rigor mortis is 4 plus. Body is embalmed.

Wounds: There are nine bullet wounds of entry, seven exit wounds, and two bullets recovered from the body, internally. Right arm shows two entry wounds; one at five and one half inches above elbow on right lateral side, going through and fracturing the humeral shaft and exiting anteriorly and medially at one and one quarter distal to elbow. The other is behind forearm, three and one half inches above the wrist, chafing the skin from right to left. Left arm shows two entry wounds; one is medially located in upper arm at three and one quarter inches above the elbow and exiting the opposite side. The other is medially on the forearm located two inches above the wrist, going through and fracturing the radial and ulnar bones, and exiting above and laterally at three inches above wrist.

There are five entry wounds on the right half of the back, mainly on the posterior thoracic cage. From down upward, the first is located half an inch right of T-12, through posterior margin of T-12, the liver, stomach, and exiting through left rib number eight, laterally, on left mid-axillary liner. The second is located three and one quarter inches right of T-10, through posterior margin of T-1- and T-11, the liver, spleen, and bullet is recovered medial margin of left rib number nine. The third is located seven and a half inches to the right of T-7, about posterior axillary line, through the right lung, lacerating posterior-apical area of left ventricle of heart, the left lung, and exiting through the left rib number 7 laterally about the mid-axillary line. The fourth is located two and one quarter inches to the right of T-4, through 4th rib, the right lung, the anterior shaft of right second rib, where the bullet is recovered in subcutaneous tissue here. The fifth is located back of the right shoulder, through the soft tissues, the subcutaneous tissues of the anterior chest wall, and chafing the anterior margin of the sternum at level of 4th rib, and exiting to the left side of left breast, slightly above the level of nipple.

No scalp injuries or skull fractures.

The heart, both lungs are within normal limits, except for hemorrhages around the course of the bullets. The GI tract (track), appendix, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus (not pregnant) are within normal. The stomach is filled with undigested foods. The bladder is filled with clear amber urine. There are no tumors or abnormalities of the organs. The thyroid and adrenal glands are not remarkable.

There are bloody fluid in the thoracic cavity (200cc. each) and abdominal cavity (300cc.).

Dr. Shirai wrote the obvious conclusion under Immediate Cause of Death: “Multiple bullet wounds to chest and abdominal organs.” The attendant finished up and the body was rolled slowly into the cold refrigerator unit and the box door shut.

Hospital rooms are about as humorless as the morgue. The ICU room is painted warmer colors, but the atmosphere of tragedy keeps anyone from embracing it; that terrible limbo that does not exist in a morgue. Here people are fighting to survive, their loved ones praying desperately for them. Despite how intense the battle is, the only movement in such a ward is glowing green lines on dark screens. They beep up and down or shrill a terrible, frantic warning.
I.V. bottles and tubes hung about Sgt. Ed Rust as he sat next to Mike Mageau’s bed. The 19 year old was pale. The drip of blood from the bottle to the tube was the only thing maintaining any color in him. Half of his face was covered in a bandage, sealing the bullet hole in his neck. The blood had been cleaned out of his mouth. His bloodstained clothes had been taken for photographing as evidence. He lay here now covered, stitched, heavily drugged, the residue of what was to have been a late night fun time on the glorious 4th of July.

Ed Rust’s voice is the only thing that disturbed the rhythm of the electronic beeps on the monitors. Dr. Scott said he could have a short time to talk to Mike. The purpose was obvious: “State the facts.”

Mike repeated as best he could the day’s events and how they came to be at the parking lot. He recounted how the car had pulled up earlier and sat next to them on Dee’s side for about a minute. He qualified that Dee was popular, and how when he asked if she knew this driver she just replied “Oh never mind.” Then the car pulled out. Mike now told Rust:

A white man drove up in a car, got out, walked up, shined flashlite [sic] inside and started shooting. Man was older than me, window was down. After stop shooting I got out of car. I tried to get people to come over but they drove off. After finally 10 minutes, the Policeman came.

Continued later . . . .

* * *
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 Game is Over–

— Almost . . .

This article came out a couple of weeks ago. I’ve largely glossed over it. But, as you can see, the race is on now.

