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The Lake Berryessa murder site

Crime Scene Location in Napa, California

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The Lake Berryessa murder site: Zodiac Killer

This is the site where the Zodiac Killer stabbed Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard.

Hartnell survived the attack, while Shepard died from her injuries.

The area is situated on the western side of Lake Berryessa, about three miles north of a small community called Spanish Flat.

The crime took place on a small island that is connected to Twin Oak Ridge by a sand spit. This island becomes inaccessible between December and February when increased rainfall causes the water level to rise.

Lake Berryessa murder site
Access to the island can be limited, depending on the time of year.

On September 27th, 1969, the two university students were relaxing on the island and reminiscing about old times when they heard a rustling sound coming from a nearby tree.

Because Hartnell wasn't wearing his glasses, he asked Shepard to take a look and see what was happening.

When Shepard turned around, she saw a man standing in the distance. While she was studying the stranger and trying to figure out what he was doing, he stepped out of sight and hid behind the tree for a brief moment.

Seconds later, she became panicked and grabbed Hartnell's arm:

"Oh my God, he has a gun!"

The Zodiac Killer approached the two students holding a pistol and wearing a hooded disguise with a crossed circle on the front.

Zodiac 2007
The island was used as a filming location in the movie Zodiac (2007). To recreate the murder site, the director flew in trees and foliage by helicopter.

After assuring them that he was only going to rob them, the killer handed Shepard some clothesline and ordered her to tie up Hartnell.

Once that was done, he proceeded to tie up Shepard himself.

While they lay there, hog-tied on their stomachs, the killer proceeded to take out a knife and stab them multiple times.

He then left the crime scene and walked 500 meters up the road, where he drew the crossed-circle symbol on Hartnell's car.

Cecelia Shepard murder
The Zodiac Killer hid behind a tree for a few moments before emerging holding a gun. It is likely that he was fixing his disguise and preparing himself for the attack.

Roughly one hour later, the Zodiac Killer claimed responsibility for the attack during an anonymous phone call to the Napa County Sheriff's Office.

Although Hartnell managed to survive, Shepard wasn't as lucky, as she had been stabbed 10 times.

Following the attack, the 22-year-old fell into a coma and died two days later.

Lake Berryessa murder site location

The address and the GPS coordinates for this location are as follows:


Knoxville Rd, Napa, California, CA 94558, USA


To view directions on how to get there, you can use the Google Maps shortcut below:

Google Maps

GPS coordinates

The latitude and longitude coordinates for the site are:

38.563619, -122.231938


To find the exact island, you will need to use the GPS coordinates above. Following the murder, it was unofficially renamed "Zodiac Island." At the time, locals also knew it as "Goat Island".


Photos of the site and other related images.

Zodiac Island

Zodiac Island

Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were lying on the northern side of the island when they heard the sound of rustling leaves.

When Shepard turned around, she saw that a strange man was standing by a tree that was approximately 65–75 feet away.

These days, the original trees are long gone.

In the past, people used to meet up on the island on the anniversary of the murder. Before social media became a thing, this was one of the few ways that true crime fans could discuss the case and share theories about the identity of the Zodiac Killer.

Car door

Car door

The Zodiac Killer was so eager to prove that he was behind the attack that he drew a crossed-circle symbol on Hartnell's car.

He also listed the dates of the Lake Herman Road and Blue Rock Springs murders.

Napa Car Wash

Napa Car Wash

At 7:40 p.m., the killer called the police from a pay phone at the Napa Car Wash.

During the call, he claimed responsibility for the "double murder" and described the make and model of Hartnell's vehicle.

Napa's Main Street is exactly 27 miles south of this island. Google Maps indicates that it would have taken him roughly 45 minutes to drive between the two locations.

It is worth pointing out that this was not the first time that he made such a call. Following the Blue Rock Springs shooting, he was so desperate for attention that he contacted the police from a pay phone in central Vallejo.

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Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac 2007

The Lake Berryessa stabbing is dramatized during a memorable scene in the film Zodiac (2007). The scene was filmed at the exact location where the crime took place.



The killer's disguise in the 2007 movie is pretty accurate.

Hartnell said that he wore a hood, sunglasses, and gloves. There was a crossed circle on the section of the hood that draped down over his chest.

This location belongs to the following categories:

Crime ScenesSerial KillersUnsolved CasesZodiac Killer Locations

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