Her Mercury Cougar (discovered by her boyfriend) showed signs of foul play, with the passenger door open, her ignition keys on the floorboard, buttons scattered about and ripped strips of Cannon-brand towel, indicating that these may have been used to restrain the young woman. The same style toweling was discovered in the burial site of Judith Hakari seven weeks later and therefore provided a common link between both locations. Her body was found inside a canvas laundry bag, laying over a grey sweatshirt. She had been savagely beaten in the face, strangled and raped, with her bra torn in two and her underwear found beneath her.
Detectives stated that on March 13th 1970 (six days after her disappearance) the owner of the land where Judith Hakari was eventually discovered, noticed three sharply-dressed men in their late 20s at the site with the trunk of their vehicle open and digging into the ground. Their lame excuse of digging for bottles, while suspiciously closing the trunk of their vehicle seemed sinister. There is very good reason to believe these three men were involved in the murder and disposal of Judith Hakari. At the very least, one murderer and two accomplices after the fact. With little to go on after 50 years, an examination of the abduction and burial site can reveal so much about this crime.
We can now switch to the burial location of Judith Hakari, highly suggestive of somebody who had frequented this location before. The perpetrator or perpetrators of this murder had clearly used the canvas bag to transport the lifeless body of Judith Hakari - which if had been done by the three well-dressed men - must have been done six days after her abduction. Whether she was killed a short time after her abduction and stored, or held captive for several days, will likely never be known unless a resolution is found in the next few years. The notion of a killer distancing the body from his home location is not unusual, so as to shift the focus of the investigation to another area. But whoever abducted Judith Hakari made no attempt to disguise the fact she was the victim of foul play, leaving her vehicle in disarray outside of her apartment complex.
The killer or killers chose the extremely remote, hilly and winding road of Ponderosa Way. They could have pulled up their vehicle on the roadside edge and tossed the body of Judith Hakari in a matter of seconds down any steep ravine into dense woodland, where she may have gone undetected for months, years, or forever. They could have thrown her body into the North Fork American River, thereby destroying any remaining evidence on the body. Instead, they inexplicably chose to pull onto a dirt road off Ponderosa Way into an area containing wooden buildings, near an old deserted mine entrance. This appears to suggest that this location was known to them - and in relative seclusion away from the main roadway - it would allow them the time to dig a grave. So, what advantage was the killer or killers attempting to gain by delaying or preventing the discovery of the body? They certainly made no effort to disguise the abduction. Was it simply a case of no body, no murder?
There is little to suggest the abduction and murder of Judith Hakari has anything to do with the Zodiac Killer, despite the fact he may have latched onto her murder through the San Francisco Chronicle article on September 26th 1970, featuring the disappearance of Donna Lass on September 6th 1970. By mailing the Pines card on March 22nd 1971, he was effectively insinuating he was in the Lake Tahoe/Placer County area in the near timeframe. The murder and rape of Judith Hakari showed none of the features of the Zodiac killings, other than a propensity to rob young victims of their lives with no remorse.
There is a well-researched and informative documentary series on Youtube called Solve Crimes with Rick & Gavin, taking a deep dive into the story of Judith Hakari. If you want to extend your knowledge on the murder of Judith Hakari and hopefully forge a resolution to this 50-year-old case, please click the link above. Or visit their website here.