Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles - This week on BuzzFeed Unsolved we're covering the Zodiac Killer. Right now we are at the scene of his first crime which, at the time, seemed like a good idea, but now that we're here, it's fucking pitch black. This is a horrible idea so let's just get this over with. - Sounds good, let's do it. - [Voiceover] So, in the late 60s and early 70s, the Zodiac Killer terrorized Northern California. Killing at least five people and claiming to have killed 37 people in total. - [Voiceover] 37? - [Voiceover] He claims to have killed 37 people. - [Voiceover] Like, he wrote a note? - Yeah, he was a, he was a douche bag. On December 20, 1968 around 11 PM near Vallejo, California 17 year old David Faraday and 16 year old Betty Lou Jensen were shot and killed while sitting in a parked car in a gravel parking area off of Lake Herman Road. In the exact spot we are sitting right now. - The exact spot, like right here? - Like right here. - Its' just the wind. - Yes, right here. (yells) - It's the wind! - You're not freaked out a little right now? - What the fuck, dude? - It's the wind. You don't want me, we can close the windows. - Yeah, let's close the windows, fuck this shit. - If anything, though, it would make it somewhat easier to hear footsteps that sneak up on us. - Fuck, you're right, let's open the windows. (laughing) By the time police arrived, Betty was found dead on the ground 30 feet away from the car, but David was still alive. However, David would die on the way to the hospital. At this time, nobody knew that this was the work of a serial killer. - [Voiceover] Oh, 'cause it was the first murder? - 'Cause it was the first time. Can we leave now? - Should I grab the camera? - What is wrong with you? Are you really not scared right now? - Why? Why on earth? - [Voiceover] 'Cause look where the fuck we are, dude. Look where the fuck we are. There's nothing around! - Have you never been in the middle of nowhere before? - [Voiceover] No, I am freaking out! Look at this shit, where the fuck are we right now? There's two of us out here and who knows what the fuck is out in that darkness. Not down to find out. Call me a wiener, whatever, I don't care. The Zodiac's next crime would occur on July 4, 1969 at around midnight near Blue Rock Springs Park, only a few minutes away from the previous crime. The Zodiac approached a parked car with a flashlight, shooting 22 year old Darlene Ferrin and 19 year old Michael Mageau before walking away and coming back to shoot them both again. Both were still alive when found, but only Mageau would survive. Mageau was able to make out the face of the man who shot him and described him as a young white man, approximately 26 to 30 years old, stocky, 200 pounds or larger, about five foot eight with light brown curly hair, and a large face. Within an hour, the police received a phone call from somebody claiming to be the shooter. He also claimed to be the shooter in the Lake Herman Road murders. Happened right around here. The parking lot was probably empty just like this. I don't like the way this feels either. - I mean, it's eerie 'cause it's night time, but if I was here during the day, it wouldn't feel weird at all. Right behind you is a freaking kiosk that says, "Parking fees are free today." Like, that's not a scary sight. - I guess. On August 1, 1969 the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner and the Vallejo Times Harold all received identical hand written letters from someone claiming to be the killer. The letters revealed specific details about the murders to prove that the writer was in fact the killer. The letters were signed with a distinct mark, a circle with a cross through it, the mark that would eventually become known as the mark of the Zodiac Killer. Also included in the letters were three different codes that the Zodiac demanded be printed in newspapers or else he would kill again. - [Voiceover] Why did they print them? - [Voiceover] Because he said if they didn't print them, he would kill more. - [Voiceover] That just creates fear and gives the killer what they want. - [Voiceover] But at the same time, I wouldn't want death on my hands either. - [Voiceover] It's not your hand, you're not killing anybody that guy is killing someone. - [Voiceover] True. - [Voiceover] You not printing something has nothing to do with whether or not someone is going to kill someone. - [Voiceover] The Zodiac claimed that the cracked codes would reveal his identity. On August 4, another letter was received that started with the phrase, "This is the Zodiac speaking." Marking the first time the killer referred to himself as the Zodiac. On August 8, 1969 the code was cracked by a couple in Salinas, CA. It reads, "I like killing because it is so much fun, "it is more fun than killing wild game in the forest "because man is the most dangerous animal of all to kill. "Something gives me the most thrilling experience, "it is even better than getting your rocks off with a girl. "The best part of it is that when I die, "I will be reborn in paradise and those I have killed will "become my slaves. "I will not give you my name because you will try to "slow down or stop my collecting off slaves for afterlife." - [Voiceover] Since when do you get to keep slaves in the afterlife when you kill someone? - [Voiceover] Well, apparently