By Ian White
TWO OF the nation’s most notorious serial-killing sprees could be the work of one man now living in Galveston County, according to a retired detective who has spent several years examining clues to who carried out the murders.
Even if his suspect is not responsible for both homicide series, the detective is convinced that evidence proves the man is the killer of at least some of the victims of this county’s “Killing Fields” murders, which began in 1971.
The detective, whose own identity is known by The Post but whom we cannot name at present, has compiled a massive dossier of documents he believes could prove his suspect was both the “Zodiac” killer of the San Francisco Bay area in 1968 and 1969 and a perpetrator of some of the Killing Fields crimes.
The former policeman’s work on the cases first came to our attention last year but we agreed not to publicize it until he had completed enough lines of inquiry to satisfy himself that a full law-enforcement investigation of his evidence will either lead to charges against the suspect or eliminate him from the cases altogether.
The retired officer now believes his investigation has reached its point of no return and told The Post this week: “I do have a name for the suspect and it will surprise many people. He is not well known publicly but he does have influence in some establishment circles.
“If I’m right about him, several horrible murder cases – maybe dozens –could be cleared up in one go.”
The detective said he has sent a full briefing of his investigations to a cold-case unit in California and other law-enforcement agencies and that at least one is now working to convict or eliminate the suspect from its inquiries.
The detective said he had not set out to link the two murder series and had initially been interested only in solving the county’s Killing Fields murders. But the gradual formation of a chain of apparently linked events, places and people had led him to explore the possibility of a common culprit.
He said he identified his suspect after poring over letters and other documents that purport to be from whoever carried out the Zodiac and Killing Fields murders. The messages were sent to investigators, newspapers and victims’ family members, each apparently intended to taunt its recipient with clues to its sender’s identity.
However, no one has yet been shown conclusively to be responsible for any of the messages and there is no absolute proof that they or the two murder series are the work of one man.
In fact, the Killing Fields murders span a period of more than 30 years, begging the question whether one person could have been responsible for them all.
“I accept that,” the retired detective said, “but my inquiries have produced evidence that suggests my suspect is a person of particular interest in at least two murders here and one linked to the Zodiac series, plus maybe one or two unrelated suspicious deaths.”
The detective believes that, while, individually, the messages prove nothing, together they reveal patterns and coincidences that are so specific that they narrow down both killing-spree searches to just one person.
He also said he is not the only student of the California and Texas killings to believe that the so-called Zodiac and the Killing Field murderer are either one and the same or at least closely connected.
“At least a couple of respected experts on the killings have reached the same conclusion,” he said, but his own investigations have led him one step farther than most. “Not only are there many similarities in the way the messages are written and their codes but they also appear to contain physical clues that point to the man’s name, his line of work and even his address,” he said.
“The signs that the cases are connected are in Galveston County. You just have to know where to look. If my suspect is innocent, that’s fine – but we can’t know that without a thorough official examination of the evidence I have uncovered.”