Larry Kane has been described as “the best Zodiac suspect” by accusers who claim that he was identified by nine eyewitnesses, including the sisters of a Zodiac victim, a police officer who saw the Zodiac, a surviving victim, two witnesses at Lake Berryessa during the Zodiac attack, a man who witnessed the abduction of his girlfriend in Nevada, a police officer who may have seen the abductor, and a possible Zodiac victim.
Some of the people cited as “witnesses” are not witnesses in the Zodiac case. Harvey Hines believed that Larry Kane was responsible for the abduction and murder of Dana Lull in Nevada. Hines showed Kane’s photograph to Lull’s boyfriend and he reportedly identified Kane as the man who had abducted Lull. A police officer who stopped a driver who may have been the killer identified Kane as the driver. Kane may have abducted and killed Dana Lull but the witnesses in that case do not link Kane to the Zodiac crimes.
According to one version of events posted online, a “witness” and a friend were at Lake Berryessa on the day of the Zodiac attack. This “witness” claimed that he and his friend had seen a strange man and that man was Larry Kane. This “witness” also claimed that he saw the victims “swimming,” but victims Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard did not swim that day. The “witness” also claimed that he told police about seeing the man at the lake, but none of the official reports mentioned this witness or the man. The “witness” posted his story online but offered no details or evidence to support his claims. The account posted online does not indicate that the “witness” or his friend had ever identified Kane for police. The story told by this witness cannot be confirmed and is not supported by any official documents. The witness and his friend remain unidentified and this anonymous tale is little more than a story told by someone on the internet.
In March 1970, Kathleen Johns claimed that she had been abducted by a man who resembled the police sketch of the “Zodiac” suspect. After the so-called “Johns incident” was reported by the media, a Zodiac letter described a similar incident but did not specifically name Johns as the victim. In 1992, Kathleen Johns identified Larry Kane as her abductor. This identification is cited as evidence that Kane is the Zodiac, but skeptics question whether Johns may have invented her original story or may have been mistaken after so many years had passed. The writer of the Zodiac letter may have lied and falsely claimed responsibility for the Johns abduction. Some investigators doubted that Johns had actually encountered the Zodiac. The possibility exists that Johns was abducted by the Zodiac but she was wrong in her later identification of Larry Kane. Johns may have been correct and Kane may have been the man she encountered in 1970.
When interviewed by writer Rider McDowell in 1994, Bryan Hartnell listened to an audio recording of Kane’s voice and reportedly stated that the suspect’s speech pattern was somewhat similar to that of the Zodiac. McDowell wrote that Hartnell said he would never forget the man’s voice. During an interview in 1999, Hartnell said that he could possibly forget the man’s voice and downplayed McDowell’s earlier quotation. Hartnell did not identify Larry Kane’s voice as the voice of the Zodiac.
In 1988, Harvey Hines contacted San Francisco police officer Don Fouke, the only surviving officer who had seen the suspect walking near a Zodiac crime scene in 1969. In his report, Hines stated that he “gave a single picture of suspect Kane” to Fouke. Hines wrote, “[Fouke] studied it for awhile and said, ‘The jowls are right. The face was rounded like that.’ He said, after twenty years he could not be sure. He said, he had been brought hundreds of pictures to look at over the years but this was the best one he had seen, but it had been too many years for a positive identification.” Fouke then classified Larry Kane as a “maybe.” Hines wrote, “[Fouke] said, ‘A good maybe, that’s the best I can do.’” Fouke had described the suspect as a white male, approximately 35-45 years old, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall, 180-200 pounds, with “light-colored hair possibly greying in the rear.” While Fouke did note that the hair coloring may have been distorted by lighting in the area, Kane was described as having black hair. Fouke did not identify Kane.
Fouke reportedly contradicted the account in the Hines report when interviewed by Zodiac theorist Mike Rodelli, who wrote, “He (Fouke) said that the photo of Kane with glasses on showed that he had a similar hairline to what he recalls from that night. He therefore stated that he was a “possibility”. He does not recall seeing the photo before or meeting Harvey Hines. He emphasized that he only saw the man for 5-10 seconds as he drove by.” If the statement attributed to Fouke by Rodelli was accurate, the encounter with Hines and the alleged assessment of Kane as a suspect failed to make a lasting impression in Fouke’s mind. This account raised questions about the accuracy of Fouke’s memory if he did make the statements attributed to him by Harvey Hines only to forget he had ever met Hines and viewed Kane’s photograph.
Stories about Darlene Ferrin’s alleged “stalker” first surfaced in the late 1970s. A woman who claimed that she worked as Darlene’s babysitter told police that a mysterious man once sat in a car parked outside Darlene’s home. Darlene allegedly said that the man was following her and that she had seen him kill someone. Darlene’s sisters Pam and Linda also began telling stories about a sinister stranger who had been stalking Darlene in the months before her death. Pam, Linda, and the babysitter never shared this important information with police in 1969 during the investigation. Anyone who had been stalking Darlene before she was killed would be considered a serious suspect. According to the babysitter, Darlene had seen this stalker kill someone, and that information would seem incredibly important to anyone who wanted to find the man who killed Darlene. Yet, no one who knew Darlene ever reported this crucial information to police in the years between 1969 and 1977.
