A Theory about the
Possible Victims of the Zodiac in August of 1969
In the communication
postmarked November 8, 1969, the Zodiac seemed to claim to have killed
two people sometime during the month of August of 1969
(David Arthur Faraday
and Betty Lou Jensen were killed in December, Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin
was killed in July, Cecelia Ann Shepard was killed in September, and
Paul Lee Stine was killed in October.)
Des July Aug
Sept Oct = 7
At the end of July
and the beginning of August of 1969, the Zodiac mailed communications
which referred to the murders in December and July.
September 27, 1969, the Zodiac wrote on a car door to claim the victims
in December, July, and September.
Sept 27-69 - 6:30
communication from the Zodiac was postmarked Monday, October 13, 1969,
and was sent with a blood-stained piece of shirt to prove that the
Zodiac had killed Paul Lee Stine on Saturday, October 11, 1969.
The identities of the
two victims in August of 1969 have never been confirmed.
As explained in
Robert Graysmith´s 1986 book "Zodiac", there were questions about
whether or not the Zodiac was intending to take responsibility for the
deaths of Debra Gaye Furlong and Kathie Reyne Snoozy who were killed on
Sunday, August 3, 1969, at Villa Montalvo County Park near Saratoga,
November 12, 1969, the investigators denied that the Zodiac was
involved with the murders of Furlong and Snoozy.
San Francisco Chief
of Inspectors Martin Lee said "There is absolutely no evidence linking
him with the murders."
Also, San Jose Chief
of Detectives Barton Collins did not think that the Zodiac had killed
Furlong and Snoozy because the Zodiac did not explicitly claim them as
victims to get attention as had been done with the other victims.
happened that there was a conviction for the murders of Snoozy and
On Sunday, April 11,
1971, Katherine Bilek was murdered at the same park.
On Thursday, April
29, 1971, Karl Francis Werner was arrested for the murders of Bilek,
Furlong, and Snoozy.
September 2, 1971, Werner plead guilty to all three of the murders.
The question remained
about who were the victims of the Zodiac in August of 1969.
The following is an
It happened that
there were murders in Florida during the month of August of 1969 which
researchers may notice are similar to several of the crimes attributed
to the Zodiac.
murders will be summarized in this section.
Note: The murder of
Nicholas Elinsky on Friday, July 25, 1969, is being included in this
section even though it happened in July (not August) of 1969 and it
evidently was not committed by the Zodiac (because the killer of
Elinsky was described by the witness as a black man and the Zodiac has
been described by witnesses as a white man).
It has been decided
to include this particular murder in this section because it may be
necessary to understand how the investigators may have been influenced
by this event within the context of that particular time period.
An Examination of
in Florida Circa August of 1969
Note: This section of the Preliminary Report on Project
MK-ZODIAC focuses on murders
which may or may not have any connection to the Zodiac.
It is possible that the Zodiac intended to take credit for
murders which were committed by other people.
It is possible that these murders had nothing to do with the
It is open to speculation.
Please be advised to be skeptical.
preliminary report may be revised when more information is obtained.
Saturday, May 10,
A mother and father
and their 11 year old son who lived in Campbell City went to Mullet
Creek to go fishing on their boat.
A man asked the
mother and father if they had any objection if he would practice target
shooting while they were out on their boat and they told him that it
would be okay. (They had often seen him in the area previously, but
they had never talked with him before.)
After a while, when
the family returned to their truck, they discovered that someone had
stolen several items from it, including wallets, tapes, a knife, a .22
caliber rifle, and a .30 caliber rifle.
When the police
investigated the robbery, the police told them that there had been
other robberies in the area and the police suggested that they keep a
record of any license plate number that they thought might belong to a
At the time they did
not think that the man had been the thief.
Friday, July 25,
Sometime in the
evening Natalie Sarzen and Nicholas Elinsky went on a date at Hollywood
Beach (about 10 miles south of Fort Lauderdale).
Sarzen was 47 years
old and Elinsky was 49 years old.
As they sat in a
parked car, suddenly, Elinsky was shot in his head and Sarzen was shot
in her mouth.
A man pulled the body
of Elinsky out of the car.
Then the man pulled
Sarzen out of the other side of the car and shot Sarzen in her left
breast and she fainted.
About a half hour
later, Sarzen regained consciousness and went to the nearby Highway A1A
and a passing driver called the police for help.
Elinsky had been
killed, but Sarzen was able to recuperate in a hospital.
Detective Ray Garrabrant that the killer of Elinsky was a black man,
approximately 25 to 30 years old, with an Afro haircut.
Sunday, August 10,
12:00 noon, Connie Ruth Ballard and George Perry Martin, Jr. went on a
date to go swimming at Mullet Creek, near Indian River, about 12 miles
south of where they lived at Satellite Beach (near Melbourne Beach,
about 10 miles south of Cape Canaveral).
Ballard was 17 years
old and Martin was 19 years old.
