Ten years ago Mike Morford released an image of a letter mailed in Sacramento to the editor of the Sacramento Bee newspaper on June 8th 1977 (see below), demanding the release of several prisoners under the threat of murder. The author produced a comprehensive list of politicians, actors and actresses that they promised to kill, including Steve McQueen, Burt Reynolds, Jimmy Carter, Jackie Kennedy and Jaclyn Smith. This letter was discussed on the Tapatalk forum regarding its viability as a Zodiac Killer communication. The letter (on lined paper) appeared similar to the December 16th 1969 Fairfield letter, which also gave us an extensive kill list, with both letters beginning with similar phraseology of "to tell the people" and "I just want to tell you". There is limited information to be gleaned from looking at the June 8th 1977 letter in order to consider it's authenticity or otherwise, but there may be something else that occurred in early 1977 that mirrors this communication.
On February 11th 1977, an anonymous letter was received at Folsom Prison threatening to kill the driver and children on a school bus if two inmates were not let out of prison. Folsom State Prison is approximately 20 miles northeast of the state capital of Sacramento, from where the June 8th 1977 was mailed. Both letters demanded the release of prisoners, but the earlier letter "received by prison officials Friday, said the driver and children on the Folsom-Cordova Unified School District bus would be killed unless two inmates were let out. The prisoners are Pancho Agila, who was placed in special confinement Jan.28 on suspicion of escape, and Jerry Pena, who was segregated Jan.30 on suspicion of possessing a weapon and narcotics". Whether the Zodiac Killer mailed the February 11th 1977 and/or June 8th 1977 letters is unknown, but we certainly know he had a history of threatening schoolchildren and school buses in numerous communications to Bay Area newspapers.
You may be wondering why the Zodiac Killer mailed the April 24th 1978 letter with the statement "I am waiting for a good movie about me" - and then possibly - followed this up with a mailing on May 2nd 1978 to KHJ-TV Studios in Los Angeles, writing "Hey-you actors-this is your lucky Break. Remember-whoever plays me has his work cut out for him". We know that most Zodiac Killer correspondence had purpose, by taking something he had read in the newspapers and incorporating it into his letters. The year 1978 was a special occasion for the Oscars because it was celebrating its 50th Academy Awards ceremony at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles on April 3rd 1978. The Dorothy Chandler Pavillion at North Grand Avenue was situated 4.5 miles from the KHJ-TV Studios at 5615 Melrose Avenue Three and four weeks later, the two above communications arrived mentioning "actors" and "movies", with the second letter addressed to Los Angeles.
Debby Boone became a household name with her 1977 hit song "You Light Up My Life", which spent 10 weeks at No 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song won the Oscar for Best Original Song, which she performed at the 1978 Academy Awards ceremony. Debby Boone was the daughter of actor-singer Pat Boone, who was threatened as a third target by the "Zodiac Killer" in the May 2nd 1978 letter, when he wrote "Pat Boone-his theocratic crap is an obscenity to the rest of the world". Pat Boone was present at the awards ceremony. Therefore, we can connect "actor" Pat Boone in the letter, to the Academy Awards ceremony of "actors", through his daughter. But why would the "Zodiac Killer" choose KHJ-TV Studios to mail his correspondence?
Wayne Thomas joined KHJ-TV Studios as an announcer in 1959 and served for 27 years. He created a show on the eve of the Oscars called "Your Choice for the Oscars", in which public polling decided upon the nominations in six categories. On the eve of the 50th Academy Awards ceremony, the predicted awards by KHJ-TV were John Travolta, Jane Fonda, Star Wars, Melinds Dillon, Alec Guiness and the song "You Light Up My Life" (sung at the ceremony by Debby Boone). This now binds Pat Boone, KHJ-TV and the Oscars into one neat bundle. So it's no surprise that the "Zodiac Killer" wanted to know which actor was going to play him in a movie a few weeks later, hinting at the Academy Awards and stating "I have decided to start killing again-please hold the applause". Two months prior to the May 2nd 1978 letter, in which the "Zodiac Killer" targeted "Ex Chief piggy Ed Davis" as his second potential victim, the once Los Angeles police chief (turned politician) spoke with KHJ-TV interviewers Ann Kesner and Nathan Roberts about his reputation as "the marshal from Dodge City who will make this a safe state".
On October 14/15th somebody claiming to be the Zodiac Killer phoned either the Santa Rosa Police Department or the Press Democrat newspaper, and stated "I am the Zodiac and I am going to blow up a school bus and kill kids in Santa Rosa". This phone call was reported to have been made prior to the newspaper release of the threat made in the October 13th 1969 Zodiac letter of "school children make nice targets, I think I shall wipe out a school bus some morning. Just shoot out the front tire + then pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out". The Santa Rosa phone call threatening to bomb a school bus was issued at least 25 days prior to the perceived first threat on school buses, when the Zodiac Killer mailed the Bus Bomb letter on November 9th 1969. The realistic conclusion being that the Santa Rosa caller was the Zodiac Killer. On October 17th 1969, a female school bus driver believed somebody had fired a shot at her vehicle during the morning run.
On October 22nd 1969, a few hours after the Jim Dunbar Show featured an imitation "Zodiac", somebody mailed a communication from Santa Rosa threatening that a school child there would become his next victim. The brief note was mistakenly delivered to KRON-TV news and read out on air on October 23rd 1969, before being turned over to San Francisco authorities. The note was declared a prank by Chief Melvin "Dutch" Flohr. While this is possible, other communications have been declared hoaxes by authorities, despite subsequently being shown to be genuine Zodiac offerings. It's practically impossible to make any determination about this note with the limited information available, but I thought it was important to present a fuller picture of "Zodiac" activity during this hectic period.
