When examining the recent reports that the elusive murderer has been identified, it is also worth considering whether or not the Zodiac Killer should possibly remain a mystery. If the mystery was to unravel once and for all, would it be more beneficial or detrimental to both the public and authorities involved?
A Louisiana man has reportedly stated, in a recently released book entitled The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for My Father…and Finding the Zodiac Killer, that the Zodiac Killer is none other than the man in question’s biological father. Gary L. Stewart, a Delta Tech Service vice president in Baton Rouge, claims that his now deceased birth father was the man who terrorized Northern California from 1968-1969, leaving five dead (although the killer later claimed he had slain up to a total of 37 people) and two wounded.
Stewart was adopted after being abandoned in an apartment stairwell by his mother, and says that his life was nothing out of the ordinary. Upon receiving contact from his birth mother, however, the skeletons in Stewart’s genealogy began to emerge. His father possessed a criminal record in San Francisco, having found himself in trouble concerning forgeries and bad checks. There is no record of any violent crime committed by Stewart’s father that would provide any connection to the Zodiac Killer, but the resemblance between this man and that of the sketch drawn during the hunt for the killer is, without a doubt, eerily uncanny.
Although the northern California police department have stated that they will treat this new information in the same manner as they would any other potential new lead on the matter, it is worth imagining, for hypothesis’ sake, that Stewart’s claims are true, and that his father was the Zodiac Killer. Would putting decades of research and speculation to rest be beneficial, or does it make more sense that the Zodiac Killer should possibly remain a mystery?
It must, of course, be stated that those who suffered as a result of the Zodiac Killer’s crimes would most certainly benefit from the killer’s identity being revealed. It would allow for any remaining closure to be attained, providing them with the possibility of beginning to move forward with their grief. However, what about those who have sought employment and purpose in continuing to seek out the answers to the conundrum that dates back more than 40 years?
It is often speculated that, in world-famous cases like the Zodiac, Jack the Ripper, and the Hillside Strangler (to name a few), the associated area’s authority figures are not putting in as much effort to solve the crime at hand as they portray. For example, in the infamous Ripper case that took place in London in the late 1800’s, there have been reports that members the police force in question had access to far more critical information of the case than was let on (even after losing most of the police files during the Blitz during World War II), and that it was purposefully being kept a secret in order to perpetuate the notoriety of the case. This is, indeed, a plausible theory, given that the story of Jack the Ripper has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Over 100 books have been published, dozens of movies and documentaries filmed; there is even an entire field of study devoted to unmasking the villain, known as Ripperology. If the matter was resolved now, or ever for that matter, there would be nothing left to study, nothing left to profit from. This would surely inconvenience a very large number of people.
The same could be true for that of the Zodiac Killer. Given that the northern California police are still looking at the matter as an open case and therefore still investigating, would it be in their best interest to give up the information so many have been attempting to discover for so long? The same goes for those individuals who write the novels and film the movies surrounding the matter. It is certainly worth considering the possibility that these people have more to lose than to gain from the matter being solved.
Although the possibility of authorities proving that the criminal in question was, indeed, Stewart’s father, the question still lingers as to whether or not the Zodiac Killer should possibly remain a mystery.
Opinion by Rebecca Grace