Initial statements can become elaborated upon in time, so we will take Michael Mageau's early description of his assailant where he described him as short, possibly 5'8'', heavy set, with a beefy build, but not blubbery fat of around 195-200 lbs and had short curly hair in a military style cut, combed up in a kind of pompadour, light brown almost blond. He was between 26-30 years of age and was not wearing glasses, but made emphasis to the fact that he could not recall anything unusual about his assailant other than he had a large face.
Plus the mugshot, with applied glasses bears a striking similarity to the famous Zodiac composite sketch.
The brutal stabbings at Lake Berryessa, were the only time the killer engaged in any known protracted dialogue with his victims and therefore created the scenario, whereby the murderer may unwittingly reveal key elements to his identity, during his close interaction with surviving victim Bryan Hartnell.
During his conversation with Bryan Hartnell the killer stated, " I just got out of" ......some prison in Montana". Later in an interview with Sgt John Robertson at the Queen of the Valley Hospital, just one day after the attack Bryan Hartnell tried to recall the name of the prison, "its some double name, like Fern Lock or something" and when aided by Sgt John Robertson saying " Its Lodge, Hartnell replied "Oh yeah,yeah at least we Know we're together on that" , to which the police sergeant said "Mountain Lodge Prison, or something of that nature" and Hartnell said "Yeah.You know he broke out and had to kill a guard getting out".
On December 17th 1968 aged 32 years, Donald Lee Bujok was released from Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge Valley approximately 3 and one half miles from the town of Deer Lodge, after serving 11 years for the slaying of Undersheriff Otto Fossen, and was this the moment in the dialogue with Bryan Hartnell that the impenetrable Zodiac killer became human for just a brief moment in time, to possibly reveal clues to his identity for so long promised in his complex ciphers and later correspondence with police, that always failed to materialize.
A later transcript of Bryan Hartnell's conversation with the Zodiac stated that the assailant said , "I'm on my way to Mexico, I escaped from Deer Lodge Prison in Montana, Deer Lodge. I need some money to get there".
Bryan Hartnell described his attacker as having brown hair, 225-250 lbs in weight and 5'8'' - 6'00'''' in height, but admitted he was a bad judge of height because he was so tall, nevertheless was similar to the description given by Michael Mageau.
Cecelia Shepard who was still conscious when Deputy Dave Collins arrived on the scene was told by Shepard that her assailant was "just may'be a little taller than you, may'be an inch". Deputy Collins was 5'10''.
At that particular time records held by Kevin Robert Brooks had Bujok at 5'10'', although his driving license records also held states 5'11'' , plus at the time of the attack Bujok weighed 225 lbs.
Hartnell also added that the man spoke with a drawl, a form of slow drawn out speech pattern, and later during the interview described the man's voice as a unique way of talking. Kevin Robert Brooks highlighted the fact that Donald Lee Bujok suffered from a pronounced speech impediment, he gained control of in time by speaking in a slow monotone form, which could be construed as a drawl.
The police dispatcher who took the call in the early hours of July 5th 1969 was 26 year old Nancy Slover, who described the voice as mature, without accent, who spoke even but consistent, soft but forceful, as if reading from a script. But possibly the killer may have been speaking the way he always did, applying control, in the monotone fashion, that was now as natural to him as the murderous rampage he had embarked upon.
These are the questions Kevin Robert Brooks has wrangled with in his conviction and search for the truth behind California's most hidden evil, and despite all the correspondence, cryptograms and cat and mouse games employed by the man labeling himself the Zodiac Killer, could the answer simply lie somewhere three and a half miles west of Deer Lodge, that fell from the mouth of a killer one fateful September afternoon.