that's common knowledge in crazy town. Also, this dude must've skipped class the day they taught run on sentences because that shit was ridiculous. - [Voiceover] Also this guy sounds like, just the biggest bro douche ever, right? Killing is better than getting my nuts off with a girl? Like, shut up. - [Voiceover] On September 27, 1969 in Napa, California 22 year old Cecelia Shepard and 20 year old Bryan Hartnell were picnicking on the shore of Lake Berryessa when Cecelia saw a man hiding behind a nearby tree and staring at her. After some time, the man came out from behind the tree wearing an executioner style hood over his head with the Zodiac Killer symbol on his chest. He had a gun and a long knife and used pre-cut rope to tie up Cecelia and Bryan before stabbing them repeatedly. Cecelia died at the hospital, but Bryan Hartnell would survive, despite being stabbed six times in the back. Bryan Hartnell described the man as being five foot eight to six feet tall, heavy set, weighing about 225 to 250 pounds with dark brown hair that he saw through the eye holes in the mask. A message was found on the side of Bryan's car with the Zodiac sign, the dates of all three killings, and the words, "by knife" written below the September 27th date. - [Voiceover] What did he use to write on the car? - [Voiceover] Just a little black paint, you know? Maybe he went to Joan's Crafts and supplies. - [Voiceover] Right, Michaels. - [Voiceover] Michaels, he went to Michaels. On October 11, 1969 just before 10 PM in San Francisco, California at the intersection of Washington and Cherry a cab driver Paul Stine was shot in the head by his passenger. A teenage girl from her home across the street heard the shot along with two other witnesses in her home and got a good look at the man as he wiped down the car and walked away. They called the police and described the man as a white male between 25 to 30 years old. Five foot eight to five foot nine tall, stocky, with a reddish-brown crew cut and heavy rimmed glasses. A police car that was nearby came quickly to the scene, but the chaos of the situation would strangely result in the police dispatcher incorrectly identifying the suspect as an African American male. (laughter) - [Voiceover] Classic! Way to go, fucking San Francisco police. - [Voiceover] Yeah. - [Voiceover] Are you kidding me? - [Voiceover] Yeah, when I saw that I was like, "God damn it." - [Voiceover] Oh my lord. - [Voiceover] That incorrect identification would prove to have disastrous consequences. The police car driven by officer Don Fouke and Eric Zelms would come upon a white male walking on the sidewalk described by officer Fouke as five foot 10, 170 pounds, about 40 years old, wearing glasses with reddish hair and a crew cut. Very similar to the description offered by the teenage girl. However, because they were looking for an African-American male, Fouke and Zelms left the man alone. Watching him disappear into (mumbles) park. Brutal right? Right now we're coming up to where the two officers allegedly saw the Zodiac. They turned left onto Jackson right here. And they saw a white guy walking right here. So the officers think he walked down to the park, entered through here, and that's where they lost him. The Zodiac would later comment on this interaction in a later letter in detail. Making it very likely that Fouke and Zelms came into contact with that nation's most notorious serial killer at the time without even knowing it. A composite sketch would be drawn based on the two descriptions that would later become part of a famous wanted poster. - [Voiceover] Is this the Ted Cruz wanted poster? - [Voiceover] Yeah, it is. - [Voiceover] It is the one that everyone looks like Ted Cruz. - [Voiceover] Regardless, the theory is ridiculous because Ted Cruz wasn't even alive when the Zodiac was killing people. Case closed, it wasn't Ted Cruz unless he's a fucking time traveler. - [Voiceover] Unless he changed his birth certificate, man. Remember how obsessed about Obama's birth certificate they were? I want to see Ted Cruz's real birth certificate is all I'm saying. - [Voiceover] Another crucial piece of evidence was a bloody finger print discovered in the cab. However, the Zodiac also claims in a letter that it was planted by him to throw the cops off his trail. Two days later the San Francisco Chronicle gets another letter that claims responsibility for the cab driver, Paul Stine's murder, and includes a piece of Stine's blood stained shirt. Even more horrifying, the letter also included quote, "School children make nice targets, "I think I shall wipe out a school bus some morning. "Just shoot out the front tire and then pick off the kiddies "as they come bouncing out." End quote. He also later included diagrams of bombs that could be used on buses. - [Voiceover] Where is he dropping these letters off? How does he get these letters to the press? - [Voiceover] I don't know. Also, like the image of the Zodiac sitting down in his little desk getting his, like, pen ready-- - [Voiceover] I mean he does seem like he'd be into calligraphy. - [Voiceover] Maybe. - [Voiceover] This guy seems crazy enough that he's got a fucking quill pen. - [Voiceover] He has a letter-writing desk. - [Voiceover] What's the name they call letter-writing desks? - [Voiceover] Oh fuck, I don't-- - [Voiceover] There's a specific name.