Exactly one month after the double shooting, the murderer mailed the 'Debut of Zodiac' letter to the San Francisco Examiner, received on August 4th 1969. It is in this introductory letter that the killer may have inadvertently revealed the area in which he lived. Many may not share my optimism, but any assistance anybody can offer in terms of material or research regarding this matter would be greatly appreciated. I am looking for 1969 land registry records, phone books or directories, that contain names and addresses of individuals who lived in a 10-15 minute walking radius of the payphone at the Springs and Tuolumne intersection.
This is what the Zodiac Killer stated in the 'Debut of Zodiac' letter:
"I did not leave the cene of the killing with squealling tires + raceing engine as described in the Vallejo paper. I drove away quite slowly so as not to draw attention to my car. The man who told police that my car was brown was a negro about 40-45 rather shabbly dressed. I was in this phone booth having some fun with the Vallejo cop when he was walking by. When I hung the phone up the damn thing began to ring & that drew his attention to me + my car."
After Michael Mageau had been shot he recalled exiting Darlene Ferrin's brown Corvair and lying alongside the vehicle, giving a rudimentary description of the assailant's vehicle as it pulled out of the parking lot at Blue Rock Springs. The killer adamantly denied leaving the scene "with squealling tires + raceing engine as described in the Vallejo paper," insisting he didn't want to draw attention to his vehicle, in direct contrast to the message the letter appeared to be pushing by the payphone.
On leaving the crime scene, he was now in possession of the 'smoking gun', and the wise choice may well have been to offload his weapon and vehicle at his residence and walk to the payphone, carrying much less risk. He knew Mageau or Ferrin would unlikely be able to give a description, on account of the tactics he employed, in particular the flashlight he used to blind the victims, however his vehicle was not afforded the same protection as he exited the parking lot, something he was infinitely aware of. He seemed confident in his phone call that he was reporting a "double murder," but whether or not he contemplated that Michael Mageau may still alive, and this was just the statement of a braggart, is open to question.
Whether the police had identified a negro male eyewitness or not, it appeared that Zodiac wanted to capitalize on the fact he was spotted, by going into unnecessary detail on the man's age and attire: "The man who told police that my car was brown was a negro about 40-45 rather shabbly dressed." Having effectively agreed that his vehicle was brown, he went on to highlight his vehicle once more: "When I hung the phone up the damn thing began to ring & that drew his attention to me + my car." The Zodiac Killer seemed intent on corroborating the description of his vehicle by Michael Mageau, by backing it up with the negro male eyewitness, who saw exactly the same color of vehicle. This is particularly helpful on behalf of the killer, unless of course he was pushing a false narrative, in that the negro male eyewitness didn't exist and his vehicle wasn't brown. In addition the phrase "When I hung the phone up the damn thing began to ring & that drew his attention to me + my car," is particularly telling, unnecessarily adding "my car" at the end. We already know he had a vehicle, the negro male had apparently identified it as brown. The superfluous addition of this content may very well be deliberate, to convince the reader the killer had pulled up to the Springs and Tuolumne payphone after the double shooting and placed the phone call with his vehicle in tow, when in fact he was on foot. We know he didn't drive directly to the payphone, because the payphone is situated only 10 minutes from the Blue Rock Springs parking lot, yet the phone call was logged 40 minutes after the attack.
A killer choosing to drive from Blue Rock Springs Park to somewhere within a 10-15 minute walking radius of the payphone would take 10 minutes. With 15 minutes to park his vehicle, change his attire, conceal his weapon and ready himself, would leave approximately 15 minutes to walk to the payphone with his imaginary "brown car" in tow and make the phone call to police dispatcher Nancy Slover.
The premise of 10-15 minutes walking time is based on the killer applying a 'buffer zone' to his residence. He clearly didn't want to place a call in extremely close proximity to where he lived, but would also be constrained by his wanting to return to his residence in reasonable time after placing the call. Hence the estimate of 10-15 minutes as a starting point.
After the Lake Herman Road murders it was intimated by Officer Pierre Bidou that a crank call was received shortly after the killings, referring to a 'car accident' along that particular stretch of road. Had this been the Zodiac Killer, it would had to have been placed just prior to the official police message called in by Captain Daniel Pitta shortly after 11.25 pm. If the killer of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen had again placed the phone call at the Springs and Tuolumne intersection, then this 10-12 minute journey would have him leaving the turnout at the correct time based on the eyewitness accounts that night. However, by making this phone call before returning home, could have been indicative of a man confident he left no victims alive in this case, in contrast to Michael Mageau, who had extricated himself from the vehicle. This would certainly elevate the payphone's significance as a common denominator over the first two Zodiac crimes, and dispel the idea the Zodiac waited 6 1/2 months before contacting the police, if it were true.
His compass directions from the Springs and Tuolumne payphone and/or the police station also showed familiarity with his location at this intersection. He knew the Blue Rock Springs parking lot was east of his location, situated alongside Columbus Parkway. This is what he actually said to police dispatcher Nancy Slover, with the all important pause or comma inserted into the dialogue, that changes the whole context of the phone call:
"I wish to report a double murder. If you will go one mile east...... on Columbus Parkway to a public park, you will find the kids in a brown car. They have been shot by a 9 mm Luger. I also killed those kids last year.... Good-bye."
Unless the killer had prepared in advance by looking at a map, his directional knowledge of his immediate surroundings only 40 minutes after the attack was correct. Had he driven to a location unknown to him, the likelihood of him knowing his relative position to the crime scene using compass markers would be highly unlikely. Additionally, his targeting of lone courting couples, may also suggest an intrinsic knowledge of his hunting ground.
There appears little or no benefit in making an incriminating phone call, claiming four murders, from a payphone only 10 minutes from the crime scene, when the killer could have been 40 minutes away at this point, placing the call in a region of relative security. The fact that he traveled so little distance in 40 minutes, meant he did something else for a large percentage of this time and may well imply a connection to the area.
Cross-referencing names of residents (within the 15 minute walking radius) in 1969, with ancestry records, may turn up individuals who previously resided in Riverside in 1966 during the murder of Cheri Jo Bates on October 30th, or possibly other key locations. If anybody can provide assistance in this search it would be greatly appreciated.