FBI officials confirmed Tuesday they have sent Theodore Kaczynski's fingerprints to police investigating the Zodiac serial slayings of the late 1960s, but authorities were skeptical of any links.
Nothing found in Kaczynski's Montana cabin connects him to the man who signed the name "Zodiac" on taunting letters to police, said a Unabomber task force member who spoke on condition of anonymity.Police say the Zodiac murdered five people and wounded two in a series of attacks around the San Francisco Bay area, although the serial killer claimed 40 slayings in his letters.
The killings eventually stopped, but the Zodiac was never caught and the case has officially remained open, although one prime suspect died in 1992. After Kaczynski's arrest, police investigators approached the FBI.
"The San Francisco police department has requested from us any evidence that would possibly assist them in identifying the Zodiac," said FBI spokesman George Grotz. "At this point what were talking about is fingerprints, palm prints, any possible handwriting samples."
Since the Unabomber investigation led to Kaczynski's arrest, amateur sleuths have pointed to coincidences between the cases.
Kaczynski was in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1967-1969 when the Zodiac killings took place. All the letters of the word "Zodiac" are contained in his first and last names.
Kaczynski was a math professor at the University of California-Berkeley, and the Zodiac used the mathematics of astrology in his letters.
Like the Unabomber, the Zodiac wrote taunting letters to authorities. The Zodiac said he was "too clever" for police, while the Unabomber referred to the FBI as "a joke."
And he told one surviving victim he lived near Lincoln, Mont. - where Kaczynski eventually moved.
"Some of it is pretty farfetched, but there are enough similarities for us to at least look at it," said Vince Repetto, a San Francisco homicide investigator.
Michael Rustigan, a criminology professor at San Francisco State University has followed both cases, and said he doubts Kaczynski or the Unabomber is the Zodiac.
The Zodiac, he notes, killed with guns and knives.
"It's a rarity to find a serial bomber who would also do a homicide at close quarters," Rustigan said. "Most serial bombers are not hands-on - they're the nerdy, cerebral type. We don't see serial killers flip-flopping around."
Another obstacle is eyewitness descriptions. The Zodiac was described as a shorter, heavyset man, while Kaczynski is tall and slim.
And while the Unabomber and Zodiac both taunted police, that is common among serial killers, Rustigan said. More significant is the poor spelling and grammar in the Zodiac's letters, compared with the Unabomber's more academic prose.
And most importantly, many investigators believe they know who the Zodiac was. Arthur Leigh Allen died in August 1992 and police found evidence in his Vallejo home linking him to the case, Rustigan said.
"He was a suspect for quite a few years but they never had enough on him," the criminologist said. "But the consensus in local law enforcement was that this was probably the guy."