The Zodiac Killer, his double postage, and the inspiration behind his communications has long been a discussion point in the Zodiac community. On October 22nd 1938, Chester Floyd Carlson made a major breakthrough when he developed the first ever xerographic copy of the handwritten message 10-22-38 ASTORIA, that paved the way to the multi-million dollar industry of photocopying that we are familiar with today. United States Public Law 100-548, signed into law by Ronald Reagan, designated October 22, 1988, as "National Chester F. Carlson Recognition Day". He was honored by the United States Postal Service with a 21¢ Great Americans series postage stamp. It was the 50-year anniversary of Carlson's discovery, recognised by extensive coverage in the newspapers
On November 26th 1990, The Des Moines Register (and other newspapers throughout 1990) reported on plans for a new national postal museum, housing "the world's largest and most comprehensive postal and philatelic collection". The article referenced Chester Carlson as a rather obscure but important American, whose discovery of the xerographic process would become known as "the invention that no one wanted". This would ultimately prove to be one of the biggest misstatements ever, when you consider this form of technology is still widely used in current times.
In 1990, a television program profiling the life of Chester Carlson and his dry printing process would be released statewide, entitled the "Invention No One Wanted". This production ran throughout the year, as shown by the excerpt on the right from the San Francisco Examiner, stating "Chester Carlson invents xerography".
The Zodiac Killer appeared to be a well-read individual, with one eye in the newspapers, and one eye on history. The only time the Zodiac Killer employed the use of a photocopied image (Xerox) in his communications was when he mailed the 1990 Eureka card (Christmas card) sometime in December, with the cover message of "From your secret pal. Can't guess who I am yet? Well, look inside and you'll find out". Inserted within the greetings card was the photocopied image of two post office box keys.
When analysed, the numbers on the keys would be traced back to Chester Clark Klingel, the namesake of Chester Carlson (first spotted by forum contributor Nin). His obituary read "Chet's first wife Yolanda passed away in a car accident. His second marriage was short but his third to Blandina Sarkis added love, happiness, family and great food to his life. He had many good years in Tam Valley, CA, before beginning a farming venture near Turlock, CA. Chet and Blandina bought nut orchards and developed a successful walnut hulling and drying business. After Blandina passed away, the farming project lost appeal. Chet sold the farm and moved to Eureka, CA, where he made new friends". The Zodiac Killer was certainly clever in the design of his communications, so were the photocopied keys leading to an individual called "Chester" Clark Klingel, a deliberate and calculated choice by the Bay Area murderer, who covertly slipped the name of "Chester" Carlson into the communication through inverted imagery "to clue us in"? Assuming of course, the Christmas card was mailed by the Zodiac Killer.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL FROM RICHARD & ZODIAC CIPHERS
At the very early stages of the Saratoga murder investigation of Kathy Bilek (18) it was determined that her killer was likely the same individual who murdered Kathie Snoozy (15) and Debra Furlong (14) in San Jose on August 3rd 1969. It was highlighted by Santa Clara County Sheriff James Geary and Undersheriff Tom Rosa that the pattern of wounds to all three girls seemingly made a deliberate effort to avoid stabbing the chest and pelvic regions. The Zodiac Killer connection was rightly considered tenuous, despite the Bay Area murderer insinuating his involvement in the murders of Snoozy & Furlong as early as November 8th 1969.
On April 15th 1971, addressed to "homicide inspector", the sheriff's office received an unsigned, somewhat incoherent letter which Rosa says may or may not be connected with the Kathy Bilek slaying (see below). The letter, on ruled paper, mentioned Zodiac and another victim, stating "Gril (sic) works in hospital" could be his next victim. It continued with "Beleaved to be Zodiac, Killer and gril lover writes long poem asking how anyone ever could ever begin to understand our world of pot etc".
Looking at the wording used in the letter it's impossible to determine whether this "Zodiac" correspondence is genuine or otherwise. Observers will obviously point out that the tone of the letter points away from the Zodiac Killer and towards a "drug fueled hoaxer". While this seems like the obvious superficial conclusion based on the wording in the letter, there is simply no way to determine the authorship of this communication. The only mildly interesting thing about this letter is the mention of "girl works in hospital" and "next victim", bearing in mind the Zodiac Killer letter mailed a letter to the Albany Times Union on August 1st 1973, which stated "I am not dead or in the hospital" and warned of a "next victim" from the "Albany Medical Center". This "next victim" believed to be a nurse (girl in hospital) during the "shift change".
The 148 character letter and cipher mailed by the Zodiac Killer in (probably) May 1971 about the murders of Snoozy, Furlong and Bilek, with reference to their murderer, Karl Francis Werner, as a "phony", can be linked through its cryptogram to both the 340 cipher and Albany code, see here. The newspaper article above, from the Peninsula Times Tribune in Palo Alto on April 16th 1971, could possibly have inspired the Zodiac Killer in his creation of the Albany letter (or not). The murders of Kathy Snoozy, Debra Furlong and Kathy Bilek straddled the Zodiac case from 1969 and 1971, despite the Zodiac Killer having no involvement in their murders - but would claim so to the bitter end.
Seemingly inspired by the Confession letter mailed on November 29th 1966 and published in the Inside Detective magazine in January 1969, the Zodiac Killer used the words "twich", "sqwirm" and "victom" in his Little List letter on July 26th 1970, followed by the Halloween card on October 27th 1970, in which he used the words "by" and called himself "Z" for the first time. Cheri Jo Bates was found murdered on Halloween morning. with three letters arriving five months later on April 30th 1967, of which, two were described in the newspapers as carrying the signature "Z". Phil Sins and Paul Avery would explore the notion that the Zodiac Killer may have dropped some clues to investigators and deliberately fashioned these communications to force a conclusion that he was the murderer of Cheri Jo Bates on October 30th 1966 in Riverside. Some investigators concluded that the Halloween card was a direct threat towards journalist Paul Avery, who he addressed on the envelope of the correspondence. In fact, it would only be five months before the Zodiac Killer again addressed the journalist, when he wrote "att. paul averly = chronicle" on the Pines postcard on March 22nd 1971.
