The crime scene at Lake Herman Road, Benicia, California in 2017. This is the site where the Zodiac Killer shot his first two victims David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen. The Zodiac Killer’s infamous symbol can be seen in multiple pieces of graffiti at the scene.
Charlie Chop-off: The killer had a bad habit of stabbing young African-American boys, and subjecting them to genital mutilation. The killer’s first victim was an eight-year-old African-American boy named Douglas Owen. Owen was found on March 9, 1972 on a Manhattan rooftop. The young boy had been stabbed 38 times and his penis had been mutilated. Over the next year, two other young boys would be found stabbed to death with their penises removed. In 1974, the police arrested a man named Erno Soto after he confessed to the murder of one of Charlie Chop-Off’s victims. However, Soto was considered to be mentally unstable, so his testimony wasn’t taken too seriously. In addition, a survivor of an attack by Charlie Chop-Off could not make a positive I.D of Erno Soto. As a result, Soto was found to not be guilty of the heinous crimes. Even so, the Charlie Chop-Off murders came to an abrupt halt after Soto’s arrest, leaving police to believe that he is still the most likely suspect.
The Honolulu Strangler: The Honolulu strangler is the first known serial killer on the usually peaceful islands of Hawaii. This killer is thought to have murdered a total of five women in the mid-1980’s. The first victim of The Honolulu Strangler was a 27-year-old woman, named Vicky Gail Purdy. Her body was found on May 30, 1985. She had been raped, strangled and her hands were tied behind her back. Then on January 14, 1986, The Honolulu Strangler struck again. 17-Year-Old, Regina Sakamoto’s body was found in the exact same fashion that Purdy’s was. Over the course of the next three months, three more women would be found raped, strangled, with their hands bound behind their backs. The police interrogated a suspect in association with the murders. The suspect’s girlfriend told police that, whenever the two of them would have a lover’s spat, the suspect would leave the house, and then The Honolulu Strangler would strike. Despite this testimony and the fact that the suspect failed a polygraph test, the police were forced to let the suspect go due to lack of evidence. However, strangely enough, the murders in Honolulu stopped right after the police brought their suspect in for questioning.
Stoneman: Stoneman is India’s most notorious serial killer. He is believed to have committed 13 murders in Calcutta, and a possible dozen more in Bombay. Stoneman’s first victim was found in June of 1989. The victim was a homeless man who was sleeping alone in a dimly lit area. He was killed by being bashed over the head with a stone. Over the next six months, twelve more homeless victims would be killed in the exact same fashion. In 1985, there were a dozen homeless people murdered in Bombay, in the same way that would eventually be occurring in Calcutta. This led authorities to believe that the same person was committing the murders, but they couldn’t be sure that the original killings hadn’t inspired a copycat killer. The police brought in a number of suspects but weren’t able to charge anyone with the murders. However, the killings came to a halt after the suspects were brought in for questioning, leaving many to believe that the real killer was part of the group of suspects that the authorities questioned.
The February 9th Killer: The February 9th killer is a serial killer who is believed to be responsible for the 2006 murder of Sonia Mejia and her unborn child, and the 2008 murder of Damiana Castillo in Salt Lake City, Utah. Both of these women were strangled in their apartments and both of these murders were committed on February 9th, hence the killer’s name. The killer would get his victims to open their doors and then force his way into their homes. Investigators were able to link the two cases through DNA analysis, but they weren’t able to get a match. As a result, the case went cold in 2011.
Jack the Ripper: Jack the Ripper is arguably London’s most notorious serial killer. He was active in 1888 and his killing grounds were areas that were fairly poor, in and around the Whitechapel district of London. Jack the Ripper’s name comes from a letter that was written by someone who was claiming to be the infamous killer. Today, this letter is considered to be a hoax but the name Jack the Ripper stuck. Jack the Ripper is responsible for the murder of a possible five victims. All of these victims were working girls who had their throats slit, before being mutilated by the Ripper. In three cases, the Ripper even took a souvenir of his kill, the internal organs of his victims. All of these killings took place between the 31st of August and the 9th of November, in 1888. Although law enforcers worked diligently to solve these murders, and were even sent a letter from the killer himself (which contained a half-preserved kidney), no one was able to discover who Jack the Ripper actually was. Today, there are over a hundred theories as to who the infamous serial killer could be.
