Twenty-two year-old waitress, wife and mother Darlene Ferrin was a fun-loving free spirit with many friends and male admirers. On the night of the July 4th, Darlene and her friend Mike Mageau had driven to the Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, California. As they sat inside Darlene’s Corvair, another vehicle entered the parking lot and abruptly left the area. The vehicle returned a few minutes later and parked behind the Corvair. A man holding a light emerged from the car and walked toward Darlene and Mike. Without warning, the man pointed a 9mm pistol at the passenger window and opened fire. Doctors pronounced Darlene dead on arrival at the local hospital at 12:38 pm. Two minutes later, Vallejo Police Department dispatcher Nancy Slover answered a telephone call that had been placed from a payphone just blocks from the station. The caller spoke in a low, monotone voice, as if he were reading from a prepared script. “I want to report a murder. If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway you will find kids in a brown car. They were shot with a nine millimeter Luger. I also killed those kids last year. Goodbye.” Investigators from Vallejo and Benicia realized that they were searching for the same killer and worked to develop possible suspects. The bold and sinister phone call raised fears that the gunman would strike again.
Several weeks later, three Bay Area newspapers received virtually identical handwritten letters, accompanied by a block of printed symbols. Written in blue ink, the letters began with a formal salutation. “Dear Editor – This is the murderer of the 2 teenagers last Christmass at Lake Herman & the girl on the 4th of July … To prove I killed them I shall state some facts which only I & the police know …” The writer provided a list of details regarding the two shootings, and explained that the symbols formed a coded message that would reveal his identity. The letter ended with a warning, “If you do not print this cipher by the afternoon of Fry. 1st of Aug. 69, I will go on a kill rampage Fry. night. I will cruse around all weekend killing lone people in the night then move on to kill again, untill I end up with a dozen people over the weekend.” A crossed – circle symbol had been drawn at the bottom of the page.
BLUE ROCK SPRINGS PARK: Photographs, Videos, Newspaper Articles, and Official Documents
THE SCENE OF THE CRIME
THE INVESTIGATORS and OTHERS