Identity of Zodiac killer questioned |

Identity of Zodiac killer questioned

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The one suspect investigators had in the Zodiac killings of the late 1960s does not match DNA evidence, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Traces of saliva gathered from the cryptic letters the killer sent to police do not match the DNA of the late Arthur Leigh Allen, Vallejo police Inspector Kelly Carroll told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Allen was the sole suspect named in the serial killings that terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s.

“Arthur Leigh Allen does not match the partial DNA fingerprint developed from bona fide Zodiac letters,” he said.

South Lake Tahoe police became involved in the investigation of the Zodiac Killer two years ago. On the 30th anniversary of the disappearance of Donna Lass, her family members delivered an investigator’s report to a police detective that claimed Lass was a victim of the Zodiac.

The investigator, Harvey Hines, said he had identified the killer — not Allen — and said he was still alive.

The killer tracked Lass from her job at a hospital in San Francisco to a Stateline casino, where she worked as a nurse, according to Hines. She was last seen about 2 a.m. during a shift at Sahara Tahoe Casino, where the Horizon Casino Resort is today.

Lass’ body has never been found. But last November, checking out tips in Hines’ report, South Shore investigators and FBI agents used a ground penetration machine to look for her remains at Donner Ski Ranch at Donner Summit.

Authorities spent all day taking core samples from the ground and using special equipment provided by the FBI. They found nothing.

Carroll and Inspector Michael Maloney, however, recently found more evidence in the case that may help them create a full DNA profile of the person who killed five people from 1968 to 1969. The Zodiac killer used 21 coded letters to toy with police, similar to what the sniper in the Washington, D.C., suburbs currently is doing.

One of the letters read: “This is Zodiac speaking” and “I am in control of all things.”

Last week, the Washington-area sniper apparently left a tarot card that said “Dear Policeman, I am God” before gunning down one of his 11 victims, nine of whom have died.

In the Zodiac case, new technology enabled investigators to use brain tissue taken from Allen’s autopsy in 1992 to compare with the saliva on the letters. They didn’t match.

Allen, a schoolteacher and child molester, always maintained he wasn’t guilty of the slayings in Napa and Solano counties and in San Francisco. Before he died, he told reporters he passed a 10-hour lie detector test along with being fingerprinted, interrogated and made to give handwriting samples.

— Gregory Crofton contributed to this report.

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