ZODIAC DNA

You all deserve an update from me, however, regarding my own search since 2012. As for me, the hand printing is still being sought from several sources. It should be obtained within February, and then after appropriate analysis I will make the announcement here.

As for the official investigation, I know little. I have continued on my own, though some retired LE are now helping to trace hand printing for me. We will soon know without doubt that it is Steve. Lake_Berryessa_Suspec sketch

Whatever the DNA results are, investigation must still link the owner of the DNA with evidence in perpetration– which means hand printing examples must be acquired by law enforcement (I hope) before any public conclusion can be drawn. Even though DNA can identify a suspect, and pulling his driver’s license will show similar features to the composites, it still requires matching hand printing and, if SFPD is correct, to fingerprints lifted from Stine’s taxi cab. That alone is evidence in perpetration.  It is not illegal to lick a stamp. It is illegal to make the claims in the letters that ZODIAC made. And remember, he went out of his way to make sure there was no doubt that he, the letter-writer and the killer were one and the same by lettering the door of the Karman Ghia at Lake Berryessa. Lake_Berryessa_Car_door_at_crime_scene

I know there is crankery on the web that claims the letter-writer and the actual killer(s) are not connected, but that it utter rubbish. There was serious doubt all through the end of summer 1969 whether the letter-writer and the killer were one and the same, thanks largely to Vallejo Chief of Police Jack Stiltz. The ZODIAC knew this, and probably hadn’t foreseen such reluctance to accept his word. He rectified that at Lake Berryessa. The writing on the door proves that he the letter writing ZODIAC was one and the same as the killer.

Had it not been for his boasting nature, the crimes never would have been solved. But his hand printing first, then the stamp DNA (maybe) will give his legacy away.

If DNA tags my guy before I can dot the i’s and cross the t’s of hand printing, I will still go ahead with HorrorScope. It is finished anyway. It lays out the old style gumshoe approach to his identity– the connections to a draftsman, the design and building of Humble Oil, small game hunting, his tour in the Air Force, his Texas interlude, his illness and injury, how he knew of Deer Lodge Prison, his various stepfathers, and how he acquired a knowledge of radians, and much more.

* * *
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.

Quietly Unraveling The ZODIAC

I’m sorry once again that my blog has fallen silent for the most part on current cold case investigations. I know this is especially frustrating for those who have been waiting for HorrorScope, which I have delayed more than once.  You all have learned how I have contempt for books that advertise “Solved” when the contents are nothing more than a dangling accusation against yet another suspect (on whatever case the book may be based). That is not the purpose of HorrorScope.

I don’t really classify myself as a writer. I write about some of my real life investigations, and HorrorScope is the result of my investigation into uncovering the true identity of the most boastful slayer in history.

To update you, several avenues are being pursued right now to secure contemporary hand printing examples from my suspect, including help from former law enforcement and private eye’s. Other sources are being sought to locate him during February 1964 and June 1963, to see if he and therefore ZODIAC are truly a viable person of interest in these early double murders.

If the contemporary hand printing sample comes back a match, a sample will be released on Q Files and I will proceed from there with all that is required to present the case appropriately and also let law enforcement take the next steps for their own investigation.

Aside from that no more information will be released until everything is finalized. Thank you again for your patients.

* * *
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 San Diego

I am adding just a brief account of the double murder of Johnny Ray Swindle and his new wife Joyce on February 5, 1964, and since it is a last minute addition to HorrorScope I thought I’d share an early version of the treatment here with you. The case has had little written about it despite its similarity to the Gaviota slayings. There’s more than one reason for this, and I touch on both in HorrorScope. But for now, it is best to present the crime.

From the chapter “Southern Exposure” from HorrorScope by Gian J. Quasar.

The one dissimilarity is that Bobby and Linda were murdered on a Monday and during the day and not on the weekend at dusk or at nighttime. But 5 years is a long time. ZODIAC’s work circumstance could have changed. The general similarities remained— the killer was someone who knew the rural hangouts for young couples and saw that only Bobby’s car was in the parking space by the highway. There was even a military base nearby, like in Riverside, and this was Vandenberg Air Force Base.

An attack on a weekday seemed less significant when another double murder of a young couple popped up from the cold case files, this having been committed on Wednesday February 5, 1964, only 8 months after Domingos and Edwards had been murdered. This was a strange span. After ZODIAC’s first Vallejo strike, he had waited a similar time to strike again—7 months and 15 days. It too was along the coast in California.

