Bill Baker, a now retired Santa Barbara detective thought that the early murders of Robert Domingos (18) and Linda Edwards (17) on June 4th 1963 carried many of the hallmarks of the now notorious Zodiac Killer, who terrorized part of Northern California in the late 60's and early 70's.
Fifty three years ago a couple were brutally gunned down while fleeing for their lives from a remote beach near Tajiguas Creek in Santa Barbara County, south of Goleta State Park, and situated next to Highway 101, approximately a five hour drive from Vallejo, California.
The couple were Robert Domingos (18) and Linda Edwards (17), who had on Senior Ditch Day June 4th 1963 decided to go sunbathing on a remote beach, accessed via a decline trail off the main highway, where they left their 1957 Pontiac. The young couple were struck numerous times in the back. Robert Domingos was hit eleven times, while Linda Edwards was targeted eight times.
It was a sunny afternoon when the killer approached the couple armed with what was thought to be a .22 caliber long rifle, a weapon ideal for target shooting with minimum recoil.
It is speculated that Robert Domingos may have had a brief altercation with the assailant due to some bruising on his face at autopsy, whatever the case, at some point the young couple were forced to run for their lives, unfortunately it was a brief bid for freedom as they were cut down by a succession of bullets. It is believed the killer then approached the position they fell and finished his cold blooded execution of the defenseless couple.
For reasons known only to the killer he then proceeded to drag the bodies to a nearby shack, where he placed Linda's body on top of Robert's, cutting open her bathing suit with a knife to reveal her breasts. It is then thought the killer attempted to set fire to a tarpaulin covering on the door of the shack, testified by the presence of scorch marks, however this has not been confirmed. The evidence in this crime was carelessly left at the scene, that included spent and unspent ammunition found inside the shack.
Interesting though was the unspent ammunition, .22 Caliber Western Super X long rifle. The murders of Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday on December 20th 1968 with a .22 caliber weapon, exalted by the Zodiac Killer in the San Francisco Chronicle letter on July 31st 1969, declared the use of Western Super X in his first confirmed contact with authorities. The unused ammunition boxes in the Domingos/Edwards murders had a lot number, sold locally, although not exclusively at the nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base approximately 10 miles north of Lompoc, California, but crucially they were devoid of price tags, suggesting that they were possibly part of a larger consignment. The military connection is interesting bearing in mind the attack at Lake Berryessa on September 27th 1969 (Wing Walkers) along with the Zodiac Killers perceived fascination with astrology/astronomy, as the Vandenberg Air Force Base had manned spaceflight ambitions.
The Halloween Card sent by the Zodiac Killer on October 27th 1970 featured an Apollo 8 stamp on the envelope, commemorating the launch of three astronauts into space on December 21st 1968, the day after the first known victims of the Zodiac Killer were realized at Lake Herman Road.
The murders of Robert Domingos and Linda Edwards have not widely been confirmed as Zodiac Killer victims, probably due to the time period and location, but some similarities exist between this case and the Zodiac Killer attack at Lake Berryessa, in both instances a lone couple callously murdered, near a beach used by fishermen, Linda Edwards had been exposed, but no evidence of rape existed, reports of pre-cut lengths of rope discovered by the shack were circulated, the murderer was likely in possession of a knife, used to cut the bathing suit and the military connection was a real possibility. The murders of John Franklin Hood (24) and Sandra Garcia (20) on Saturday 21st February 1970, approximately 28 miles south, near Santa Barbara Cemetery also showed similar hallmarks to the above cases.
It is possible these murders, along with the Cheri Jo Bates murder were early Zodiac crimes, despite the fact no hard evidence ties either crime to each other or to the confirmed Zodiac murders that began on December 20th 1968. That being said, the Zodiac killer may have twice previously indicated that the Lake Herman Road double murder may not have been his first heinous crime, stating on the Los Angeles Times Letter mailed March 13th 1971 "I do have to give them credit for stumbling across my riverside activity, but they are only finding the easy ones, there are a hell of a lot more down there." and on the typed Confession Letter mailed November 29th 1966 he boasted; "She is not the first and will not be the last."
Extra reading on the murders of Robert Domingos and Linda Edwards.
To view five interesting videos, extensively covering the Domingos/Edwards case click here.
Lindsay Cutshall (22) and her fiancee Jason Allen (26) were intending to rent a room at a local motel, called River's End in Jenner, California [see area on Google maps], but after failing to do so, headed for the nearby Fish Head Beach, a decision that would prove deadly. Their bodies were eventually discovered on August 18th 2004.
When the crime surfaced, it was believed they were executed as they slept in their sleeping bags, with a shot to the head, either late night August 16th or early morning on the 17th.
Both victims were slain with a .45 caliber Marlin rifle, but no shell casings were retrieved from the scene suggesting the killer cleaned up after the double murder, furthermore, it appeared a motiveless crime, as neither of the victims had been sexually assaulted or robbed. Sanoma County detectives ruled out the robbery aspect as a motive, as their belongings, as well as their red 1993 Ford Tempo remained in situ.