Sometime around 4:00
p.m., Ballard and Martin were murdered near the area at Mullet Creek
where the mother and father and their son had items stolen from their
truck on Saturday, May 10, 1969.
Later that evening
around 7:00 p.m., three people driving through the area looking for
antique bottles discovered the bodies of Ballard and Martin in the
woods at the end of a dirt road by Mullet Creek.
Deputies Jerry Pierce and R. D. Smith were the first officers to search
The body of Martin
was in the floor of the rear of his car.
A sock had been used
to gag Martin´s mouth and his hands and feet were bound.
Martin had been
beaten with pliers and then he had been shot in his head three times.
The body of Ballard
was about 45 feet away from the car, laying face down in the creek.
There was evidence
that the body of Ballard had been dragged from the car to the creek and
that Ballard may have tried to run away before being killed.
Ballard had been shot
seven times in her back and then eight times directly in the front of
Because Martin had
been tied up in a kneeling position, Brevard County Sheriff Leigh S.
Wilson thought that Martin may have watched Ballard being killed before
he was killed.
said that robbery was not involved with the murders of Ballard and
Monday, August 11,
As part of the
investigation, divers thoroughly searched Mullet Creek.
The autopsy did not
find any evidence that Ballard had been sexually molested.
It was announced that
Leslie Smith of the Florida Bureau of Law Enforcement thought that the
gun used in the murders of Balard and Martin was "probably a
tubular-fed, .22 caliber rifle".
Wilson announced that
investigators were going to four states because there was a possibility
that the murders of Ballard and Martin were linked to other murders.
Wilson explained that
there were murders in four states during the last five years which were
very similar to the murders of Ballard and Martin.
Wilson declined to
specify which murders and which states were being investigated.
Wilson said, "They
read like carbon copies of each other. And all are unsolved."
The sister of Norma
E. Peters alerted the police that Peters was missing.
Peters was 62 years
old and lived at Hollywood, Florida.
Friday, August 29,
At approximately 7:30
p.m., Dennis Anthony McKeever and Debra Carol Nichols went on a date to
see a movie at Pompano Beach (about 10 miles north of Fort Lauderdale)
McKeever was 21 years
old and Nichols was 17 years old.
They both lived in
Fort Lauderdale. (McKeever had recently moved from Arlington, Virginia.)
About 2:30 a.m.,
Police Officer Robert Weiner discovered the bodies of McKeever and
Nichols near a secluded parking area, T-Y Park, by Interstate 95 at
Sheridan Park (west of Hollywood, Florida).
The body of McKeever
was in the driver´s seat of his car.
Someone had shot
through the closed window of the car.
McKeever had been
shot in his head two times.
The body of Nichols
was about 20 feet away from the car, laying face up on the ground, with
some of her clothes in disarray.
Nichols had been shot
in her head two times.
According to Police
Lieutenant I. J. Goetz, their money had not been taken.
investigators were searching the area, someone fishing at Sheridan Park
Lake found the body of Peters in the water about 500 feet from the car
of McKeever which had been parked near the shore.
Around the neck of
the body of Peters was a cloth containing rocks.
considered the death of Peters to be a suicide and there was not any
evidence that the death of Peters was related to the murders of
McKeever and Nichols.
Meanwhile, in the
morning, Kathleen Michael left the restaurant at which she worked and
drove to her home at Pompano Beach.
Kathleen Michael was
19 years old.
Suddenly, as Michael
exited her car in the driveway of her home, a man drove by in a yellow
car with a black top and shot Michael in her stomach.
Before Michael died,
she told her father that she had been followed by the man in the yellow
car with the black top.
September 6, 1969
announced that ballistics tests were able to determine that the gun
used to shoot McKeever and Nichols was different than the one used to
shoot Sarzen and Elinsky, even though .32 caliber bullets had been used
in these crimes.
Circa October, 1969
The mother and father
and their son went fishing again at Mullet Creek.
They went to a
different area at Mullet Creek because they were concerned about their
safety after the murders of Ballard and Martin.
While the father was
away on an errand, the mother and her son saw the man that they had
previously seen, including when they had items stolen from their truck
on Saturday, May 10, 1969.
Based upon her
intuition, the mother decided that the man might be a possible suspect.
The mother did not
happen to have any paper so she asked her son to write the license
plate number of the man´s car in the sand on the shore of Mullet Creek.
investigators were interested in talking with the mother and father
about the guns that had been stolen from their truck because it was
possible that there was a connection to the murders of Ballard and
For some reason, the
mother and father were not able to speak with the investigators by
telephone, so they went to the police station in Titusville.
traced the license number that the son had written in the sand at
The license number
matched a car that belonged to Daniel Bernard Thomas.
Thomas was 21 years
Thomas lived with his
mother at Palm Bay.
Thomas was a college
student who majored in space technology at the Florida Institute of
Also, Thomas was a
Before going to
college, Thomas had lived at West Seneca, New York.
telephoned Thomas and scheduled an interview at the police station.