An exclusive report by Paul Avery, sandwiched between the Halloween card and Pines card, was released by the San Francisco Chronicle on November 16th 1970 (and covered by the Riverside Press-Enterprise) detailing the forged connection between the Riverside murder of Cheri Jo Bates and the Zodiac Killer case in Northern California. It's without doubt that the Zodiac Killer was heavily focused on the San Francisco Chronicle and Paul Avery at this moment in time, because in addition to the November 16th 1970 Chronicle article, a column authored by Herb Caen on November 25th 1970, described how Paul Avery had communicated with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requesting the "personalized" license plates reading "ZODIAC". As Zodiac researcher Jibberjabber pointed out, this is one of the rare occurrences where "Paul Avery", "Zodiac", "Herb Caen" and a request to the "DMV" would arise in one newspaper publication. If there was ever a time when the Zodiac Killer would have written to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, this was it. There has been much speculation on what may have inspired the yet to be seen DMV letter, allegedly mailed by the Zodiac Killer on an undetermined date during his reign of terror. Paul Avery requesting a "personalized" license plate from the DMV using the pseudonym "ZODIAC" during the height of his activity, would have been the perfect time. Had the Zodiac Killer's response been prompt, then we have the possibility of the mysterious DMV letter being mailed by the Bay Area murderer in late November or early December 1970.
Unless there has been crossed wires, and the communication by Paul Avery requesting "ZODIAC" license plates from the Department of Motor Vehicles is the mysterious DMV letter, then a yet to be unearthed letter mailed by the Zodiac Killer in late 1970 is a distinct possibility.
A big thanks to Zodiac researcher Jibberjabber, who suggested this as a realistic inspiration for the elusive DMV letter. Also, I would like to thank Jarett Kobek for his assistance in allowing me to use a screenshot from his book, Motor Spirit: The Long Hunt for the Zodiac, and for sending me the newspaper cutting from Herb Caen's column on November 25th 1970. Jarett Kobek's book, How to Find Zodiac, can be found by clicking the link provided. The personalized license plate article provided is courtesy of Cragle.
As shown many times on this site, the Zodiac Killer was able to forage through newspaper articles many years previously to gain inspiration for the content of his contemporary communications. It was believed this was achievable with such ease because the Bay Area murderer, a voracious narcissist, kept newspaper cuttings from his published crimes and communications. One outlier correspondence mailed on December 27th 1974 to Mary Pilker, sister of missing nurse Donna Lass, came in the form of a Christmas card addressed to Mrs. Mary Pilker 1609 South Grange, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It depicted snow covered pine trees with the already inserted message of "Holiday Greetings and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year", followed by a cryptic addition from the author, stating "Best Wishes, St. Donna & Guardians of the Pines". The question has always been - was this festive greetings card mailed by the Zodiac Killer? To answer this, we have to unearth the likely inspiration for the message, and whether the Christmas card was intended to be malicious or otherwise.
Jibberjabber, a previous contributor to the Tapatalk Zodiac forum, forwarded me a newspaper article from the Sacramento Bee published shortly after the disappearance of Donna Lass, on September 24th 1970. This newspaper article, highlighted by Jibberjabber, had all the ingredients to create the 1974 Christmas card mailed to Mary Pilker, including her address.
The article read: "Donna lived during the summer with Mr. and Mrs. Larry Lowe, a young couple who had planned to return to college but are remaining here also in the hope of being some assistance in locating her. Mrs. Lowe also is a nurse and worked with Donna from 1967 to 1969 at Santa Barbara. The missing woman was working at Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco when she was persuaded to seek employment at South Lake Tahoe by the Lowes last June. Donna was described by Mrs. Lowe as shy and retiring, a girl who never smoked, who drank very little and was generally opposed to the free lifestyle of many of her contemporaries. She attended church at St. Mary's in the Pines every Sunday". If Donna Lass attended St. Mary's in the Pines, it isn't difficult to contemplate how the author of the 1974 Christmas card invoked a religious element and arrived at the message "Best Wishes, St. Donna & Guardians of the Pines".
If the Sacramento Bee (or another contemporary article containing this information) was the source of the inspiration for the 1974 Christmas card, would this lend credence to the Mary Pilker communication being mailed by the Zodiac Killer, irrespective of whether he had a hand in the disappearance of Donna Lass? We know the Zodiac Killer was able to source newspaper articles from distant years, so does the similarity in wording between the 1970 Sacramento Bee article and 1974 Christmas card, specific to the religious tendencies of Donna Lass, lean towards the Zodiac Killer being the author of this festive message to Mary Pilker in South Dakota. Thanks to Jibberjabber.
Despite some interesting avenues having been pursued in the search for "Jerry" in the "Good Citizen" letter mailed on October 7th 1969, it is clear that the cryptic nature of the language adopted in this communication has made it difficult to interpret its meaning. Both the August 10th 1969 "Concened Citizen" card and October 7th 1969 "Good Citizen" letter were addressed to Sgt John Lynch of the Vallejo Police Department, both utilized the word "citizen" in the signature, both used the word "name" twice in the message, with the "Good Citizen" author referring to the "code letters", which can only be reasonably assumed to be the letters mailed to the Vallejo Times-Herald, San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner on July 31st 1969 (and the 408 cipher). A footnote from Sergeant John Lynch concerning the "Good Citizen" letter stated that the writer has a strong feeling of ESP. While having these feelings, the writer writes with a pencil. "On occasion, while thinking of the code letters, the pencil wrote: Go to 56 Beach Street. I get the name Jerry, perhaps he knows people or his name is XXXXXXX''.
