Some have questioned the Zodiac Killer's inability to name Blue Rock Springs during the first phone call, as an indication of his lack of knowledge of the area, yet his directional sense in the first three letters he mailed to the newspapers and the directions he issued in the Blue Rock Springs phone call, were in essence correct. The caller after BRS spoke the following words in a monotone, rehearsed fashion, "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"
Many Zodiac enthusiasts and police officials have questioned the directional accuracy of the Zodiac phone call. Read or heard without breaks, give the impression that the directions given by Zodiac are incorrect, however despite his distances being off slightly, simply adding a comma or pause, changes the whole meaning of the phone call. Nancy Slover, the police dispatcher, attempted to talk over Zodiac to acquire details and in addition had to recall the phone conversation word for word, in context, at a later time, so we can assume it may not have been the original message verbatim.
Let us add the breaks or pauses into the passage, and other than 'one mile east', which should be 2 miles east from the payphone (see here), the rest is pretty much correct. "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." The Zodiac was either not a master of the English language or toyed with authorities, so unless Nancy Slover recalled the message slightly incorrectly, then ideally the phrase should have read "on Columbus Parkway 'by' a public park, you will find the kids in a brown car."
Considering Zodiac's compass accuracy at Lake Herman Road and Presidio Heights (Bus Bomb letter), it is highly doubtful he was was suggesting Blue Rock Springs Park was east on Columbus Parkway and the likely answer can be found in a misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the phone call under stressful conditions.
Having prior knowledge of Lake Herman Road and Blue Rock Springs Park as a magnet for courting couples, apparently suggests a connection with the area, and while that may be true, it may be a historical one and not applicable to his current residency.
The phone call itself however, is confounding, relayed to Nancy Slover, the police dispatcher at 12.40 am, 40 minutes after the Zodiac left the crime scene, despite the journey time to Springs and Tuolumne being only 10 minutes by car. The police departments located in Vallejo in 1969 and early 1970, were situated extremely close to where the Zodiac Killer placed the call at Springs and Tuolumne. The Sheriff's Office was located at the junction of Virginia and Tuolumne Streets, and the Vallejo Police Department at 111 Amador Street, so if the Zodiac was giving directions in relation to these, then the journey is still east to Columbus Parkway. See here, albeit marginally over 2 miles.
The Zodiac Killer could have made this phone call from anywhere, but decided to place himself only 667 meters from the Sheriff's Office, only 0.5 miles or one minute journey time by police car. Evidently a strange choice, unless your sheer bravado outweighs your fear of capture. Ironically, the Springs and Tuolumne payphone exactly bisected in distance the Sheriff's Office and the home of Arthur Leigh Allen at 32 Fresno Street, which sat 667 meters away.
The choice of payphone could be argued as a reason for the Zodiac not being a Vallejo resident, at least not recently, as he appeared unaware of a police station only yards from the intersection of Springs and Tuolumne. Or that he didn't do his homework. One can't help thinking that this payphone was chosen for a reason.
His claim in the 'Debut of Zodiac' letter, "When I hung the phone up the damn thing began to ring & that drew his attention to me + my car," may have been phrased in such a way as to not suggest he was on foot and had a residence nearby, deliberately tagging 'my car' to the end of the sentence, when totally unnecessary. Again this could bring our focus back to Vallejo.
The Zodiac Killer throughout his correspondence enjoyed needling the police, "Hey pig doesnt it rile you up to have your noze rubed in your booboos?
Curiously though, he missed the perfect opportunity, to not only embarass the police, but to make them public enemy number one, that would have likely surpassed all his other 'achievements'.
On July 17th 1969, only 13 days after the Blue Rock Springs murder, an almost unprecedented event occurred, when police and firefighters simultaneously went on a five day strike in Vallejo, the city's streets patroled by a skeleton crew of non union police. This seemed tailor made for a killer, who apparently kept up with current affairs and read the local newspapers for articles about himself. Bearing in mind Zodiac's first two attacks were on a Friday, here he was presented with Thursday through to Tuesday to stalk the dark streets almost unchallenged. Imagine the backlash toward police had he claimed a fourth or fifth victim during this period.
Was the killer closely allied with Vallejo, did he track the papers religiously or was he simply on holiday, returning fourteen days later to mail his first three letters on July 31st 1969. Either way it seemed a missed chance to taunt the police.
To read the article '1969 Strike- A scary 5 days for Vallejo' click here.