ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Every American knows the mystery of the Zodiac Killer. One unidentified man who terrorized the residents of Northern California in the late '60s who has never been found... or has he?

The Zodiac Killer left few clues

In 1969, the Zodiac Killer communicated with Californian law enforcement in a series of cryptic, encoded notes, with the signature of the cross/circle symbol above. He is officially confirmed to have killed 7 people but claimed responsibility for 37 murders. The case remained unsolved for decades...

However, in 2002, a John Doe was found dead in Ohio

Joseph Newton Chandler III - the Zodiac Killer?
Joseph Newton Chandler III - the Zodiac Killer?

The dead man - an elderly recluse who had taken his own life - was identified as Joseph Newton Chandler III. But this was in Eastlake, Ohio - what did this have to do with the Zodiac?

Well, apart from the obvious physical resemblance to the only extant sketch from Zodiac eyewitnesses, authorities looked into Chandler's history and found that the real Joseph Chandler had actually died in his youth in 1945. There was no record of a man by that name in the system until 1979, when 'Joseph Newton Chandler III' applied for a Social Security Card, ten years after the Zodiac Murders. Was he stealing another man's identity to live an anonymous life?

It's a theory not investigated in David Fincher's 2007 Zodiac movie...

Evidence: similarities between 'Chandler' and Zodiac

Excerpt from a Zodiac Killer letter, 1969
Excerpt from a Zodiac Killer letter, 1969

Authorities found evidence of Chandler having previously been in California, with links to the Navy and electrical engineering: all traits of the Zodiac Killer. Another interesting link is the Zodiac's affiliation with Jack the Ripper - he was inspired to write his purposely misspelt taunting letters to police by the Victorian Serial Killer's example... and one of the Ripper case investigators was named Joseph Chandler. This name would definitely have appealed to the Zodiac Killer's twisted sense of fun.

The Zodiac Cipher has been cracked and you can now translate your own excerpts with this online code cracker if you're curious.

Even More Chilling Evidence

In Northern Ohio, 1979 - around the time that the identity of Joseph Newton Chandler III was stolen - a string of murders happened in the area. Young couples were killed in different ways - a mix of M.O.s reminiscent of the Zodiac Killer's infamous style...

The theory: The Zodiac Killer fled to Ohio and stole Joseph Chandler's identity to live out the rest of his days in anonymity... but what do you believe?

Sources: Unexplained Mysteries, Blog Critics, Xymphora, Zodiac Killer Facts, Center Daily Times, Zodiac Killer Ciphers


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