The last major article featuring Sgt John Lynch and the 408 cipher, entitled "A Name in Murder Cipher", suggested the name "Robert Emmet the hippie" as one possibility, despite it being too long to accommodate the 18 unsolved characters at the foot of the 408 cipher. At the end of the August 12th 1969 article, Sgt John Lynch stated "We aren't sure Robert Emmet is who we are looking for. Maybe he'll send another letter and let us know". This request from Sgt John Lynch was specifically about the 18 seemingly nonsensical characters remaining at the base of the "murder cipher" and the search for a name. Therefore, the response of the "Good Citizen", stating "On occasion, while thinking of the code letters, the pencil wrote: Go to 56 Beach Street. I get the name Jerry, perhaps he knows people or his name is XXXXXXX", was likely a response to this conundrum. Sgt John Lynch was searching for a name in the 408 cipher, to which the "Good Citizen" replied: "I get the name Jerry" or "his name is XXXXXXX". The October 7th 1969 letter mentioning Beach Street (at the north-eastern edge of Presidio Park), just four days before the Paul Stine murder, is so cryptic in nature, it could be construed as unhelpful and possibly malevolent or mischievous in nature. There is a high degree of probability that the same author was responsible for the "Concerned Citizen" card and "Good Citizen" letter, bearing in mind the August 10th 1969 communication was not in the public domain by October 7th 1969. The two communications both offering answers to the 408 cipher, in addition to the aforementioned similarities. To believe these were authored by separate individuals would require a high degree of mental gymnastics.
If we have the Zodiac Killer as the author for both of these communications - and consider the message in the 408 cipher and "Concerned Citizen" card declaring "I will not give you my name" and "please forgive the absence of my name" - then the offering of "I get the name Jerry" or "his name is XXXXXXX" as a possible solution to these 18 unsolved characters, would shed doubt on the credibility of, not only the "Good Citizen" author, but the "Concerned Citizen" as being genuinely concerned. If the author of both communications was the same person, we have two conflicting messages. If it's Zodiac, then he is likely playing a game. An individual who helpfully provides a valid key to the 408 cipher on August 10th 1969, while subsequently offering an array of unhelpful cryptic nonsense just two months later, appears to invalidate the original communication as a concerned citizen.
Does the name "Jerry" or the grouping of seven X's in the "Good Citizen" letter have any bearing on the 18 unexplained characters at the foot of the 408 cipher, or is it just another wild goose chase? One would like to think that the reference to "Jerry" or "XXXXXXX" had some meaning to its author and had some benefit to Sgt John Lynch, rather than complete nonsense that achieves nothing for the sender. The fact that the "Good Citizen" letter (if Zodiac) appears totally unhelpful and arguably bereft of a reasonable aid to solution, could suggest the 18 unsolved characters have no meaning to be found (in complete contradiction to the code key supplied on August 10th 1969 which did aid a solution). Whatever the case, it is with little doubt that the author of these two communications are one and the same - whether that author is Zodiac or not.
With information and newspaper clippings provided to me by Jibberjabber, a former contributor to the Zodiac Tapatalk forum, we shall take another look at the brutal and senseless murder of Barbara Bates Keenan at her 8 La Campana, Orinda home on Friday, April 10th 1970. The San Bernardino Sun on April 13th 1970 would cover the story under the headlines of "Police Search for Motive After Murder of Socialite".
ORINDA (AP) -"She didn't have an enemy in the world" said the husband of murdered East Bay socialite Barbara Bates Keenan as detectives searched yesterday for a motive or suspects in the slaying. The 42-year-old wife of Oakland insurance executive Harold F. Keenan was found dead Friday afternoon in the kitchen of their home in the wooded hills of Orinda. The Contra Costa sheriff's office said Saturday an autopsy showed she was shot three times with a small caliber gun, once in the head and twice in the body. Mrs. Keenan also had been struck in the back of the head, apparently with an iron. The cord was found wrapped around her neck, the sheriff said. "I have no understanding of how this thing happened or why," said Keenan. "It's inconceivable." Sheriff's investigators appeared equally baffled. Intensive investigation, which included door-to-door neighborhood checks, produced no suspects or motive. Keenan said his wife received a phone call shortly before he left for work Friday and arranged one of her frequent tennis games for later that morning. The game lasted until 11:30 a.m. and what happened later is speculation, but Keenan said he believes she was attacked shortly after she returned home. Mrs. Keenan's daughter, Margaret, 14, discovered the body after walking home from school. Her son, Harold, 16, who had previously come home but had not seen his mother, called the fire department, the sheriff's report said.
Her husband, Harold F. Keenan was cleared of any involvement in the murder of his wife, leaving investigators scratching around for any conceivable motive for the murder of Barbara, an educated and popular woman in the Orinda community. It has been estimated that the murder occurred shortly after she arrived home around noon.
The home of Barbara Bates Keenan was located only 3,700 feet from the residence of psychiatrist, Edward C. Adams, who received a threat upon his family from somebody claiming to be the Zodiac Killer on October 17th 1970, just six months after the murder of Barbara. The pasted communication read "Mon Oct 12, 1970. Edward Adams. The Zodiac is going to change the way of committing murders. I shall announce when I shall commit my murders, The Adamses are Next. you taught me to mean it. ADAMS YOU ARE NEXT. Zodiac". The renewed reference to changing the way he was going to commit his murders, allied to the proximity of the Keenan residence to the Adams home, conjured up the notion that the Zodiac Killer may have targeted the Adams family because they too were well known in fashionable society, and this may have generated more publicity for the Zodiac Killer's latest communication. The proximity of the two residences - and the strong likelihood that Mr. and Mrs. Adams knew about the murder of Barbara Bates Keenan close to their doorstep - may have invoked a heightened visceral fear in the wording of "The Adamses are Next". It is possible that the Zodiac Killer knew about the April 10th 1970 murder of Barbara Bates Keenan and used the brutal crime to magnify the relevance of his latest threat on a family, that would otherwise have seemed like a random choice, without meaning. Could the families have been known to one another and frequented the same social circles?
Another murder occurred in Alamo, Contra Costa on April 28th 1969, just one year prior to the fatal shooting of Barbara Bates Keenan, with many parallels. Mrs. Anna S. Aarons (49) was also found murdered in her residence in another seemingly motiveless daytime attack. Dr. Z. Alexander Aarons, also a psychiatrist, discovered his wife lying on the patio of their home at about 9:30am as he was preparing to go to work. The residence of the Aarons family at 2750 Lavrock Lane was situated approximately 9 miles east of the Keenan home. Anna Aarons had been bludgeoned in the head, not dissimilar to Barbara Bates Keenan, who received injuries to the rear of her head from what was believed to be a household iron.
