5The Zodiac Killer
Other than Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac Killer is probably the most famous, most baffling and most sensational unsolved serial murder crime in history. The story of the crimes is complete with an audacious killer who taunted the police and press in Northern California with riddles and “cryptograms” for six
Because the crime went unsolved and because the suspected perpetrator did taunt the police it is unclear just how many victims the Zodiac Killer took. The generally accepted number is seven victims (two actually survived) although the killer himself claimed the number was as high as 37.
The first confirmed murder happened in 1968 the last was in 1969. Police suspect Zodiac’s involvement in murders up to 1971. The last known communication between the press and the killer came in 1974. After three years of silence Zodiac sent a final taunting letter to the San Francisco Chronicle.
After that communications ceased. Murders that fit the Zodiac’s profile stopped happening and police never arrested a suspect.
But that was not for a lack of trying. The police and the press both floated numerous, complicated theories; 2,500 suspects were questioned. In 2004 the San Francisco Police Department marked the case “inactive,” only to reopen it in 2007.
The case has provided inspiration for numerous feature films, including Dirty Harry.