There is a constant whoosh in your ears from the sizzle of the nearby sea and its breakers. Like all beach sections of San Diego, Ocean Beach is crowded but quiet and laidback, especially at this time of night. Old streets cross each other in a grid, crowded with bungalows, apartments, small houses, motels, and small shops, and all end at the beach. The boardwalk along the beach eventually wends around nearby cliffs. Here the boom and roll of the surf echoes up from the cement retaining wall of the boardwalk, up the cliffs to Narragansett Avenue. Ice plant covers the entire slope all the way to the silhouette of a wood railing and the back of a single traffic sign. The dark silhouette of apartments and homes can be seen flanking the street. By the wood railing a zig-zag concrete flight of stairs cuts its way down the slope, through the thick ice plant, to the boardwalk.

Against the cement retaining wall that holds back the breakers along the walk here, a loving couple snuggles. The young man is in his Navy jumper, the blonde girl in a leather jacket and plaid capris. By them on the ledge is a red heart-shaped Valentine candy box— an early gift for his beloved on this Wednesday night February 5, 1964.Swindle-scene12

Fifty feet up the ice plant covered slope behind them stands a man by the wooden railing and the traffic sign. It reads “Dead End.” The concrete stairway down begins here, but he does not take it. Instead he walks forward along the slope and watches the couple cuddle below. He walks down the slope several more feet. No one can see him from Narragansett now. Over his right shoulder in the distance the streetlamps of Ocean Beach are dull pearls in the night’s hazy moisture, strung out in crisscrossing lines. He raises a pistol in both hands and aims. The roar of the surf is his ally. There is no sound of death issuing forth.

The Navy man’s upper left back burns. The girl he cuddles collapses against him, her left upper back burning as well. Then his left thigh went tight and burned. Her left arm stung. His left ear stings painfully. Both collapse onto the “patio,” the name for this wide sightseeing section of the boardwalk. Swindle-scene4

The figure atop the slope strides down and stands over them. She is lying face down. He fires a round into the back of her head. The Navy man is on his left side, next to the wall, just under the Valentine’s candy box. The killer stands over him now and puts a bullet into his upper right temple. The killer rummages in his victim’s pocket and takes his wallet. He pockets his automatic pistol and walks away.
Hours later a neighbor, Ed Nelson, starts to walk down the cement steps. He sees the figures. Shadows in the dark, he thought they had been drinking and passed out. He approached with his flashlight shining on them and then saw, in the cold round beam of his flashlight, the pools of blood coming from them. The man was moaning inarticulacy. Ed Nelson rushed to get the police.

The girl was dead, but the man was rushed to the hospital where he died a few hours later.

The San Diego PD detectives quickly came to the conclusion that a “psychopathic killer” was responsible. Despite the missing wallet, the true motive was chalked up to thrill. They had solid reasons to come to this conclusion. The couple was Johnny Ray Swindle and his new wife Joyce. They had been childhood sweethearts in Jasper, Alabama. During furlough in January he went back and married her on January 18. They drove back out to San Diego and had been living here for only a week in a bun-galow 9 blocks away. They had no enemies. They were a quiet couple, but they had one habit. Joyce was fascinated by the sea, so each night they went for a stroll along the beach. Each night they passed the same hamburger stand, got coffee, and walked along the boardwalk. (Johnny had bought the Valentine Day box of candy at a local shop only 30 minutes before they had been shot.) Their schedule made them the perfect targets for a stalker who wanted to kill a couple. Without enemies there was no choice for the lead detective, O.J. Roed, but to conclude that a psychopath did this purely for thrill.

Johnny-Fresh
Johnny didn’t make is past freshman because he had to go to work to help support his family. 

 

 

The killer was obviously a good shot with good nighttime vision. He had used only a .22 caliber, but at only 50 feet up the slope it proved deadly. And he obviously went for the heart first and came close each time— both victims had a shot to their left back. The police had quickly found the 5 shining brass shells where he had stood; and two, of course, had been found by the bodies, where he killer had stood and delivered what the papers called the “coup de grace.”