There is no suggestion that the Zodiac Killer had any involvement in the murder of Barbara Bates Keenan - only that he may have targeted the Orinda residence of the Adams family to create the notion that he may have been. Some Zodiac researchers have contemplated the idea that the Zodiac Killer may have read about the Adams family in a November 17th 1968 Oakland Tribune newspaper article that featured the Adamses home. The newspaper article, available on ZodiacKiller.Net, focused heavily on the design of their home and garden, referred to the family as the "Adamses", and showed an image of Mrs. Edward Adams.
Although this was featured many years earlier, in 1959, a photograph of Barbara Bates Keenan was shown in the San Francisco Examiner newspaper in the Pictorial Living section under the title of "A Hillside Home in Orinda". This article also placed the home and garden front and center of the publication, along with an an image of Barbara Bates Keenan and her dog.
The newspaper article also showed an image of her kitchen, where sadly she would be found viciously murdered just 11 years later. Hal Keenan wrote on April 10th 2014 "Thinking of my mother today. She passed away on this day in 1970, brutality murdered in our home sometime around noon. My sister and I found her when we came home from school. The photo is from May of 1959 when our house was in the Pictorial Living section of the SF Examiner. Gone but not forgotten. RIP Barbara Keenan". Closing in on the 53rd anniversary of the murder, time is not on our side in finding the perpetrator or perpetrators in the callous murder of Barbara Keenan, but hopefully one day, some answers may be found.
Thanks to Jibberjabber for his assistance in this matter.
Steph 54: On 28 December 1969, a man searching for driftwood on the beach at Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County found the nude body of Leona Roberts. It was later determined that a unique wristwatch was missing from the girl's wrist, but a Napa High School class ring given to her by a neighbor still remained on her finger. The tan dress she wore when last seen, along with two pairs of bell-bottomed pants, a blouse, a black purse and wallet, a key chain with car and house keys were also reported missing. There were marks on the wrists and ankles indicative of binding, but the coroner was unsure whether they occurred before or after death. The cause of death was reported as "due to viral infection of an unidentified species." It was also reported that there was "evidence of choking which could probably be linked to the virus." The coroner estimated that she had been dead 4-7 days (December 21-24) prior to recovery, and he theorized that she had been alive 10-14 days after her abduction. Articles reported the coroner's theory that Leona had been kept bound for a period of time, died as a result of the viral infection, and was disposed of by her abductor(s). Pathological and toxicological tests did not find any drugs or alcohol in her system.
Leona Roberts was abducted from her boyfriend's apartment at 749 Tormey Avenue in Rodeo at approximately 6:00pm on December 10th 1969, and her naked body was found on December 28th 1969 by an elderly man collecting driftwood near Bolinas Lagoon. The coroner estimated she had been alive 10 to 14 days after her abduction, with the sheriff's office stating she had been dead about 10 days. This suggests she was murdered (or had died in captivity) sometime between December 18th and December 24th 1969.
Two of the least understood communications possibly mailed by the Zodiac Killer were the Day-by-day forecast for Cancer and Day-by-day forecast for Leo horoscopes, with the first mailed from Sacramento to the Sacramento Bee newspaper on December 10th 1969 and the second from San Francisco to the San Francisco Newspaper Printing Company, P.O. Box 3100, Rincon Annex, San Francisco on December 11th 1969. The Day-by-day forecast for Cancer pasted horoscope page contained the prominent words Want, Zodiac and Watch, and the phrase "Birds Fly South". One notable feature on the horoscope page was the word "Cancer", which had been ringed in the page title.
The following day, on December 11th 1969, the Day-by-day forecast for Leo horoscope page was mailed, but the word Leo had not been ringed in the page title. However, this communication arrived one day after the abduction and eventual murder of Leona Roberts, whose body was ultimately discovered alongside Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County on December 28th 1969. The coroner concluded she had been kept alive for a duration of 10 to 14 days after her abduction, with the sheriff's office stating she had been dead about 10 days. This makes the Day-by-day Forecast for Leo(na Roberts) horoscope page very interesting indeed, because it may imply a forecast for Leona Roberts rather than an immediate murder. Additionally, neither of these two communications (with one containing the word Zodiac) were public knowledge on January 4th 1970, when somebody telephoned Peggy Trainer, identified himself as the Zodiac Killer, and stated she would be his next victim. Peggy Trainer lived in the same building at 749 Tormey Avenue, Rodeo, where Leona Roberts was abducted from. This links both the phone call and December 10th 1969 communication to the pseudonym "Zodiac", and to the day of her abduction.
The Day-by-day forecast for Cancer horoscope page was mailed on the same day as Leona Roberts abduction, containing the phrase "Birds Fly South". It has been difficult to find the meaning behind the author's choice of pasted words, but one thing we know about the Zodiac Killer is his inspiration was often sourced from literature and film, such as the short story The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, first published on January 19th 1924 (or the resulting 1932 film version), the Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera, The Mikado, and The Exorcist film (1973), inspired by William Peter Blatty's 1971 book, to name just a few.
When the Birds Fly South is a fantasy novel by Stanton A. Coblentz, first published by The Wings Press, Mill Valley in Marin County in 1945, and reprinted in 1951. The story features Dan Prescott, an American adventurer, who discovers the hidden valley of Sobul in a mountainous region of Afghanistan, inhabited by a strange race of winged people known as the "Ibandru". He falls in love with one of them, Yasma, and they marry in a scene of general celebration. When fall comes, however, the Ibandru abandon their valley to fly south with the birds for the winter.
Bearing in mind this novel was first published in Marin County and has Birds Fly South in the title, it seems extremely coincidental that the body of Leona Roberts would be found alongside Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County, which is a major north-south Pacific Flyway for migratory birds in America, extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Every year, migratory birds travel some or all of this distance both in spring and in fall, following food sources, heading to breeding grounds, or travelling to overwintering sites.
