The Zodiac Killer is one of the great unsolved serial killer mysteries of all time, taking only second place to Jack the Ripper.
Even though police investigated over 2,500 potential suspects, the case was never officially solved. There were a few suspects that stood out, but the forensic technology of the times was not advanced enough to nail any one of them conclusively.
This October, 1966 killing began a ghoulish series of murders that panicked the people of the San Francisco area. For years the Zodiac taunted the police with weird ciphers, phone calls, insulting and cryptic messages.
Before it was all over, this clever and diabolical killer changed the lives of eight people, only two of whom lived to tell the tale.
On the night of Sunday, October 30, 1966, long before anyone was to hear of the Zodiac, an 18-year-old student named Cheri Jo Bates was brutally murdered near the parking lot of Riverside City College's library annex. Neither rape nor robbery seemed to have been a motive, as her clothes were undisturbed and her purse was present and intact.
After disabling her lime green Volkswagen by pulling out the distributor coil and the condenser, then disconnecting the middle wire of the distributor, the zodiac killer had apparently waited for Bates to return to her car and try to start it, whereupon he made a pretense of unsuccessfully tinkering with the engine.
After this ruse, and probably with the offer of a ride, he lured her into a dark, unpaved driveway between two empty houses owned by the college, where they spent approximately an hour and a half. Exactly what they did during this time is uncertain, but eventually the man attacked her, slashing her three times in the chest area, once in the back, and seven times across the throat.
Police determined that the murder weapon was a small knife with a blade about 3 1/2" long by 1/2" wide, but the wounds to Bates' throat were so deep and brutal as to nearly decapitate her,...
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