Thomas did not show
up for the scheduled interview at the police station in the afternoon,
so the investigators telephoned Thomas to let him know that two deputy
sheriffs were on the way to meet with him at his home.
Thomas got a .30
caliber rifle and went to the front porch of his home. (His mother was
not home at the time.)
Michele Smith, who
lived next door to Thomas, was on the sidewalk talking with three other
neighbors, Ronald Hire, Elmer Hughes, and Felipe Medina, who were in a
Smith was 15 years
old, Hire was 18 years old, Hughes was 21 years old, and Medina was 17
began to shoot at them.
Smith was shot first
and then Hire, Hughes, and Medina were shot.
Hughes moved the car
to keep Smith from being shot again.
Other neighbors heard
the shots and called the police.
The police arrived at
the home of Thomas at approximately 5:20 p.m..
About 30 officers
surrounded the house.
One of the officers,
Deputy Sheriff Robert Wilson, was wounded. However, it was only a minor
After asking Thomas
to surrender, the police threw tear gas into the house.
telephoned a neighbor and agreed to surrender about 40 minutes after
Smith had been shot.
Thomas was arrested
and taken to the Brevard County Jail at Titusville.
The police found the
body of Smith under the car in the carport.
Hughes and Smith died.
Hire and Medina
found a total of six .22 caliber guns (two pistols and four rifles) in
the home of Thomas.
Thomas was indicted
for the murders of Hughes and Smith and also was charged with two
counts of assault with intent to commit murder for shooting Hire and
At the hearing,
Thomas claimed that he had only $300 and did not have any car.
Judge William Woodson appointed a state official to be the defense
lawyer for Thomas.
The trial for the
murders of Hughes and Smith was scheduled for Monday, January 5, 1970.
Palm Bay Police Chief
Walt Tauscher explained that Thomas had not previously done anything to
get attention from the police.
Sheriff Leigh S. Wilson announced at the time that, "Thomas is not a
suspect in that case [referring to the murders of Ballard and Martin].
He was just one of 400 we wanted to talk to in hopes he might give us
The body of Ballard
was exhumed at Decatur, Georgia and Dr. John Adamson retrieved five .22
caliber bullets from the body for ballistics tests. (The investigators
explained that the other bullets had gone through the body.)
Thomas was indicted
by the Brevard County Grand Jury for the murders of Ballard and Martin
and this trial was scheduled for Monday, February 9, 1970.
Inspector S. R.
DeWitt did not clarify the motive for any of the murders.
Monday, January 5,
At Titusville, the
trial of Thomas began for the murders of Hughes and Smith.
Circuit Court Judge
E. Thomas Rumberger reviewed the results of the psychiatric examination
of Thomas and did not allow Thomas to be declared insane.
continued in the trail of Thomas.
The jury selection
was never completed because Thomas pleaded guilty to the murders of
Smith and Ballard (the two women) in exchange for having charges
dropped for the murders of Hughes and Martin (the two men).
Therefore, the second
trial for the murders of Ballard and Martin was cancelled.
Thomas received two
life sentences to be served consecutively.
Thomas did not
provide any information about the murders, including any explanation
regarding the motive.
There was not any
evidence that Thomas had murdered anyone other than Smith, Hughes,
Ballard, and Martin.
* * *
the Murders in Florida in August of 1969
It has never been
confirmed who were the victims of the Zodiac in August of 1969.
It is possible that
the Zodiac wanted to find out whether or not anyone would even be
suspicious if the Zodiac had committed any murders outside of
There are still
questions about the conviction of Daniel Bernard Thomas because the
motive for the murders was never clarified.
Also, it is possible
that the murders of Connie Ruth Ballard and George Perry Martin, Jr.
were related to the Zodiac in another way.
Martin was tied up
before he was killed.
Later, on Saturday,
September 27, 1969, the Zodiac had Cecelia Shepard tie up Bryan
Hartnell and then the Zodiac tied up Shepard before stabbing both of
Were any of the
murders in Florida in August of 1969 committed by the Zodiac?
Was the Zodiac
inspired by the news reports of the murders of Ballard and Martin to
tie up his victims at Lake Berryessa?
Are these events not
connected in any way?
* * *
As mentioned in the
above report, Brevard County Sheriff Leigh S. Wilson said that there
were murders in four states during the last five years [up to 1969]
which were very similar to the murders of Connie Ruth Ballard and
George Perry Martin, Jr..
Wilson said, "They
read like carbon copies of each other. And all are unsolved."
other murders would have involved couples (high school or college
students) shot while sitting in parked cars at secluded locations
(often referred to as "lovers´ lanes").
To which other
murders in which four states was Wilson referring?
Is it possible that
any of the other murders in the four states was connected to the Zodiac?
* * *
If you have
information about any of these murders in Florida in August of 1969 (or
any other unsolved murder that may be connected to the Zodiac), please
information in this report has been obtained from various sources.
In the event that for any reason there is any discrepancy, please
* * *
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message to the Zodiac, click here.
of the Zodiac Killer
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