The Day-by-day forecast for Cancer communication was not only mailed on the day of Leona Roberts' abduction, containing the pasted word "Zodiac", but contained the phrase "Birds Fly South", present in the title of a book first published in Marin County, where the body of Leona Roberts was ultimately found alongside the north-south Pacific Flyway of migratory birds at Bolinas Lagoon. The astrological sign of Cancer (circled in the forecast below) is the cardinal sign of the Water trigon. When we factor in the Day-by-day Forecast for Leo(na Roberts) horoscope page and the telephone call on January 4th 1970 in absence of either of these communications being made public, can we really lay all this at the door of coincidence?
The American Greetings card or Eureka card was believed to have been mailed by the Zodiac Killer in December 1990, depicting a wintry scene of a snowman and rabbit on its exterior, with an accompanying prewritten message of "FROM YOUR SECRET PAL CAN'T GUESS WHO I AM YET? WELL, LOOK INSIDE AND YOU'LL FIND OUT...". Once opened it revealed the prewritten reply of "...THAT I'M GONNA KEEP YOU GUESSIN'! HAPPY HOLIDAYS, ANYWAY". No additional writing from the sender was found on the card inner.
Many Zodiac Killer enthusiasts have questioned over the last sixteen years whether the imagery on the original American Greetings card was altered by the sender of the communication. These individuals have considered that the Zodiac Killer may have manipulated the snowman to look like Groucho Marx, because he was cast as Ko-Ko in The Mikado, reciting both A More Humane Mikado and As Some Day it May Happen, two Gilbert & Sullivan acts used by the Zodiac Killer in his Little List letter mailed on July 26th 1970.
The designer of the card was George Schill, a contract artist with the American Greetings Card Company (Corporation) for 38 years, who informed me that all the imagery on the card (including the snowman) is exactly as he created it. In other words, nothing was added to the card outer by the Zodiac Killer. George, who retired several years ago, remarked "I did create the card as shown" and that "The ‘“guess who“ copy is typical of a greeting card friendship/secret admirer type of card, and I added the Groucho Marx glasses which are cliche". George's website lists his accomplishments as an illustrator, stating "my work has garnered a number of awards and has been selected for inclusion in the NY Society of Illustrators Annuals, Communication Arts, Printʼs Regional Design Annuals, and the Addyʼs. In addition to my freelance work, I have designed thousands of greeting cards as a contract artist with the humor divisions at American Greetings, where I also write gags, develop characters, and concept new lines. Several of my cards have been nominated for the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award".
I would like to thank George for supplying me with this information and clearing up some of the outstanding questions regarding the design of the Eureka card. You can visit George's website at https://www.georgeschill.com/
On October 17th 1970 there is a strong possibility that the Zodiac Killer mailed a correspondence from Berkeley to Dr. Edward C. Adams, a psychiatrist and docent (teacher), who resided at 102 Camino Don Miguel, Orinda, California. The postcard was clearly a threat towards the family, stating "Mon Oct 12, 1970. Edward Adams. The Zodiac is going to change the way of committing murders. I shall announce when I shall commit my murders, The Adamses are Next. you taught me to mean it. ADAMS YOU ARE NEXT. Zodiac". If this was the Zodiac Killer, why did he choose to target Dr. Adams from Orinda? The Zodiac Killer would often claim or insinuate his involvement in murders (and possible murders), such as Richard Radetich, Donna Lass, Kathie Snoozy & Debra Furlong, and Cheri Jo Bates - so what was the purpose of this communication - and what triggered it? The pasted wording of "you taught me to mean it" and "Adams you are next" would suggest the Zodiac Killer was implying he had previously crossed paths with Dr. Adams. The statement of "you are next" would have carried more weight as a threat had Dr. Adams been aware of a recent murder in close proximity to his residence - thereby adding more terror to the postcard. Could this have been a factor in the Zodiac Killer (or copycat) selecting Orinda as a destination to mail this latest communication?
About three-quarters of a mile from his residence, six months earlier, on Friday, April 10th 1970, Barbara Bates Keenan (42) was found shot dead with a .22 caliber gun in the kitchen of her 8 La Campana, Orinda home at approximately 3:45 pm by her 14-year-old daughter, Margaret. She had suffered two bullet wounds to her head and one to her back in an apparently motiveless attack. She had the cord from a steam iron wrapped around her neck, having apparently been struck on the back of the head with it also. However, it was concluded at autopsy that strangulation wasn't the cause of death. There was no signs of robbery and she had not been sexually molested. Investigators believed that the murderer knew the victim. Her husband, Oakland Insurance Executive Harold F. Keenan (45) was not a suspect in her murder.
Newspaper reports outlined that Barbara Keenan was an elementary school student teacher in Concord before assuming substitute teacher duties last fall. She had graduated from U.C. Berkeley, where she had met her husband in 1949, and was married in 1950. Edward C. Adams attended the University of California, Berkeley for his undergraduate work and was a docent (teacher) at the Robinson Jeffers Foundation and was a member of the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society.
The Zodiac Killer may have targeted Diane Kennedy Pike in a letter to the San Jose Police Department on November 21st 1969 and Daniel Williams for two weeks beginning on October 23rd 1969. Diane Kennedy Pike was an American writer and educator who lived in San Jose at the time this threatening letter was mailed. She was a school teacher at Willow Glen High School in San Jose between 1962 and 1964. Daniel Williams was a Salesian High School teacher in the city of Richmond, living at 1234 Bush Street in Martinez when he was threatened by a series of malicious phone calls just before the arrival of the Dripping Pen card..Both the phone caller and letter writer claimed they were the Zodiac Killer.
