The Zodiac Killer, having created terror in Benicia and Vallejo - and having sent four communications to date - noticed that the Snoozy & Furlong murders received front page coverage, while he received inner-page status. Is it really any surprise that the Zodiac Killer reappeared on the shores of Lake Berryessa on September 27th 1969, armed with a large knife and wearing an ominous executioner's costume. Dr. John E. Hauser, Santa Clara county's chief medical examiner and coroner, stated of the Snoozy & Furlong murders "I've never seen a case with this many stab wounds. You know, I've been in this profession a long time and sometimes I think I'm rather callous, but when I saw these girls, believe me it was terrifying. The Nazi sex mutilations during World War II were nothing compared to what was done to these young girls". The Zodiac Killer had to perform an attack that would shock, so it's not difficult to understand why he ramped up the terror in the manner he did, knowing that a close-quarter attack should secure him the front page coverage he felt he warranted. After the attack on Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard, the Zodiac Killer traveled back up the hill and wrote "Vallejo 12-20-68, 7-4-69, Sept 27-69 - 6:30. by knife" on the car door of the young couples' vehicle. The addition of "by knife" was effectively saying to law enforcement "I've now killed with a knife, do I now get front page coverage like the San Jose murders". The plan worked perfectly, because the Lake Berryessa attack had the added advantage of him being linked to the murders of Kathie Snoozy and Debra Furlong. Something he would capitalize on in the Dripping Pen card on November 8th 1969, when he upped his victim count to seven and added the month of August to his chronological list of murder months.
On December 16th 1969, the Zodiac Killer mailed a letter from Fairfield to the newspapers, threatening to kill 38 cops by targeting 9 in Sacramento, 8 in Oakland, 8 in Napa, 6 in Vallejo, 3 in Fairfield, 3 in San Francisco and 1 in San Jose. The Zodiac Killer would include San Jose once again. This letter was withheld from the newspapers, making it fairly obvious that the person who rang the San Jose Highway Patrol on December 19th 1969, was the same person who authored this letter.
On December 19th 1969, the Zodiac Killer again threatened multiple cops, making a phone call to Sergeant Robert Rengsdorff of the San Jose Highway Patrol, stating "I am going to kill five of you officers and a family of five between now and Monday". The Zodiac Killer had made a list of cops he wanted to kill on December 16th 1969, but would up his San Jose total from one to five on December 19th 1969, adding that he also wanted to kill a family of five in San Jose (which is very specific}. This is where the San Francisco Chronicle article from August 6th 1969 comes into play. The article heavily featured Glen Furlong, who spoke about his daughter and the unsettling phone calls he was receiving. The article also mentioned his wife and their three children, by stating "The other Furlong children are Glen, 16; Floyd, 12, and Pamela, 11". This was almost certainly the family of five the Zodiac Killer was referring to, staying relevant in San Jose, and keeping with tradition by never referring to his victims or potential victims by name. As stated earlier, the relevance of the San Francisco Chronicle article would again resurface on July 13th 1971.
The Zodiac Killer, having invested nearly two years linking himself to the Snoozy & Furlong murders, could now abandon his connection to the two young teenagers, or continue the facade, and now claim all three murders, which included Kathy Bilek. It was either all three, or none at all. His choice became apparent when the 148 character cipher included in his 1971 letter was deciphered. It read "T(h)is (is) the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on the front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin". The Zodiac Killer was urging investigators not to listen to Karl Francis Werner, referring to him as a "phony". Bearing in mind the newspaper headlines of "San Jose Student Held in Slaying of 3 Girls", it wasn't a surprise the Zodiac Killer was threatening to further "skin 3 little kids", adding in his letter that he would "send a patch of human skin if their was some left over". All three girls in San Jose and Saratoga were stabbed in excess of 100 times, so it doesn't require much imagination to understand the notion of little skin being left over. However, the story doesn't end there. The Zodiac Killer now had to add Kathy Bilek to his ever-increasing victim total.
THE HEADLINES THAT INSPIRED THE 340 AND 148 CHARACTER CIPHERS