The Baby-Sitter Killer: The Babysitter Killer, also known as the Oakland County Child Killer, is responsible for the murders of at least four children. The killer was active between 1976 and 1977, in Oakland County, Michigan. The murders took place during a thirteen-month period, causing panic in Southeastern Michigan. During this time, children would not be let out of their houses without a parent or guardian present and the few who were allowed to go out without their parents, had to do so in a large group, where everyone could see them. The Babysitter Killer’s first known victim was twelve-year-old, Mark Stebbins. He went missing on February 15th and his body was found just four days later. He was found laid out on a snow bank with the same outfit that he had on the day he went missing. He had been strangled and sexually assaulted. The next three victims were all found fully clothed, and in plain sight. Although law enforcers brought in many suspects for questioning, they were never able to tie anyone to the crime. The case was reopened in 2012.
Jack the Stripper: Jack the Stripper is the nickname of a serial killer who was active in London, between 1964 and 1965. The reason why his given name is so similar to that of Jack the Ripper’s is because their victimology is so alike. Like Jack the Ripper, Jack the Stripper murdered prostitutes. He murdered between six and eight prostitutes and then dumped their bodies into the River Thames. Jack the Stripper’s first known victim was named Hannah Tailford. Her body was found in February, 1964. She had been strangled and some of her teeth were missing. When a second body was found around where Hannah had been dumped, 57-year-old Kenneth Archibald confessed to the two murders. However, police dismissed his confession when he failed to remember certain facts about the killings and when a third body was found. A total of three more bodies were found, that seemed to match Jack the Stripper’s murders. Around this time, John Du Rose, the head of the investigation, held a press conference announcing that their pool of 7,000 suspects had gone down to 20, then 10, and finally three. After this, the killings inexplicably stopped and Jack the Stripper got away with murder.
The Atlanta Ripper: The Atlanta Ripper was active during the year 1911, in Atlanta. This unidentified person is responsible for the murders of anywhere between 15-21 women. The Atlanta Ripper’s first victim was found on May 28, 1911. The woman was named Belle Walker. She was an African-American woman who was found with her throat slit, just 25 yards from her home. Then on June 15, the body of another African-American woman, Addie Watts was found in the exact same fashion as Belle Walker’s. By the end of 1911, another thirteen African-American or dark skinned women would be found with their throat’s slashed. Although six different suspects were questioned in correlation with the murders, no one was ever convicted.
The Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist: The Original Night Stalker was active in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, in Contra Costa County. His first victims to ever be reported were Dr. Robert Offerman and his girlfriend, Debra Alexandra Manning. The couple was shot and killed in their home on December 30, 1979. During the next seven years, The Original Night Stalker took seven more victims, all by breaking into their homes, where he would kill them. Around the same time as The Original Night Walker killings were going on, San Francisco was being terrorized by the East Area Rapist. This man would break into the homes of women and then rape them. He managed to do this 50 times. In 2001, investigators made a miraculous discovery using DNA testing. They discovered that The Original Night Stalker and the East Area Rapist were in fact, the same person. Thankfully, this serial killer/ rapist’s crimes stopped in 1986, leaving many to believe that he either died or was imprisoned for another crime.