I am not suggesting that the Zodiac Killer had any hand in the murder of Barbara Keenan, but as an avid newspaper consumer, had the Zodiac Killer read about the murder on April 10th 1970 in any publication and chosen to target Edward C. Adams six months later, who lived just 3,730 feet from the residence of Barbara Keenan? If Edward C. Adams was aware of the murder in his neighborhood, then the out-of-the-blue threat on him and his family stating "you are next" may have engendered a higher degree of gravitas. By targeting the Adamses in Orinda so close to a brutal murder just six months earlier, it's possible the Zodiac Killer was hoping that investigators may consider his involvement in the unsolved murder of Barbara Keenan. In terms of topography, both residences are heavily shrouded with trees on Google maps. Whether this was the case in 1970 I am unsure. The Zodiac Killer never outright claimed his involvement in the attacks on Richard Radetich, Donna Lass, Kathie Snoozy & Debra Furlong, and Cheri Jo Bates by name, but insinuated his participation - so it's possible - in this instance - he had hoped that the statement of "you are next" to Edward C. Adams may have pushed investigators to consider him a suspect in a recent and local previous murder - that of Barbara Bates Keenan. If Edward C. Adams and Barbara Keenan were known to each other, the threatening postcard on October 17th 1970 would have had greater significance.
After his displeasure that the citizens of San Francisco would not wear "some nice buttons", the List Letter on July 26th 1970 continued with a future tense narrative from The Mikado's As Some Day it May Happen, proclaiming how the Zodiac Killer was set to torture his slaves in paradise, by stating "some I shall tie over ant hills and watch them scream and twich and sqwirm". Despite the Little List letter being unreleased to the public on October 5th 1970, the 13-Hole postcard continued the narrative, now proclaiming in the past tense he had effectively succeeded in torturing his slaves, claiming "Some of them fought it was horrible". It can be argued that this goes a long way to authenticating the 13-Hole postcard as a Zodiac communication. This communication, mailed on October 5th 1970, was followed by another pasted postcard from Berkeley, California on October 17th 1970, which also used cuttings to convey the message, and threatened "Adams You Are Next Zodiac". It was addressed to Dr. Edward C. Adams, who resided at 102 Camino Don Miguel, Orinda, California. It appears that this postcard was mailed by the same individual as the 13-Hole postcard, but with the October 5th 1970 communication having already been published in the newspapers, we cannot be sure this latest postcard was not created by a copycat. An examination of the adhesive used on both communications would be highly beneficial in determining joint authorship. This determination could be crucial, because if we can prove both were authored by the Zodiac Killer, we may be able to physically place the Zodiac Killer in San Bernardino, alongside Riverside, in 1969. We could place the Zodiac Killer mailing a letter just 19 miles from the murder site of Cheri Jo Bates.
A letter postmarked Montclair, California on November 10th 1969 and addressed to an individual in Clarinda, Iowa, carried the message "Mr. (redacted) Your Next. The Zodiac". This format was nearly identical to the Edward C. Adams postcard, again using cuttings from a newspaper or magazine. The Montclair mailing was also sent during the hub of Zodiac activity. No communications had apparently been mailed by the Zodiac Killer since the October 13th 1969 Paul Stine letter, but this inactivity was broken by the November 8th 1969 and November 9th 1969 Dripping Pen card and Bus Bomb letter, shortly followed by the Montclair mailing on November 10th 1969 from San Bernardino. If the Adams postcard was the Zodiac Killer, then how high a probability do we place on the Montclair mailing being from the Zodiac Killer, bearing in mind this was addressed to another male individual, with a near identical message, using cuttings from a publication - and more crucially - not released into the public domain when the Edward C. Adams postcard was mailed nearly one year later. If the Montclair mailing was Zodiac, we can place him extremely close to Riverside three years after the Cheri Jo Bates murder. A murder that hadn't been publicly linked to the Zodiac Killer on November 10th 1969.
Another fascinating aspect of the Montclair, San Bernardino mailing, was that it was fashioned using school notebook paper, just like the three Bates' letters mailed in Riverside on April 30th 1967, later claimed to have been authored by an individual from San Bernardino in 2016. These too, contained an extremely succinct message. If we can link the Montclair mailing to the Adams postcard, and therefore the 13-Hole postcard, we can almost certainly place the Zodiac Killer mailing a letter close to Riverside in November 1969, placing new emphasis on the three Bates letters mailed in April 1967, and shedding further doubt on the lacklustre claims of the individual in 2016. Unless of course, he is the Zodiac Killer. which I seriously doubt as a viable option. A Freedom of Information (FOIA) request for an unredacted version of the below FBI file may unearth the identity of the individual in Clarinda, Iowa, and uncover any commonalities between him and Edward C. Adams. If this individual was a certified psychiatrist, just like Dr. Adams, it could be an extremely interesting avenue of research. And placing the Zodiac Killer mailing a letter close to Riverside at the beginning of his campaign of terror in the Bay Area, could shed a whole new light on the murder of Cheri Jo Bates in 1966 and the communications associated with the case.
When determining whether the "concerned citizen" card mailed to Sergeant John Lynch on August 10th 1969 was written by a helpful member of the public or the Zodiac Killer, we need look no further than the "good citizen" letter mailed on October 7th 1969. Despite the fact the "concerned citizen" card was not in the public domain in 1969, the "good citizen" author would also adopt the word "citizen" in their signature, address the communication to Sergeant John Lynch once again, and refer to the July 31st 1969 cryptogram by mentioning "code letters", just as the "concerned citizen" author was addressing the "code letters" by supplying us with a key to the 408 cryptogram. These are compelling reasons to believe that both communications were composed by the same author. The question being; is the wording in the "good citizen" letter that of a helpful citizen or a mischievous individual playing games with the police. The "good citizen" letter read "On occasion, while thinking of the code letters, the pencil wrote: Go to 56 Beach Street. I get the name Jerry, perhaps he knows people or his name is XXXXXXX".
