Broad public interest in the Zodiac case has dwindled significantly over the past few years and morphed into a pattern of intermittent instances of sensational claims and media reports. This is mostly due to uninformed Internet speculation and, in many cases, personal agendas. Ironically, this is a good thing for the case. For some time, two paths of investigation have been carved out. One is the public face of the case that spawns little of importance but garners momentary attention. The other is a quiet path of more objective and meaningful investigation, a path that has been carefully protected. The public noise has, in a strange twist of truth, protected sincere and informed efforts to move the case forward.
Given the current state of the case, this is a good time to outline a Zodiac end-game scenario. Here are some of the key elements of the scenario:
There is viable DNA evidence available. It is maintained and shared by two law enforcement agencies and an independent laboratory. It provides a sufficient profile for exclusion protocols. Information about this aspect of the case has not been made public.
There is physical evidence in the hands of two law enforcement agencies that has never been made public but is definitively linked to the case.
There are at least two Zodiac communications, both believed to be authentic, that have never been made public and almost certainly will never be made public until the case is resolved. Others are uncertain and remain private.
There are at least two experienced, retired law enforcement individuals from the San Francisco Bay Area who continue to pursue the case with great enthusiasm and who have full access to case files and material. These individuals continue to work in the background in a semi-official capacity. Their names do not appear on websites or message boards, nor will they ever appear.
Pertinent law enforcement agencies take a polite posture in relation to unofficial inquiries about the case but will never become genuinely involved with individuals who take a public position on the case or any potential suspects. Although a few law enforcement agencies have, from time to time, interacted with amateur investigators, they have done so to gather needed background information or to exclude persons of interest who arose after the formal investigation came to an end. Some amateurs have been subject to background investigations. Agencies have simply spent too much time and money trying to chase false leads and calm the public waters to have any further official interest in this cold case.
There are a very limited number of suspects who are still of interest to professional investigators. They are all deceased. In at least one case, DNA comparison is a possibility and requires a good deal of time, money, and legal complications with surviving family members to carry out the process. None of these persons of interest has received attention from the Internet/amateur community and they almost certainly will never be known to other than a small group of individuals (until the case is definitely solved and the results are made public).
None of the individuals named as suspects by the Internet/amateur community are considered viable to those who have true knowledge of the case. However, the fact that there is so much banter about these individuals is actually of benefit to the genuine investigation.
When the case is definitely solved, the results will not be made public for quite some time. There is simply no upside in continuing to play out the case in a public venue that wants to keep sensationalism at the forefront of the story. Once the Zodiac flotsam has lost its energy, which is now in process, there will be time to publish the definitive details of the case and how it was resolved. The announcement will be carefully planned, will be a joint effort, and will use media resources in a professional and informative way. Hollywood will not be on the initial agenda.
The case will not go the way of Jack the Ripper. It will have a more satisfying end-game.
About Michael Kelleher
Author in the true crime, mystery, and Native American genres. Co-author of the book: This is the Zodiac Speaking: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer. Media consultant and freelance journalist.