The Zodiac Killer: The Zodiac killer is arguably the most infamous, unidentified serial killer of all time. He was active in Northern California in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Although the Zodiac Killer claims to have murdered 37 people, investigators have only been able to link him to 5 deaths and 2 injuries. The Zodiac Killer’s first known victims were Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday. They were found on December 20, 1968. The couple were on their first date and were planning on attending the Christmas Concert at Hogan High School. Instead, the couple decided to visit a friend and then they made their way over to a gravel turnout, that was well-known as “Lovers’ Lane,” that’s when they came into contact with the Zodiac Killer. Investigators believe that the killer exited his car and made his way over to the couple’s car. He then ordered them to exit their own car. Jensen seems to have exited first but when Faraday attempted to exit, the killer shot him in the head. When Jensen tried to flee from the killer, he shot her as well. The Zodiac Killer would go on to claim five more victims. During his killings, the Zodiac Killer would send letters to the police, taunting them. He would make demands, give them cryptograms to solve in order to reveal his true identity, and he would tell them about upcoming attacks. His final letter concluded with this, “Me=37, SFPD=0.” A number of people were suspected to be the Zodiac Killer but nothing ever came of it. A few people have even confessed to the crimes, while other children have come forward claiming that their father or stepfather was the real Zodiac Killer. However, none of these claims came with much evidence to back them up, meaning that the Zodiac Killer has yet to be identified.
The top picture shows the phone booth that, on the 5th of July, 1969, was used by the Zodiac Killer to report his Blue Rock Springs Park murders of Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau as well as take credit for the murders of Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday on Lake Herman Road which had happened six and a half months earlier.
On September 27, 1969, the killer placed a call reporting his latest crime that had taken place on Lake Barryessa, where he attacked Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard. The call was traced to a phone booth located in the Napa Car Wash (bottom left photo). Minutes after the call had been made by the Zodiac, police arrived at the place and found the phone off the hook, just as it had been left by the killer. (bottom right photo).
December 20, 1968: The first known victims of the Zodiac Killer are found murdered. David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16 were shot and killed in Benicia, California . Shortly after 11:00 p.m., their bodies were found by Stella Borgesin, a local resident.
The Zodiac Killer was a notorious serial killer who plagued the northern California area during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though only 5 deaths are officially attributed to him, he himself boasted of 37 total victims.
December 20, 1968: The Lake Herman Attack
The first known victims of the Zodiac Killer were Betty Lou Jensen (16) and David Faraday (17). The two were discovered at a popular lovers’ lane just within Benicia city limits.
It is speculated that the Zodiac Killer parked nearby, approached the parked car and ordered the couple out of the vehicle.
Faraday is shot in the head while stepping out of the car. Jensen was able to run about 20 feet before being shot in the back 5 times.
July 4, 1969: The Blue Rock Springs Attack
The second victims were Darleen Ferrin (22) and Michael Mageau (19) who were attacked at Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo just before midnight.
Like Jensen & Faraday, the two were parked at the time. Also like in the Lake Herman attack, the Zodiac Killer parked nearby before approaching the couple in their car.
The two were shot 5 times before the killer walked away.
Upon hearing the moans of Mageau, he then returned and fired another two shots.
Ferrin died upon arrival at the hospital. Mageau survived.
September 27, 1969: The Lake Berryessa Attack
The next known victims of the Zodiac Killer were Bryan Hartnell (20) and Cecelia Ann Shepard (22).
The two college students were picnicking on Lake Berryessa when they were approached by a hooded figure who forced Shepard to tie Hartnell at gun point before tying her up.
He then proceeded to stab the couple repeatedly.
Shepard later slipped into a coma and passed away. Hartnell survived.
October 11, 1969: The Presidio Heights Attack
The last confirmed victim of the Zodiac Killer was cab driver Paul Stine (29) who was shot in the head in the Presidio Heights area of San Francisco.
The Zodiac killer took Stine’s wallet, car keys and a piece of his blood-stained shirt which he later mailed out with one of his many letters.
Stine is the last official known victim of the Zodiac Killer though other attacks are suspected.
To this day he has yet to be officially identified…
For more information on the Zodiac Killer including some other murders he is suspected of, go [here].
I also highly recommend watching David Fincher’s 2007 film, Zodiac.
Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday were the first known victims of the infamous and unidentified Zodiac Killer. The young couple, who were on their first date, were approached by the killer whilst sitting inside Faraday’s station wagon on December 20, 1968.
The killer fired several gunshots into the vehicle in an attempt to force the couple out into the open. Jensen exited the vehicle, followed by Faraday, who was shot and killed during his attempt to exit the vehicle. Jensen was shot dead as she tried to escape from the killer on foot.