Who are the Zodiac Killer's victims? | The Sun

THE Zodiac Killer is one of the most mysterious and prolific serial killers in US history.

His identity has remained unknown for decades after his string of gruesome murders in the late '60s.

Who are the Zodiac Killer's victims?

The Zodiac Killer claimed to have killed 37 people during his five-year span but investigators were only able to link him conclusively to seven victims, five who died and two who survived.

The Zodiac Killer's victims include:

  • Paul Stine, 30, was shot once in the head at point-blank range
  • Cecelia Shepard, 22, was stabbed 10 times, five in the front and five in the back
  • Bryan Hartnell, 20, was stabbed six times in the back
  • Darlene Ferrin, 22, was shot five times
  • Mike Mageau, 19, was shot four times
  • David Faraday, 17, was shot once in the head at point-blank range
  • Betty Lou Jensen, 16, was shot five times in the back

Some of his other possible victims include:

  • Ray Davis, 27, was shot twice from behind in his own cab
  • Cheri Jo Bates, 18, was beaten and stabbed multiple times with a short-bladed knife

The Zodiac Killer was given his name by himself after referring to himself as "Zodiac" in his fourth letter to the press on August 7, 1969. 

"Dear Editor This is the Zodiac speaking," he wrote at the time.

From then on the press called him the 'Zodiac Killer' – but it is not known why the killer gave himself that name.

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(L-R) Paul Stine, Cecilia Shepard, and Bryan HartnellCredit: AP

Who survived the Zodiac Killer?

Ferrin and Mageau were both attacked while sitting in Ferrin's car at the Blue Rock Springs Golf Club in Vallejo, California.

While Ferrin died, Mageau became the Zodiac's first survivor.

Much like Ferrin and Mageau, Shepard and Hartnell were also on a date and were having a picnic at Lake Berryessa in Napa County when they were approached by a man wearing a hood that had a symbol of two intersecting lines in a circle.

After threatening the pair with a gun, he then tied them up, then stabbed them.

Despite being alive when help arrived on the scene, Shepard passed away while Hartnell recovered, becoming the Zodiac's second survivor.

Was the Zodiac Killer identified?

No, the Zodiac Killer has never been identified.

There has been a long list of suspects accused with varying degrees of credibility in the more than 50 years since the terrible crimes.

Arthur Leigh Allan was identified as an early suspect based on circumstantial evidence, including the fact that he owned the same make of typewriter used to create Zodiac's letters to the press and wore a Zodiac-brand watch.

He had been discharged without honor from the US Navy and was fired as a primary school teacher after allegations of sexual misconduct.

However, both he and his friend Don Cheney were both excluded from the investigation in 2002 after handwriting and DNA samples from the letters were found not to match theirs.

Allan died in 1992.

In 2021, a cold case team known as the Case Breakers claimed to have identified Zodiac as Gary Francis Poste who passed away in 2018.

According to Fox News, the letters of Gary Francis Poste's name were completely removed from one of the Zodiac's anagrams, adding that his full name had to have been known in order to figure out the code.

However, investigators did not believe their evidence was significant enough to merit focussing on Poste.

This was not helped by the fact that one of the team's key claims was that Poste had scars on his forehead matching those described on the killer.

Author Tom Voigt slammed this as "bulls***" and noted that no witnesses to any of the murders believed to be connected to Zodiac made any report of scars.

However, in 2023, witness Linda Jensen came forward and disputed the existing police sketches of the killer.

She said: "He had very smooth, parted hair and combed [it] really straight…[he looked] just very intense, like focused.

"The vibes coming off of him were bad, were dark. All of us felt that."

The Zodiac Killer is believed to be a California man who gave himself that nickname to conceal his identity from authorities.

He is known to have targeted at least seven victims – three couples and a lone taxi driver. Two of them survived gun and knife ambushes.

The same killer has been linked to as many as 28 murders — claiming to have killed 37 people in letters to newspapers.

Where is the Gary Poste today?

Gary Francis Poste was 80 years old when he died in 2018.

Soon after he was alleged to be Zoadiac, TMZ was able to obtain his death certificate.

The certificate says that Poste died from a combination of dysphagia, vascular dementia, septic shock, and sepsis.

It's not clear what caused the dysphagia (an inability to swallow), or the extremely low blood pressure from the septic shock.

However, TMZ reports that Poste suffered from a host of health issues including atrial fibrillation, hypothyroidism, hypertension and osteoporosis.

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