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Will DNA Solve 1969 Zodiac Murders?

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Copperhead
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« on: May 03, 2009, 02:13:17 am »

William Collins, a journalism graduate student in New York, has a theory about someone ke knew well. "My father, Charles Clifton Collins, may be the Zodiac Killer," he told Primetime. Collins made the connection when he saw the Zodiac's handwriting in a book a few years ago. "I thought, 'Oh my God, that's my dad's handwriting,'" he says.

As he read the book, he found more coincidences:

His father, who died in 1993, looked like the composite sketch. The father wore military-style shoes, size 10 ½. He lived in San Francisco only during the time of the killings. His initials, CCC, appeared on a card sent by the Zodiac to rile police.

Collins gave Primetime an envelope sealed — and licked — by his father a decade ago, as well as a sample of his own DNA for verification.

"I need to know if Charles Clifton Collins, my father, the guy who held me when I was a baby … was a serial killer," he said. "I have to know. I have to know."

Possible DNA Trace Found

In initial tests on the three Zodiac envelopes provided by Primetime's source, Holt, the San Francisco police lab supervisor, found a possible trace of genetic material behind one of the stamps. "I can tell you that there's an indication that there may be DNA from one of the stamps," she said.

Holt and her colleagues are conducting further tests to see whether the material can provide sufficient DNA information to enable them to compare it with the database of known criminals — and with the men identified by the three amateur sleuths.

To date, the San Francisco Police Department has found only a faint result in DNA testing on the three envelopes newly discovered by the Primetime source. But the partial profile found on one of the envelopes that was already in the department's files — one containing a card sent on Nov. 8, 1969 — does allow investigators to draw some conclusions.

"I found a partial DNA fingerprint from a male individual who — at some time — has had contact with the stamp," said Dr. Cydne Holt, supervisor of the department's DNA lab. Investigators are working on the assumption that the man who licked the stamp was the Zodiac Killer.

Holt found four out of a possible nine DNA markers, plus an indicator of gender confirming that the killer was a male.

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