On November 21st 1969, somebody claiming to be the Zodiac Killer wrote to the San Jose Police Department threatening the life of a widow, accompanied by the words "There's no doubt I will do my Thing". The brief text in the letter clearly contained enough information for police to identify the woman and implement 24-hour surveillance on her residence.
On December 7th 1969, a letter was mailed from Fairfield stating "I just need help. I will kill again, so expect it any time the will be a cop".
On December 16th 1969, another letter arrived from Fairfield threatening to kill "government life" and "cops" in Sacramento, Fairfield, Napa, Vallejo, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose. A future geographic profiling technique was applied to the locations in which he 'threatened murder' (as detailed in the Fairfield letter), and noted that "Interstate 80 begins at an interchange with U.S. Route 101 (US 101) in San Francisco, and then crosses the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge into Oakland. It then heads northeast through Vallejo, Fairfield, Sacramento, and the Sierra Nevada mountains before crossing into Nevada". The idea was to identify the areas the Zodiac Killer was prepared to target, based on their accessibility to him using a main commuter route he regularly traveled. If he regularly used the I-80 for his profession, then six of these seven destinations are directly passed by the I-80, with Napa only a few miles off route.
On December 19th 1969, somebody claiming to be the Zodiac Killer again threatened cops, making a phone call to Sergeant Robert Rengsdorff of the San Jose Highway Patrol (see article above), stating "I am going to kill five of you officers and a family of five between now and Monday". This threat towards San Jose police and a family of five was issued on a Friday, exactly as was the November 21st 1969 letter, mailed to San Jose police threatening harm on a widow. After the threat on the widow was thwarted by 24-hour police surveillance on her residence, was this the response, to once again instigate fear in the San Jose community? Were the widow and 'family of five' of the same residence? We know he was threatening the lives of numerous police officers, but the threat on five members of a family appears rather specific.
The purpose of this article is to show the targeted areas of the Zodiac Killer (if responsible for these letters and phone calls) from the standpoint of geographic profiling. These events spanned from the October 11th 1969 murder of Paul Stine, to the mailing of the 'Melvin Belli' letter on December 20th 1969 (71 days). The areas shown in red above, highlight the locations the Zodiac Killer targeted by murder, proposed murder, as well as by his threatening phone calls and letters - and they are all connected by one direct route of travel.
During these 71 days in October, November and December the Zodiac Killer focused his attention on Sacramento, Fairfield, Vallejo, Oakland, San Francisco, Palo Alto and San Jose. Interstate 80 and U.S. Route 101 provide one seamless journey from Sacramento to San Jose. Was the Zodiac Killer a traveling salesman which took him through each of these locations - and therefore he had a familiarity with? Do these commuter route tell you anything about his home residence during this time period?
When you commit, or intend to commit these acts, accessibility to and from a main commuter route could be invaluable.
Equidistant (as the crow flies) to Sacramento and San Jose is the waterfront city of Vallejo, believed by many to be the home residence of the Zodiac Killer. It is 53 miles from Sacramento and 57 miles from San Jose. The Springs and Tuolumne payphone, where Zodiac placed a call to police dispatcher Nancy Slover on the morning of July 5th 1969, sits 728 metres from Interstate 80.