Discovery and Metadata Librarian
University of Technology Sydney Library
Post-Graduate Diploma in Information Management
University of Technology Sydney
Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
University of Sydney
Bachelor of Arts
Major: Textual Studies and Writing Praxis
Sub-Major: Social and Political Theory
University of Western Sydney
In 2004, a friend of mine told me about the Zodiac case.
From there, I looked at some of the Zodiac sites that were online at the time.
Back then, I was more interested in the case than the ciphers.
It seemed to me unlikely that a serial killer would willingly
reveal their true name.
Even if it was hidden in a cipher.
His promise seemed illusory.
What did gain my attention was the 1966 murder of Cheri Jo Bates.
This crime has all the hallmarks of Zodiac.
For more information about the Zodiac case, see:
Understanding Riverside is the key to unravelling Zodiac.
On 4 May 2004, the idea came to me that Zodiac was a student of Riverside City College in 1966.
From my own experience, I knew that it was mainly students and staff who attend academic libraries.
It is true that members of the public also visit academic libraries,
but they are the exception, not the rule.
I emailed my friend with this idea.
He thought it unlikely.
His view was that if the culprit was a student at Riverside,
that the police would have caught him in 1966.
What my friend and I did not know,
is that there was a student who was a suspect,
but had been ruled out by the Riverside police due to an alibi.
None of the known suspects who were being discussed online in 2004
had any links with Riverside, except for Richard Marshall.
Marshall is supposed to have lived in Riverside in 1966.
To the best of my knowledge, he was not a student or staff member
of Riverside City Colllege.
Nor is there any evidence to tie him to the murder of Cheri Jo Bates.
My mind moved onto other matters.
Fast forward to 2007.
At the cinema, I saw the film: 'Zodiac'.
As a work of art, the film was well made.
As a story of fiction, it was was well told.
Based on the book of the same title by Robert Graysmith;
the film portrayed Arthur Leigh Allen as Zodiac.
It is full of errors, half-truths, and outright lies.
Yet, it was enough to reignite my interest in the case.
After doing some more research,
I was not convinced that Allen was Zodiac.
There is no evidence to tie him to any of the Zodiac crimes, including Riverside.
In 2007, the most plausible suspect online was Lawrence Kane.
Zodiac abducted Kathleen Johns in 1970.
Johns escaped, and later identified Kane as her abductor.
As fas as I know, Kane had no connection with Riverside.
For me, this made it unlikely for him to be Zodiac.
Once again, I moved onto other matters in my life.
Go forth in time to March 2018.
This same friend of mine mentioned the Zodiac again.
This time, there was a new suspect.
Well, new to me anyway.
The suspect’s name:
Ross M Sullivan
During my absence, there had been a development.
For years, there had been a series of discussions.
The forums on zodiackillersite.com devoted much space to Sullivan.
Unlike all the other suspects that came before,
Sullivan was a student at Riverside City College in 1966.
Not only that, he worked at Riverside City College Library, also in 1966.
Sullivan's appearance had a stricking similarity to the Zodiac sketch.
Sullivan's handwriting matches the writing style found in
the Zodiac letters and the Riverside City College Library desk poem.
Sullivan: "...did research on cryptography and wrote an English paper on it."
Ross disappeared soon after the death of Cheri Jo Bates.
His colleagues at the library suspected him of killing Cheri Jo Bates.
Jo Ann Bailey cast doubt on the veracity of his alibi.
Ross was known to wear military boots, like the boot prints found at
Riverside and Lake Berryessa.
See Zodiac Case, and my pages on Zodiac Handwriting.
Finally, there was a suspect who might actually be Zodiac.
My friend had seen Episode 4 of Hunt for the Zodiac Killer.
This episode screened on the History Channel in late 2017.
He told me that in Episode 4, there was talk of a team of cryptographers
looking to crack the Z304 cipher.
The Z340 had been unsolved since its release in 1969.
I asked him if they had any luck in cracking the code.
But he did not know.
He had not seen Episode 5.
Since there was already a team devoted to decipher the Z340,
I decided to look at the Z408 instead.
Donald Harden and his wife Bettye had already solved the Z408 in 1969,
all bar the last line.
Most people think the last line is meaningless.
I thought it was too.
That was, until I had a likely name to search.
I did not expect to find his name, or any part of it.
Misspelt or otherwise.
Nevertheless, I thought I would give it a go.
First, I examined the method used by the Hardens.
Once the pattern emerged, I began looking for an anomaly.
Something that would stand out.
Break the pattern.
One thing did.
The letter E.
Most of the time E symbolised itself.
that is to say, E = E.
Except on one occasion, when E stood for S.
In the word: “DANGEROUS”.
It then dawned on me that E as S in DANGEROUS
could also be applied to the last line.
The rest of my solution stemmed from this.
What I found was "ROS", like the first name 'Ross'.
and MS as M for middle intial and S for Sullivan.
The details of my solution can be found at the home page of my site: zodiaciphername.com,
and on the ZodiaCipher slides, which are also on my site.
At this point, it was time to find out what was already known about the Z340.
After performing a Google search,
I was surprised to find episodes of Hunt for the Zodiac Killer were available online.
I watched Episode 4.
By the end, the show implied that the Z340 solution would be revealed in Episode 5.
Without delay, I watched the last episode.
Not only was there a team of experts.
One of them, by the name of Craig Bauer, had actually done the seemingly impossible.
He cracked the code.
If that wasn’t enough, his solution revealed the "ROS" in DANGEROS.
The M as the middle initial.
This was strikingly similar to the ROS and MS that I found in the Z408.
Bauer and I both found the same name in two different Z ciphers.
Both unaware of each other.
This was unlikely to be a coincidence.
I knew I was onto something.
So I decided to look for the surname Sullivan in the Z340.
At first, this alluded me.
But not for long.
Once again the breakthrough came when I looked for an anomaly.
This time, in the form of two missing values in Bauer's translation.
Bauer had already found the surname, without even realising.
When the missing values are translated,
this showed the surname Sullivan symbolised by"SOLIWON"
as fused to his first name to form: "ROSOLIWON."