Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zodiac Killer

Lake Berryessa

Napa County Sheriff's Department Case #105907 

The next attack came on Saturday, September 27, 1969, on the western shore of Lake Berryessa, about 60 miles northeast of San Francisco in Napa County.  At about 3:00 p.m., three young women from Angwin had just pulled into a parking area near the lake when a man driving a light blue, two-door Chevrolet with California plates, probably a 1966 model, pulled up beside them, drove forward a short distance, and then backed up so that he was right next to their car.  Without leaving his car, he sat looking downward, as if pretending to read something.

The women walked down to the lakeshore and had been sunbathing for about half an hour when they noticed the same man watching them.  They later described him as "clean cut and nice looking," about six feet tall and over 200 pounds, with short dark hair parted on the side.  He wore a black short-sleeved sweatshirt over a tee shirt with dark blue or black slacks.  He watched them silently for another 20 minutes or so, smoking cigarettes, then walked off.  When the women returned to their car at around 4:30, the stranger's car was gone.

Napa County Sheriff's Department patch
Napa County Sheriff's Department patch

The Napa County Sheriff's Department briefly investigated another encounter at the lake.  It occurred at about 6:30, when a local dentist and his son well north of the crime scene noticed a man walking nearby who met the general description given by the young women.  When this man saw the father and son and realized that he had been noticed, he turned around and walked away from them.  It was initially thought that he might have been involved in the Zodiac's next attack, but detectives determined that the unidentified man did not have a car in the area, and it would have been impossible for him to arrive at the crime scene in time.


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