In the days, weeks, months, and years after Darlene’s murder, police questioned her family, friends, and coworkers in an effort to identify the killer. No one mentioned a stalker, but some people did remember a man named “George” who had bothered Darlene at work. Police interviewed George and his wife provided an alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the murder. In later years, the stories about George were transformed into stories about a mysterious stalker. Police also interviewed Pam and Linda, but the sisters never mentioned a stalker. Hours after Darlene was killed, Linda told police that a man named “Lee” was one of Darlene’s “three closest friends.” Linda never told police that this man had been bothering or following her sister, and she never shared this important information in the eight years after the murder. Pam, Linda, the babysitter and others interviewed during the original investigation never told police that Darlene claimed to have witnessed a murder.
In 1977, the babysitter told police the story about the mysterious man parked outside Darlene’s home. Police investigated and then learned that a highway patrolman had encountered a possible suspect named William Joseph Grant (aka Andrew Todd Walker in the book Zodiac). Some witnesses claimed to recognize Walker/Grant as a man who allegedly “spent many hours at the restaurant where Darlene worked as a waitress.” A report written by Vallejo police Lt. Jim Husted stated that the identification of Walker/Grant had “been verified by a VPD Officer, Officer [Steve] Baldino who picked the subject’s picture out of a lineup indicating he had been seen in there [Darlene’s place of work] conversing with the deceased.”
During an interview for Geraldo Rivera’s tabloid television show Now It Can Be Told, former Vallejo police officer Steve Baldino claimed that he had listened to an audio recording of the Zodiac’s phone call to the Vallejo police shortly after the Ferrin murder. Nancy Slover, the police dispatcher who answered the call, refuted Baldino’s claim and stated unequivocally the telephone call was not recorded. Slover explained that the Vallejo police department had not installed the equipment necessary to record incoming phone calls. Baldino’s claim to have heard a recording of the Zodiac’s voice which apparently never existed raised questions about his credibility.
Police also interviewed Darlene’s sisters. Pam and Linda both identified Walker/Grant as the sinister stranger. Tom Voigt, owner of Zodiackiller.com, claimed that Linda sent him an email claiming that Arthur Leigh Allen was the man who had been stalking Darlene, contradicting her earlier identification of William Joseph Grant aka Andrew Todd Walker. According to a document written by Harvey Hines, Linda had also identified Larry Kane as the man who had been stalking Darlene. The available information indicated Linda had identified three different people as the same individual— Grant, Kane and Allen.
According to Hines, Darlene’s sister Pam also identified Larry Kane as Darlene’s stalker. In the report of his investigation, Hines wrote, “In March of 1988, I made contact with Pam Huckaby. Pam is the sister of Darlene Ferrin. Pam agreed to meet at my residence to see if she could identify the suspect. When she arrived a few days later, I shower her a single picture of Kane. I had not prepared a formal legal picture lineup for her to view. I did, however, admonish her about the fact that the picture shown may or may not be a suspect and this it was important not to identify a person unless she was certain. After looking at the picture she told that she was certain Kane was the man her sister had told her she was afraid of and had seen kill someone. Pam also told me that she had already identified another man’s picture that she had been shown to her by two other person that were conducting an investigation into the Zodiac homicides. She said both suspects looked very familiar. I asked her is she knew the name of the person she had previously identified and she said she thought it was [William Joseph] Grant.”
Sandy Betts claimed that she had been stalked by a mysterious man and his co-conspirators for decades. According to Betts, members of Darlene’s family also identified that man as Darlene’s stalker. Sandy wrote, “Darlene’s sister and I became friends and lived in the same town in the 90’s, she was getting the same kind of calls as I, from a man claiming to be the Zodiac. I saw him so often following me around town that the police told me to take his picture, so I did! Darlene’s family saw his picture and said this is the man they saw in Vallejo bothering Darlene!” Betts claimed that this stalker was not Larry Kane.
Like Sandy Betts, Pam often claimed that she was being stalked by a mysterious man who may have been the Zodiac killer, as described by writer Rider McDowell.
Richard Gaikowski’s original accuser, Blaine Blaine aka Goldcatcher, wrote a lengthy manuscript detailing his exploits as an amateur sleuth. Blaine claimed that he sent photographs of Gaikowski and others to Pam. Blaine wrote, “The result was that Pam [Huckaby] identified Gaikowski” as the stalker. The available information indicated that Pam had identified at least four different people as the same individual— Grant, Kane, Sandy’s stalker, and Gaikowski.
According to some accounts, Darlene’s other sister Christine allegedly identified former Manson family member Bruce Davis as Darlene’s stalker and/or a man she claimed was arguing with Darlene on the night of the murder. Christine’s identification, Linda’s three identifications, and Pam’s four identifications meant that Darlene’s sisters had all identified six different people as the same single individual. One of those six men was Larry Kane.
Kathleen Johns had identified Larry Kane as the man who allegedly abducted her in 1970. Darlene’s sisters Pam, Linda and Christine identified at least six men as being the one man who allegedly stalked Darlene, meaning their identifications of Kane and the other five men could not be considered valid. An anonymous posting on the internet claimed that Kane was at Lake Berryessa on the day of the Zodiac attack there in 1969, but no one provided any credible evidence that they saw Kane or that they were even at Lake Berryessa on that day. More than two decades after that attack, Bryan Hartnell thought Kane’s voice sounded somewhat similar to Zodiac’s voice. San Francisco police officer Don Fouke said that Kane resembled the Zodiac suspect and assessed the possibility that Kane was the suspect as a “maybe.” He warned too much time had passed for any positive identification. Fouke and Hartnell had not identified Kane. Two other witnesses allegedly identified Kane as the man who may have abducted and killed Donna Lull in a case which has never been linked to the Zodiac crimes. In total, one person who may have been connected to the Zodiac case had identified Kane— Kathleen Johns. This list of witnesses did not indicate that Larry Kane was the Zodiac.