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Denise Kathleen Anderson (22), who resided in Sacramento, was last seen on April 13th 1971 by her roommates at approximately 05.30 am- and as of writing her disappearance still remains a mystery- although foul play is suspected. Bearing in mind the Interstate 80 route from Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe, we have disappearances and murders on March 7th 1970, September 6th 1970, October 25th 1970 and November 14th 1970, of Hakari, Lass, Bennallack and Hilburn respectively. Three of which occurred very close to their apartments. What occurred with Denise Kathleen Anderson after last being seen by her roommates is unknown, but her disappearance (and possible murder) again took place in Sacramento, near Interstate 80, only five months after the murder of Carol Beth Hilburn and exactly one month after the Zodiac 'Los Angeles' letter mailed on March 13th 1971, claiming 17+ victims. In this correspondence Zodiac stated "If the Blue Meannies are evere going to catch me, they had best get off their fat asses + do something. Because the longer they fiddle + fart around, the more slaves I will collect for my after life."
The question is, was Denise Kathleen Anderson one of them. With so little to go on, we may never know, but exactly three months later on July 13th 1971 a potential Zodiac correspondence, listed in the FBI files, was received by the San Francisco Chronicle, described as a picture with pasted letters. The wording read:
'Near Monticello Shought Victims 21 ...... In The Woods Dies April'
The first thing that needed answering was whether April was the name of the victim or the month of the murder.
Using the age range Zodiac was known to have targeted, no woman bearing the name April could be unearthed and the April 11th 1971 murder of Kathy Bilek was attributed to Karl Francis Werner, who was responsible for the double murder of Kathy Snoozy and Deborah Furlong. However, the disappearance of Denise Kathleen Anderson has yet to be resolved.
The southern section of Monticello Road is only 16 miles from Vallejo and 2.4 miles from the Main Street payphone, where the Zodiac Killer placed his second phone call to police after the double stabbing and murder at Lake Berryessa. Interstate 80 travels from Sacramento towards Vallejo, and skirts past Monticello Road only 13 miles to the southeast.
Had the Zodiac headed from Sacramento to Vallejo after abducting Denise Kathleen Anderson and exited Interstate 80 at the closest point to Monticello Road, it would be a mere 6 miles to a notable section of Wooden Valley Road. This area is surrounded by dense woods, the perfect attack/disposal site for a serial killer, and being only 7 miles shy of Monticello Road would certainly fit the criteria of being 'near Monticello'.
Monticello Road heads northwards to Lake Berryessa, now covering the land mass once known as the town of Monticello, flooded over by the damming of Putah Creek in 1957. Any reference to Monticello by the Zodiac Killer would not be surprising, based on his previous historical references within his correspondence, namely The Mikado, and bearing in mind his third attack on Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell at Lake Berryessa.
This connection may not be as strong as the Sacramento double murder of Koy Ien Saechao and Choy Fow Salee on April 22nd 1986, and the accompanying 1986 Zodiac correspondence, however, we have a dense wooded area just off Interstate 80, en route from Sacramento to Vallejo, near Monticello, and a woman's disappearance in April, in accordance with the noted timeline of three previous murders in 1970.
Regardless of whether this is a Zodiac crime, it is yet another tragedy for the family and friends of Denise Kathleen Anderson who badly need answers in this long overdue cold case. If you can help please contact the Sacramento Police Department.