Twenty five detectives swarmed the area looking for the weapon— the police assuming he must have ditched it somewhere in order to walk away and look casual. Navy divers combed the sea bottom of the nearby shore. Other detectives went door to door asking the neighbors to voluntarily surrender their .22 weapons for testing. About 40 weapons were tested. None matched.

From statements that detectives scoured the rooftops from a helicopter to see if the killer had thrown the weapon up on one, it is fairly easy to deduce that ballistics indicated a pistol had been used rather than a rifle. This obviously made sense given the context. No one is going to be able to walk around Ocean Beach with a rifle, even at night, and not stand out.

It wasn’t long before Santa Barbara Co. sheriff detectives arrived. There was immediate suspicion that the killer of Domingos and Edwards was responsible here. However, ballistics didn’t match—it was not the same .22 automatic that had gunned down Bobby and Linda. But it was the same type of gun.

No connection was ever made between the two slayings except for similar circumstances— a young couple at the beach, no motive, and a .22 caliber. But there are actually more similarities, especially if one adds into the equation ZODIAC’s first murders in Vallejo. The ZODIAC was an excellent night shooter who first used a .22 automatic pistol. When not challenged, ZODIAC was a utilitarian but not necessarily efficient killer. Similar to Johnny Ray’s killer, the ZODIAC left Faraday and Mageau to linger. When challenged, ZODIAC seemed to pour it on— he unloaded his magazine into Jensen’s back and Domingos/Edwards killer reloaded to give them “coup de grace,” but he calmly re-turned to shoot Ferrin and Mageau to make sure, where he had also not been challenged.

More of a connection would be made between ZODIAC and the Gaviota slayings because of events that would soon unfold. In 1972 Santa Barbara County Sheriff John Carpenter and detective Bill Baker held a TV news conference after Carpenter had issued a formal statement in which he declared that ZODIAC was responsible for the 1963 double murder of Robert Domingos and Linda Edwards. In this concisely written statement, Carpenter declared:

End outsert

* * *
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.

Lake Herman Road and the ZODIAC– 50 years later.

I’m not one for memorials. I think that like the rest of you we want the issue addressed, the perpetrator caught. But remembering David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen has more of a purpose than merely a memorial to 2 teens “sadistically gunned down” 50 years ago December 20, 1968. Knowledge of the details helps us to shed light on just what their killer was really like.

The ZODIAC’s image has become distorted in the years since he murdered them. He has grown to the level of comic strip arch villain. But the murder of these two young kids was anything like that of the great white hunter bagging his game, like he boasted about. He hardly had the guts to take on someone who was ready for him. He even boasted in one of his poison pen pal letters to the Chronicle that there was more glory in killing a cop because a cop could potentially shoot back. ZODIAC only had the guts, if that word can be used, to shoot full of holes unsuspecting teens at petting spots.LHR_-_Betty_Lou_Jensen_and_David_Faraday

Extracting 2 pages from my upcoming HorrorScope from Chapter 2 “Sadistically Gunned” may help to convey to the reader what the crime was really like and what kind of perp could really murder kids in the manner in which they were killed.

 

Extract Chapter 2 “Sadistically Gunned” by Gian J. Quasar from HorrorScope.

Next morning the lead detective, Sgt. Leslie Lundblad, stood at the gravel turnout. He looked somberly at the bloodstains and white chalk outlines. His features seemed tired, perhaps just resigned to the wave of pointless violence gripping the nation. Lundblad was the old school. His thin hair was salt and pepper. Wearing his dark trench coat and fedora, he was the image of a crime noir detective. But this wasn’t some mob hit scene or sordid gin hall murder. These were two kids. Now the shadows of their presence were large dark, putrid bloodstains, and the white chalk a hollow tracing of where kids died on their first date.

    Russell Butterbach, Lundblad’s partner, looked modern. The thin lapels and tight cut of his dark suit were entirely 1960s. The thin dark tie was perfectly drab and businesslike, a sliver over his white shirt. Hands in the pockets of his narrow pants, he looked about and his eyes pondered the morbid scene more logistically. Despite his gray temples, he was a young detective. Close cut hair and dark-rimmed glasses, he represented the establishment that was, at least locally, growing more and more worried about Haight and the hippies. detLun

    What was left today was only the residue of last night’s carnage. Cold winter sunlight vanquished the cloak of horror, but the black scars of blood trickling from the empty chalk frameworks strangely symbolized life drained away. The crisp breeze from Suisun Bay seemed careless as it gently blew away the chalk, slowly erasing the violation of the rustic innocence of pastoral winter.