Other murders became linked to the Jenner murders, notably Brandon Rumbaugh (20) and Lisa Gurrieri (19), who were shot to death in their sleeping bags, while camping in Yavapai County, Arizona on October 19th 2003 and Stevan Haugen (54) and his girlfriend Jeanette Bauman (56) who were discovered at a remote campground close to Oakridge, Oregon on July 1st 2005, both had been shot, along with Haugen's dog. Similarities existed between all the cases, in that no sexual interference was apparent, robbery was not the motive, the couples were killed while in sleeping bags in remote areas and the weapon of choice was a high caliber rifle.
The Zodiac Killer has even been suggested for the 2004 Jenner murders, despite the fact nothing concrete ties him to any crime since the Paul Stine murder in Presidio Heights on October 11th 1969, nearly 35 years previously.
But in an intriguing development to the Jenner case, was the release of information by Sanoma County detectives in 2006, that poems had been discovered near the crime scene along with drawings of devil-like faces, inked into nearby driftwood. Messages of interest, written within the pages of an informal visitors journal also peaked their interest. There was also an empty bottle of Camo 40 beer and a black and white hat found on Highway 1, directly above the beach location. However to this day, the murders remain unsolved.
The entries of interest in the journal are:
ENTRY 1- Salutation from – "Friendly neighborhood Spiderman friend & sidekick!"
ENTRY 2- Another salutation from, "your friendly neighbor hood friend, Spiderman, 7/25/04" With a response, "Ha Ha Ha Spiderman, A, 8/12 A+, the Drifting Inn"
ENTRY 3- Contains a unique signature in the top right corner followed by writing: "Chrissie" from "Auburn 7/10/04"
ENTRY 4- A rhyme mentioning Santa Claus, leprechauns, and the tooth fairy.
ENTRY 5- Dated 8/4/04 and signed by the letter "R" . It begins with the following: "At the Driftwood Inn, alone again, outside of myself and placid as hell…" View segment
Extra reading on the Lindsay Cutshall and Jason Allen murders
1963 June 4th-Domingos/Edwards Murders
1966 October 30th-The Cheri Jo Bates Murder
1966 November 29th -The Confession Letter
1966 December- Riverside Desktop Poem
1967 April 30th- Bates Had to Die Letter
1968 December 20th- Lake Herman Murders
1969 July 4th-The Blue Rock Springs Attack
1969 July 31st- Vallejo Times Herald Letter and 408 Cipher Page1 (solved)
1969 July 31st- Examiner Letter and
408 Cipher Page 2 (solved)
1969 July 31st - Chronicle Letter and
408 Cipher Page 3 (solved)
1969 July 31st-The Complete 408 Cipher
1969 August 4th- Debut of Zodiac Letter
1969 September 27th- Lake Berryessa Attack
1969 October 11th- Presidio Heights Murder
1969 October 13th-The Paul Stine Letters
1969 October 22nd-Call to Chat Show
1969 November 8th- Dripping Pen Card and
340 Cipher (unsolved)
1969 November 9th-The Bus Bomb Letter
1969 November 28th- Betsy Aardsma Murder
1969 December 16th-The Fairfield Letter
1969 December 20th-The Melvin Belli Letter
1970 Feb 21st- The Hood and Garcia Murders
1970 March 22nd-The Modesto Attack
1970 April 20th-"My Name is" Letter,
Cipher 3 (unsolved) and Bus Bomb Diagram
1970 April 28th-The Dragon Card
1970 June 26th-The Button Letter
Cipher 4 (unsolved) and Map
1970 July 4th-The Sleeping Bag Murders
1970 July 24th-The Kathleen Johns Letter
1970 July 26th-The Little List Letter
1970 Sept 6th-The Donna Lass Disappearance
1970 October 5th-13 Hole Postcard
1970 October 27th-The Halloween Card
1971 March 13th-The Los Angeles Letter
1971 March 22nd-The Pines Card
1974 January 29th-The Exorcist Letter
1974 February 14th-The SLA Letter
1974 May 8th-The Citizen Card
1974 July 8th-The Red Phantom Letter
1974 December 27th- Christmas Card
1978 April 24th-The 1978 Letter
1987 October 28th- The 1987 Letter
1990 December-American Greetings Card
13 Hole Postcard
Arthur Leigh Allen
Blue Rock Springs Attack
Bus Bomb Letter
Cheri Jo Bates
Debut Of Zodiac Letter
Donald Lee Bujok
Dr David Van Nuys
Earl Van Best Jr
General News Articles
Gilbert And Sullivan
Kevin Robert Brooks
Lake Berryessa Attack
Lake Herman Road Murders
Lake Tahoe Disappearance
Los Angeles Letter
Melvin Belli Letter
Mike Morford (Morf13)
My Name Is Letter
Possible Zodiac Attacks
Possible Zodiac Letters
Post An Article Here
Presidio Heights Murder
Tamalpais Valley Attack
Telegraph Avenue Incident
The 340 Cipher
The 408 Cipher
The Little List
Zodiac Letters Poll