A retired California Highway Patrol officer says he knows the identity of the infamous "Zodiac killer," the serial killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area with a series of brutal slayings in the late 1960s and early '70s. What's more, he says the man is still alive and living in Northern California. The theory is the latest development in an unsolved case that has more or less gone cold for law enforcement agencies but that lives on in the public imagination. So why come out with a new theory now?
In his new book, The Zodiac Killer Cover-Up, Lyndon Lafferty claims the man he believes is the Zodiac is now 91 years old and living in Solano County, between San Francisco and Sacramento. Lafferty, now 79, says he encountered the suspect in 1970 when he was a CHP officer and spent years gathering evidence and tracking the killer with several other cops. But he says the suspect was never arrested because the case was covered up by law enforcement, and by a judge who Lafferty claims was having an affair with the suspect's wife.
Lafferty says he's "95 percent" sure he has the right man, and yet he refuses to reveal the killer's name. Why would he write a whole book about this subject and still not tell the one thing that everyone wants to know? He says in doing so would make the man a target.
There have been plenty of theories over the decades about who the killer was, or is. The killer taunted and baffled authorities with cryptic, coded messages during his murder spree, and no one was ever arrested. It remains one of the most intriguing mysteries in California criminal history. It was even the subject of a well-regarded 2007 movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Lafferty may have some solid evidence for his theory, but it's hard to take him completely seriously if after all this time he won't give up the real goods. No doubt true-crime enthusiasts will buy the book and be frustrated in the end, no matter how compelling his story is. Saying you don't want to jeopardize the suspect's life may be admirable; no one wants to single out a man for vigilante justice who may not be guilty. And yet, if Lafferty so sure about who the killer is, why not at least tell the police his name so they can arrest him?
Do you think Lafferty is telling the truth? Or is he just cashing in on his involvement with the case?
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