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Preliminary Report on

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

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.

On Saturday, September 27, 1969, the Zodiac wrote on a car door to claim the victims in December, July, and September.


Sept 27-69 - 6:30
by knife

The next 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, California.

On Wednesday, 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.

Eventually, it happened that there was a conviction for the murders of Snoozy and Furlong.

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.

On Thursday, 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 alternate theory.

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.

Therefore, these 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.

Preliminary Report on

An Examination of Murders
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 Zodiac.

It is open to speculation.

Please be advised to be skeptical.

Note: This preliminary report may be revised when more information is obtained.

Saturday, May 10, 1969

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 possible suspect.

At the time they did not think that the man had been the thief.

Friday, July 25, 1969

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.

Sarzen informed 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, 1969

At approximately 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.

Brevard County Deputies Jerry Pierce and R. D. Smith were the first officers to search the area.

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 her body.

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.

The investigators said that robbery was not involved with the murders of Ballard and Martin.

Monday, August 11, 1969

As part of the investigation, divers thoroughly searched Mullet Creek.

The autopsy did not find any evidence that Ballard had been sexually molested.

Tuesday, August 12, 1969

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".

Wednesday, August 13, 1969

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."

Thursday, August 28, 1969

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, 1969

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.)

Saturday, August 30, 1969

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.

While the 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.

The investigators 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.

Saturday, September 6, 1969

The investigators 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.

Meanwhile, the 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 Martin.

Tuesday, October 14, 1969

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.

The investigators traced the license number that the son had written in the sand at Mullet Creek.

The license number matched a car that belonged to Daniel Bernard Thomas.

Thomas was 21 years old.

Thomas lived with his mother at Palm Bay.

Thomas was a college student who majored in space technology at the Florida Institute of Techology.

Also, Thomas was a laboratory assistant.

Before going to college, Thomas had lived at West Seneca, New York.

The investigators telephoned Thomas and scheduled an interview at the police station.

Wednesday, October 15, 1969

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 car.

Smith was 15 years old, Hire was 18 years old, Hughes was 21 years old, and Medina was 17 years old.

Suddenly, Thomas 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 injury.

After asking Thomas to surrender, the police threw tear gas into the house.

Meanwhile, Thomas 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 survived.

The investigators found a total of six .22 caliber guns (two pistols and four rifles) in the home of Thomas.

Thursday, October 16, 1969

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 Medina.

At the hearing, Thomas claimed that he had only $300 and did not have any car.

Magistrate Court 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.

Brevard County 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 information."

Tuesday, November 11, 1969

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.)

Monday, November 17, 1969

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, 1970

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.

Tuesday, January 6, 1970

Jury selection continued in the trail of Thomas.

Wednesday, January 7, 1970

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.

* * *

Speculation about 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 California.

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 them.

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?

* * *

Additional Speculation

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."

Presumably, these 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 email

The information in this report has been obtained from various sources.
In the event that for any reason there is any discrepancy, please advise.

* * *

To return to the message to the Zodiac, click here.

The Zodiac's Game


An Investigation of the Zodiac Killer

by Ricardo Eugirtni Gomez

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