Former KOLD anchor interviews new lead in zodiac killer case

Published: Sep. 3, 2008 at 12:52 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 12, 2008 at 7:20 PM MST
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By Scott Kilbury email

He terrorized the San Francisco bay area and taunted police in the 60's and 70's.  New evidence is surfacing to help the FBI identify The Zodiac killer.

Former KOLD News 13 anchor Kris Pickel, who is now working for the CBS station in Sacramento, broke the story with an interview of the man who believes he has a very personal connection to the Zodiac.

"The identity of the zodiac killer is Jack Torrance. He's my stepfather," says Dennis Kaufman.

The Northern California man has year of research compiled in a tiny storage room.

"Am I obsessed?" He asked. "No, obligated"

Kaufman has dedicated 8 years of his life.  He's been consumed, attempting to prove the only father he's known since he was five years old is the Zodiac killer.

"This is a handwriting comparison I did," Kaufman declared while showing up the samples.  He believes the similarites... To strong to be coincidence.

"The composite is a dead ringer," Kaufman observes.

A resemblence... Undenaible between pictures of jack tarrance and discriptions of the Zodiac.   Dennis also claims his stepfather, in a taped phone conversation, indirectly admitted being the Zodiac killer .

Kaufman put together a documentary on his step father who died in 2006.  He also claims while going through his dead stepfather's belonging, more evidence to support his theory.

"There were disturbing finds," Kaufman said. "Including this knife.. Still covered with what could possibly be dried blood. It could be a knife he bbq with or a knife he murdered someone with."

Jack also left behind rolls of undeveloped film. Kaufman plans to hand over to  the FBI.  One roll was developed but the images were too gruesome to show on camera.  The images were apparent murder victims.

The telling evidence came when Kaufman went through an old PA system.   His stepfather continually asked him to look at it and when he finally did take it apart he was taken aback.

"When I first opened it up that did affect me. My heart skipped a couple of beats when I saw it," Kaufman said.

The material folded and tucked inside... Dennis believes may unmask the Zodiac killer.  A Black hood with a Zodiac symbol on it.

In 1968, at Lake Berryessa, A couple, Cecelia Shephard and Bryan Hartnell were stabbed.   Hartnell survived.  He described his attacker as wearing a black hood that fell  to his waste.  On it... Sewn the symbol of the Zodiac.

"I was definitely in shock when i saw this," Kaufman said while holding up the dark cloth.  Kaufman this is the hood worn during the vicious attack. The possible key evidnce connecting  his stepfather to the killings.   He also believes there are dozens more victims.... Never linked to the Zodiac.

Kaufman says his own mother was suffocated.

"She sat there and told me Jack was trying to kill her and I didn't listen,"  Kaufman said. "I can only imagine how she felt. Imagine how scary that would be. That is what  kept me going this whole time."

The FBI is currenty working up a dna profile of jack tarrance to compare to  the DNA profile of the Zodiac killer.

A link to this story can be found at