The "good citizen" letter was postmarked October 7th 1969 and mentioned 56 Beach Street, which is the old block numbering from the original planning maps, which comes out as 1654/1656 on the street numbering. The address at 1654/56 Beach St, San Francisco, California is a condominium home that measures 2,141 sq ft, and was built in 1938. Irrespective of the exact numbering, Beach Street is just 240 meters from the Presidio of San Francisco, where eyewitnesses saw a white male, about 40 years of age, weighing 170lbs, sporting a blond crewcut and wearing glasses, running into Julius Kahn playground shortly after the murder of Paul Stine on October 11th 1969. Of all the places in northern California or the Bay Area the author could select, the composer of the "good citizen" letter was not only referring to Zodiac's code letters, but managed to choose the location of Beach Street, bordering the Presidio in which the Zodiac Killer possibly escaped into just four days later. Possibly coincidence, but noteworthy nonetheless. The "good citizen" author may have been referring to Beach Street in San Francisco just a matter of days before the Zodiac Killer first struck in the big city, before mailing a letter on October 13th 1969, again detailing a destination in the form of a street name - this time "Washington St and Maple St".
This letter, likely referring to San Francisco, may hold some significance when we consider the statement of Jim Dunbar on October 22nd 1969, when somebody pretending to be the Zodiac Killer rang into the KGO-TV Jim Dunbar Show. He asked the caller "Did you try to call us one other time, about two or three weeks ago. Did you attempt to call this program one other time when Mr. Belli was with us?" It can be understood why the hoaxer, Eric Weill, would ring into the Jim Dunbar Show, because he got wind that the Jim Dunbar Show was possibly entertaining a call from the Zodiac Killer that morning. Therefore, it isn't unreasonable to conclude he used opportunism to hijack the limelight. But why would Eric Weill claim to be the Zodiac Killer and ring into the Jim Dunbar Show "two or three weeks" earlier, when the Zodiac Killer had never comitted an attack in San Francisco at this juncture?
The Zodiac Killer wanting a TV audience in San Francisco on October 22nd 1969 after his murder of Paul Stine in San Francisco eleven days earlier, can be argued. It is also possible that the Zodiac Killer may have rang into the Jim Dunbar Show "two or three weeks" earlier (between October 1st and October 8th), requesting a slot on the show to announce his intentions of bringing terror to the heart of San Francisco. A phone call placed to the Jim Dunbar Show in San Francisco on October 8th 1969 would coincide with the "good citizen" letter on October 7th 1969, also possibly involving a location in San Francisco - and both would predate the murder of Paul Stine in San Francisco by just a matter of days. A murder, in which the Zodiac Killer was spotted entering the Presidio grounds, which Beach Street borders. If we are to determine whether the "concerned citizen" card on August 10th 1969 was mailed by the Zodiac Killer, we have to factor in the letter on October 7th 1969 and the phone call to the Jim Dunbar Show around the same time - and the significance they may, or may not hold.
On August 26th 1976, an article (see below) appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle entitled Tips Still Pursue Multiple Slayer, chronicling the relentless pursuit of the Zodiac Killer by Inspector David Toschi, who stated "I feel he's out there. I feel he's going to surface". The third paragraph of the newspaper article continued: "With the transfer of his long time partner, William Armstrong, to the fraud detail, Toschi is the only San Francisco detective on the case now, one of the most baffling in the history of American crime". A personal advertisement appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in the same morning edition, seemingly connected to the now extremely rare coverage of the Zodiac Killer story. The fact that the story and personal advertisement coincided, with linguistically similar traits, could be interpreted in two different ways.
Many have considered that the personal advertisement may have been placed in the San Francisco Chronicle by law enforcement to encourage a reply from the Zodiac Killer. However, the cryptic nature of the message seems to refer directly to the opening section of the newspaper article, shrouded in confusing language, rather than any meaningful attempt to lure the Zodiac Killer from the shadows and have him begin speaking to law enforcement once again. The second possibility, is that the message is a threat to kill Inspector David Toschi by promising to terminate his case, especially when you consider that Inspector David Toschi was the only investigator currently working the Zodiac case in 1976. A threat upon his life would certainly terminate his involvement in pursuing the Zodiac Killer. The beginning of the advertisement, after possibly declaring he was "Zodiac", suggested that David Toschi's once partner was in "Deep Real Estate". Having been transferred to fraud detail, it would certainly be worthwhile looking for recent newspaper articles concerning William Armstrong and discover if he had been involved in any high profile mortgage frauds during the month of August (or recent months). One of the most lucrative crimes during the 1970s (and today) is mortgage fraud, and may explain the phrase "Your partner is in Deep Real Estate".
The personal advertisement coincided with the newspaper story of Zodiac on August 26th 1976, so it would appear that the personal advertisement could not be a response to the San Francisco Chronicle article, unless the Zodiac Killer (or author) knew in advance that the story of David Toschi and his drive to solve the case in absence of his long time partner, was about to break in the newspapers. This, of course, would require the author of the advertisement to have prior knowledge to its publication, such as somebody connected to law enforcement or the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper
The meaning behind "The Imperial Wizard can save you" is a lot more ambiguous, having no apparent connection to the newspaper article, other than known affiliations between law enforcement personnel and the Ku Klux Klan. The notion of infiltrating an organization with white supremacists to promote an agenda of hate is nothing new. Suggesting that David Toschi surrenders to the Imperial Wizard, could imply this was his only redemption. Two years earlier, in 1974, the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Scott Nelson, claimed they had infiltrated the Houston Police Department, including narcotics officers and members of the theft and burglary divisions.
Contact with David Toschi would become a feature of future Zodiac letters, such as on April 24th 1978 and October 28th 1987, as well as inferences (through the wording used) in the May 6th 1986 letter, and questionable July 19th 1978 Scotch Tape communication. Therefore, based on the correlation between the language used in the personal advertisement and newspaper article featuring David Toschi on August 26th 1976, the threat to "terminate his case" could be perceived as a direct threat on the life of the renowned Zodiac investigator. The newspaper article closed with: "I don't know if I'll ever get the case solved, but I'm sure as hell trying, Toschi said gamely".
For black and white issue..