Mystery Quest – Richard Gaikowski: Zodiac Killer Solved
Richard Gaikowski (born March 14 1936 – 2004) a newspaper journalist and filmaker, also became a name linked to the Zodiac case in respect to several key points, having been brought to the attention of Zodiac investigators by an informant, who to protect his identity went by the codename ‘Goldcatcher’ and worked with Gaikowski at a Bay Area newspaper, making about 10 hours of secret recordings of his former work colleague in the 1980’s, after he became convinced he was the Zodiac killer,when Gaikowski allegedly seemed to know too much about the killings.
He was involved in the running of the non conformist Good Times newspaper at the same time as the infamous Bay Area murders, which had an operations area close to where Paul Stine lived, with Gaikowski also supposedly attending Paul Stine’s funeral. He also abbreviated his surname to Gaik and Gike, providing a source of the four letters found in the cipher sent to the San Francisco Examiner on July 31st 1969, albeit with the insertion of the letter Y and therefore could be merely statistical coincidence.
He resembles closely the famous composite sketch of the Zodiac killer, and upon hearing his voice in later years Nancy Slover, the police dispatcher who took a call from the killer at 12.40am on July 5th 1969, approximately 4utes after the murder of Darlene Ferrin and attempted murder of Michael Mageau at Blue Rock Springs Park , said that it was the same voice that had spoken to her way back in 1969, and although many years had passed until she eventually heard the recording of Gaikowski’s voice, she has good reasons not to forget it,with the killers voice indelibly etched into her brain.
But despite several more interesting connections, nothing concrete ties Richard Gaikowski to any of the crimes.
Butterfield stresses his interviews with leading detectives as most compelling, such as Ken Narlow and his involvement with the Lake Berryessa case, Ed Rust’s connection with Blue Rock Springs and Pierre Bidou on the Lake Herman Road murders and firmly believes Tom Voigt has railroaded Gaikowski in as the prime suspect off the back of a host of dubious claims and the ever changing stories of the so-called Goldcatcher.
Despite this suspect continuing to be put forward off the back of ever vague links, the SFPD have ruled Gaikowski out, despite claims their failure to pursue evidence lines, as tantamount to some sort of conspiracy.
Michael Butterfield stresses even when a suspect is ruled out either by DNA or fingerprints, the Zodiac theorist fails to be convinced, claiming tests were never conducted,or conversely dream up ever incredulous theories to explain away how their suspect circumvented their capture by fantastical explanations, as did Robert Graysmith in his conviction that Arthur Leigh Allen was the Zodiac despite increasing evidence to the contrary.
Recently Bode Technologies have performed touch DNA on letters sent by Richard Gaikowski, but when the results came back they produced two mixed DNA profiles of a male and female assumed to be Robert Loomis and his wife, who had also handled the letters being friends of the suspect, so further tests were undertaken on the sealed part of the envelope ie:an area protected from extraneous handling and it produced a partial male DNA profile.
In 2002 the San Francisco Police Department extracted a partial DNA profile from a letter sent to the San Francisco Chronicle and believed to be that of the Zodiacs.
Mystery Quest requested the DNA profile from police for a comparison but they refused, and as a result Mystery Quest have sent their results to police, in the hope they will check for any match and either incriminate or eliminate Richard Gaikowski from this long running investigation.
Mystery Quest have also sent their findings to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office so they can rule in or out any connection to the Lake Berryessa Attack, when compared to DNA possibly lifted from the bindings used to tie up Bryan Hartnell and Cecilia Shepard on September 27th 1969.