A Daughter Changes Her Mind About Zodiac Killer's Identity

'I think you're right,' Gloria Doerr says to author who accused her dad
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2022 6:00 AM CDT
Is Her Father the Zodiac Killer? She Confronts the Possibility
This is a copy of a cryptogram sent to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 by the Zodiac Killer.   (San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

San Francisco police still have not figured out the identity of the infamous Zodiac Killer, a man who killed at least five and injured two in the late 1960s. Over the years, amateur sleuths digging into the killer's taunting letters and ciphers to police have put forth countless suspects, and a story at Los Angeles Magazine looks at one in particular—while uncovering a jarring coincidence. The piece by Aaron Gell explores author Jarrett Kobek's theory that an eclectic, sometimes violent man named Paul Doerr is the killer. Kobek finds mountains of circumstantial evidence—particularly how Doerr's hobbies and interests dovetail with what's known about the killer—and the story goes into detail. But Gell also interviews Doerr's daughter, Gloria Doerr, which is where things get more interesting.

Gloria Doerr was angry and incredulous when Kobek first went public with his theory, and Gell is there as she and Kobek meet for the first time. They pore over old photos, and she tells Kobek stories about her late father. One night in December 1968, when Gloria was a teen, she says her father viciously beat her because he thought (inaccurately) she'd been fooling around with boys. He had what seemed like a "psychotic break" during the beating, per Gell, and Gloria thinks he would have killed her had he not snapped out of it. She left home that night, never to live there again. Kobek looks at a calendar and realizes the Zodiac Killer claimed his first victims later that very night, at a teen makeout spot. Gloria takes all this in and says to Kobek of his theory: "I think you’re right." (Read the full, fascinating story.)

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