  Amidst the klieg lights last night the crime scene was revealed to be full of clues. The Rambler’s doors were all locked except for the front passenger side door, which was found open when the police arrived. There were two bullet holes in the station wagon, both carefully placed in the rear of the vehicle. One had shattered the rear side window; the other was in the roof of the car just above the rim of the rear passenger side door. Ten shots had been fired in all. Eight shell casings peppered over a fairly tight area by the passenger side of the car. One was found on the passenger side floorboard of the front seat; another about 20 feet away from the car. The killer had used only a .22 caliber, a small game or target practice weapon.
     Neither Dave Faraday nor Betty Lou were wearing jackets. Coupled with the location of the shell casings it was thus quite easy to put back the chain of events.   DSC09834
    The petting couple’s attacker had fired a shot through the Rambler’s roof and then through the rear window to force them to come outside. He must have ordered them out the passenger side door. They opened it, letting the warm air rush out. Betty Lou was first out, naturally, then Dave slid over and got out. Facing them was their attacker, close up now pointing the gun at them while they trembled by the open door.
     A couple of clues indicate David challenged the attacker. His class ring was found between the tip of his ring and index finger, barely held into place by both fingers. He had a lump on his cheek, as if he had taken a punch. It seems likely that David, a lightweight wrestler at Vallejo High, had tried to wrestle the gun from his attacker. This is hardly surprising. With two bullet holes in his car, David Faraday must have known what awaited them. The position of his ring, just dangling there, indicates he had clutched and pulled around his assailant’s waist.
     Sadly, he hadn’t succeeded in his struggle. The killer had pulled him to the ground. David lay there on his back, arms locked around the hulk on top of him. The killer fired the .22 into his head. Faraday’s arms fell limp over his head.
     Nothing indicates Betty Lou had tried or had time to help David wrestle the attacker, but she had stood close by. Patches of blood sprinkled the gravel between where she lay and the bumper of the car, so it was easy to follow her trail. Perhaps before he was shot, David yelled at her to run. Perhaps the killer, angrily standing up after shooting Faraday, ordered her to run in order to juice his fun. In any case, she took off.

LHR_-_Crime_scene_at_day_with_car_as_Rambler_location_reference_2
Sheriff’s car parked in the turnout the day after.

     The killer started pumping bullets into her right away. A single grain of gunpowder had been found embedded in Jensen’s dress by one bullet hole, indicating it was the first bullet fired when she was close enough that a grain of powder could still reach her dress. This hadn’t dropped her. She continued to dash away. With each step she took, the killer squeezed the trigger again and again. He did not chase after her. The shell casings grouped by the car prove he had remained by David Faraday’s body.
     Within the trail of blood from the bumper to where she lay there was found one of the spent bullets. It had gone through her and fallen down as she ran. This bullet was only one of three bullets that had passed through her. One exited the left breast and left a hole in the front of her dress. Another ricocheted through her body and came out at her panty elastic and lodged in her underwear. The other, the one mentioned first, had come out her stomach and fell down into the “blood splattered” path.DSC00749
     In her final moments, she could not have been running anymore. She was found face down, with her feet facing west, the direction to which she had been running. The physics of momentum cannot be violated. If she had been running she would have fallen forward with her feet facing east. Thus at the end she was only staggering, still trying to escape; the killer still shooting her. She had been shot once through the heart. This must have been the last. She fell to her knees and slumped onto her side.
     This is not indulging in the macabre for the sake of it. These are clues to the character of the attacker. The killer got the boy out of the way quickly. The girl was then shot several times until she fell. He watched, coldly enjoying shooting her as she had fought bitterly to escape, shooting repeatedly, from the beginning to the very end.

DSC09831
No one in Vallejo or Benicia has forgotten. Driving along the quiet rural Lake Herman Road, it is easy to find the turnout where it all began

When pursuing the case of the ‘Zodiac’ Killer one must keep focused on the real villain and not the comic strip alter ego he created in print. He was a pudgy, festering madman who loved to boast of his crimes even more than committing them.

* * *
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.