Lyndon Lafferty Passes Away

Lyndon Lafferty, long-time California Highway Patrol officer and author of the 2012 book The Zodiac Killer Cover-Up: The Silenced Badge (see also: Michael Kelleher's thoughtful comments on the book), passed away on March 5th, at the age of 83.

The Vallejo Times-Herald newspaper, once the recipient of a letter from the Zodiac Killer, published an article noting Lafferty's passing, documenting his funeral at the Wayside United Methodist Church in Vallejo, and relating some of the nice things that people who knew him said.

Lyndon Lafferty Funeral

A picture from Lyndon Lafferty's funeral (Vallejo Times-Herald).

Of course, the article addresses Lafferty's relationship to the Zodiac Killer. Tom Voigt — owner and operator of — provides some comments, representing the position of researchers who do not believe Lafferty's suspect was the killer.

As someone who thinks the Zodiac was not any of the known suspects, I'm among those who disagree with Lafferty's theory. Nevertheless, I'm happy he had the opportunity to publish his book. He had something to say, he said it, and now the world has a means by which to form an opinion about it.

The Zodiac Killer Cover-Up

Self-publishing trailblazer and expert Dan Poynter — another man who recently left us — used to say that his goal was to make sure people did not "die with a book still inside them." This sentiment feels apropos in the case of Lafferty. Those close to the man can find some degree of satisfaction in knowing that he published his book before the opportunity disappeared forever.

If there is one thing that a lasting interest in the Zodiac requires of us, it's the necessity of accepting people related to the case dying. Human life is much less durable than the uncertainty that defines the mystery.

Lyndon Lafferty, I did not know you. I do not agree with you. But, we shared a common interest and I'm saddened to learn of your passing.


Michael Cole


  1. sandy betts 14 March, 2016 at 09:40 Reply

    Most people don’t know that my dear friend Lyndon did not care for Tom Voigt, who is also a dear friend of mine, which puts me in the middle. I may never know for sure why Lyndon didn’t like Tom, other than they disagreed on their suspects, but I do know why Tom didn’t care that much for Lyndon . That would be because of a remark that was made about Tom in Lyndon’s book. That remark was so unlike Lyndon as I knew him, because he was kind, thoughtful, courageous and usually forgiving. I know that the VTH newspaper reporter didn’t have a clue as to what she did to Lyndon’s family by putting those two names together in her article. When she wrote that Lyndon went to a few of our Zodiac task force meetings at Blue Rock Springs, it gave the impression that Tom and Lyndon were friends. The only reason Lyndon went to those meetings, was to visit with me. He sat far away from the others at the task force meetings. So for Lyndon and his family I am setting the record straight. He would not want to have his name in the same article as Tom , especially on the day he was buried . That should have been Lyndon’s day and no one else’s.

    • Michael Cole
      Michael Cole 14 March, 2016 at 20:43

      Thanks for your comments, Sandy.

      I didn’t know you were good friends with Lyndon. Apart from his Zodiac book, it sounds like he was an interesting person. I’m sure it must have been difficult being caught in the middle between Lyndon and Tom.

      It may have been preferable if the VTH author didn’t mention Tom, but it’s hard to fault her. Regardless of what anybody thinks of Tom, he is the de facto face of the Zodiac community. Pretty much any reporter looking for a comment on the Zodiac is likely to reach out to either Tom or law enforcement. I hope Lyndon’s family isn’t too bothered by the mention o f Tom.

    • sandy betts 14 March, 2016 at 23:58

      Thanks Michael, I agree Tom is the number one person to go to for the best collection of Zodiac information . If the reporter was doing a story about Zodiac, I could understand that.
      I have a great deal of respect for Tom and all of the hard work he has done for the case. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for Tom and I believe he knows that.
      If the Zodiac case is ever solved and I believe that it will be, we can thank Tom for keeping the Zodiac story on the forefront.
      Apparently Lyndon’s family wasn’t bothered by the article, thank goodness, according to the reporter. Perhaps Lyndon didn’t express his feelings towards Tom to his family, he certainly did to me and his other close friends.
      The reporter told me that she wanted to do the story about Lyndon and that she was told she couldn’t do it unless she included Tom in the article? I felt it was mistake to do it on that particular day. Her second mistake was not spelling Tom’s last name correctly, if she didn’t know how to spell his name , she shouldn’t write about him .

  2. Curious 12 May, 2017 at 01:53 Reply

    The Zodiac Killer claimed at one point to have killed 37. Perhaps more depending on when that statement was made. I have no idea if the elderly man was ‘the killer’ or not (but, it is odd the murders suddenly stopped by the late 60’s or early 70’s out of no where).

    Any possibility that the killer could have lived in different parts of the country earlier (if not the cop mentioned by Lyndon)? The idea that the murders were covered up and the killer was perhaps ‘protected’ is interesting.

    A 1966 unsolved homicide has some similarities. The Simms Murders in Tallahassee, Florida circa 1966. There were rumors of affairs and or child predator (only because they too had a wrong suspect). The local sheriff had a locked log book of some 2000+ pages in his office until the day he recently passed away. He always claimed to have a main suspect but, never would move on his ‘hunch’ due to lack of evidence. It was dear to his heart because he was the young deputy at the time who was first to arrive on scene. (Another theory was the wrong person was killed? Dr. Robert Simms vs Dr. Roberts/preacher. Dr. Roberts a preacher was even the main suspect at one time. The second suspect, a kid who lived behind the Simm’s home, claims on the night of the murder a car pulled over and stopped … 3 men in their 40’s or 50’s opened a back door, looked at him to get in, then quickly stated no not him, shut the door and left.)

    Also, I’ve heard stories or suggestions that the Zodiac Killer has a niece who claims her uncle is the Zodiac Killer – family from California if I’m not mistaken. But, also claims her uncle was one of the men (‘hired/allowed’) to kill JFK?! Which interesting would have also been a cover up …. same circa – 1963. Her details even include some known disability the killer may have had that allegedly matches up with the Zodiac Killer. He was a marksman.

    (The Badge shooter on the hill of the grassy knoll may have worn a police uniform and wore glasses.) Maybe it wasn’t the clown guy.

    But, it has also been suggested and unsuggested that white feather was involved. If not someone with similar marksmanship skills.

  3. J. Andre Boles 2 November, 2017 at 13:00 Reply

    I am working a series of cold cases with some other experienced experts in law enforcement. I had some first hand contacts with SFPD Inspectors in the early seventies who provided some background. Based on that and some prison interviews, I have some possible answers. For now, I am looking for names of similar serial killers who did time in the Nevada prison system. Please respond if you have info or questions. /s/ J. Andre Boles-True Crime Author
    also see my Facebook: J. Andre Boles

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