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  • Writer's pictureAcademic Warriors

Zodiac Killer by River Staggs (Age: 13)

The Zodiac Killer murdered at least five people during the late 1960s and early 1970s but authorities believe he may have killed as many as 30 people. Except for the murder of a lone taxi driver, all his documented attacks targeted couples.The first cipher Zodiac sent to newspapers was quickly solved (also by amateur cryptologists) but the “340 Cipher” eluded the efforts of the world’s best mathematicians, detectives and cryptologists.

Though true crime fans had hoped the solved cipher would contain enough information to identify the killer, it hasn’t happened yet. So for the time being the Zodiac’s identity remains a mystery.

It was the killer — not law enforcement or the press — who created the name Zodiac. After his second known double murder attempt, he phoned police to report the killing and to take credit for a previous attack the year before. He also sent dozens of letters to California news outlets and signed them with a symbol that resembles the crosshairs of a gun.

Not only did Zodiac demand his letters be published to avoid future deaths, but he also expressed his anger that Zodiac buttons had not been printed for people to wear. At the time, such buttons were popular and Californians could often be seen wearing peace buttons.

Zodiac shot Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau at an isolated Vallejo park on July 4, 1969. The young waitress died at the scene but Michael lived and was able to give key details to police.

A year later Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were relaxing at Lake Berryessa when the Zodiac struck again. Though he penned the dates of their deaths on Bryan’s white VW, Hartnell did not succumb to multiple stab wounds. When he recovered, he recounted his conversation with Zodiac and was able to describe what the murderer wore.

Oddly enough, David Faraday, believed to be Zodiac’s first male victim in 1968, also survived until the crime was discovered but later died. His female companion died of gunshot wounds at the scene. The Zodiac Killer has never been found or figured out his identity he is still on the loose.Right now he should be in his 80s .

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