Karen Ann Signore -- May 10, 1971

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Other Possible Zodiac Victims: Karen Ann Signore -- May 10, 1971

By Tom Voigt (Admin) (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 01:49 pm:

San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, May 12, 1971

Coed Slain in Santa Barbara Hills

A pretty hitchhiker died of gunshot wounds on an operating table in Santa Barbara yesterday shortly after she was found on Coyote road in the hills overlooking the city.

Homicide detectives said at least five bullets -- fired pointblank -- struck Karen Ann Signore, 21, who last month had withdrawn as a student at the nearby University of California campus.

"I was hitchhiking," were the only words Miss Signore managed to gasp out to William Richardson, a motorist who spotted her body just off the roadway, before she lapsed into unconsciousness. The young woman was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Santa Barbara where she died shortly after midnight while undergoing emergency surgery.

Detectives said bullets fired by the killer struck Miss Signore in an arm, a leg, stomach, chest and back. There was no immediate indication of a motive.

Detective Sergeant Homer Aguilar of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office said the "direction of the investigation at this stage is to try and find out where the victim was picked up - from that we may find out who picked her up and then, most brutally, killed her."

Miss Signore, whose parents live in Bonita, San Diego county, enrolled at UCSB in 1968 as an English major. She was taking junior class courses at the time she decided to drop out of school for, friends told police, "personal reasons." She lived in an apartment in Isla Vista, a community of students next to the campus.

Aguilar was checking out reports of gunfire, sounding like a high-powered rifle, heard in the Santa Barbara Hills over the weekend. He said it had not been determined whether Miss Signore had been shot with a pistol or rifle.

San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, May 13, 1971

Dying Girls Last Words at Hospital

Karen Ann Signore spoke a few words to hospital officials before she died, Sheriff's Sergeant Homer Aguilar disclosed yesterday. Aguilar would not disclose what she told hospital personnel before she died early Tuesday.

Aguilar said it was learned that Miss Signore, 21, who attended the University until April, had left her Isla Vista apartment Monday evening, hitchhiked to downtown Santa Barbara, and spent some time at a sauna at the City Recreation Center.

His theory of events after that is that Miss Signore was picked up while hitchhiking back to Isla Vista, taken to a lonely stretch of Coyote road in the hills behind the city and shot.

Four .22 caliber gunshot wounds in the upper chest and abdomen were disclosed by an autopsy.

San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday, May 15, 1971

Coed Was Slain Minutes after Ride

Pretty UC dropout Karen Ann Signore was slain within ten minutes of being picked up while hitchhiking Monday night, lawmen revealed yesterday.

Sheriff's Inspector Peter Zanella said, "It was just as if somebody were driving around with this purpose in mind -- to pick up somebody and kill them."

Zanella said a woman motorist gave the 21-year- old Miss Signore a ride to a crossroads in Montecito, in the hills east of here, about 9:45 p.m. A few minutes after 10 p.m. she was found a mile away, on lonely Coyote road.

Detectives also revealed that a stolen Volkswagen was found in a field about a half-mile from where Miss Signore was found. Suspicious "spots" in the car are being chemically analyzed, they said.

Miss Signore grew up in Westport, Conn., the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Domenico Signore, who now live in Bonita in San Diego county. She dropped out of the University of California at Santa Barbara last month, and had been working as a model, lawmen said.

By Nick (Nick) ( on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 03:05 am:

Of all the 'other possible zodiac victim's', this one catches my eye. There are many, many parallels to the known victims. And if Z was evenly remotely truthful with his scorecard, who knows.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-151-197-27-167.phil.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 06:22 am:

This one interests me as well.

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-90-84.client.attbi.com - on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 02:38 pm:

I would like to know if it was Miss Signore who spoke about it being a woman who picked her up at 9:45pm.OR did someone call the police to report she had given this girl a ride ? I ask this because one of the known suspects dress's as a woman at times.Also if the perp was connected to the stolen VW,and left it near by,then wouldn't he have to have someone give him a ride back? I would love to read the full reports on both of these victims.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar17-4-61-198-194.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - 06:42 pm:

Although it wasn't mentioned, some of you may recall that Karen's death has been discussed on this Board in the past. As a point of reference, our own Peter H. had a very close relationship with her prior to her death, and shared a very moving poem with us that he had written about her and her loss. As the primary investigator on the case from its beginning, it represents one of several which have haunted me continually for decades, and will probably do so for the rest of my days. After so long, in all candor, it still bothers me to even address the case here.

Peter and I have discussed her death on several occasions (mostly in private communications), and some aspects I have shared with him which I will not share here. However, recognizing and respecting the constraints of preserving case integrity, I would be open to answering those questions that fall within my purview and limited memory.

Sandy, Karen received several rides from the Recreation Center that night as she made her way toward a friend's home not far from where she was found mortally wounded in the roadway. We were able to locate and interview each of the people (male and female) who gave her rides, excepting, of course, the last one. The abandoned VW was determined fairly quickly to have no connection to the murder.

And before anyone asks the inevitable question, No, I can't say with any degree of confidence, one way or the other, if Z was involved. As I've said to Peter, and others, I would have to say not, but I simply don't know to any moral certainty. A lot of people, male and female, have been murdered with a .22 caliber weapon while hitchhiking, and a goodly number of people have been arrested and prosecuted for the crimes. But without further indicators which bear Z's "signature," I can't see any compelling reason to believe he was responsible.

By J Eric (J_Eric) (dialup- - on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - 09:57 pm:

As I said about The Domingos/Edwards case, if Z did the foul deed, why didn't he "take credit" for it? But this one gives me the crrreeeps for another reason: in 1974, while traveling cross-country in my van, I parked and slept for the night in an orange orchard in Montecito which must not have been far from Coyote Road. Bill, are you at liberty to reveal if any other Z-style events were taking place around Santa Barbara at that time? (The honking/pull-over following car routine, phone calls to police or family members, items missing from Ms. Signore?)

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar17-4-61-198-194.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - 10:12 pm:

None of the above, to my knowledge.

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-90-84.client.attbi.com - on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 01:13 am:

Thank you Bill. J Eric,I think when the z said he had other victims down south,he wanted us to guess which ones.That was just another part of his game.So if he did do the S.B. crime,and I do feel strongly that he did, he was including them. If we knew each crime he commited over the years,and had a suspect who just happend to be in all these places at the right time, I think it would narrow the list of suspects. He has to be smart enough to know that.Most people leave a paper trail when they move,I have been following as many suspects trails as I can over the years.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-151-199-35-237.bos.east.verizon.net - on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 09:00 am:

Bill has been very generous in his communications with me about Karen, and I wish to thank him again for his candor and compassion. I, too, thought for many years that Karen was a Zodiac victim. As you may imagine, I, too have been haunted by her death. To say the least. I taught her to hitch. We had so many fine trips "thumbing and bumming Dharma and VW vans up the coast". It was my passion about Karen and her fate that brought me to this board in search of the truth, and I hope you will all understand that it is this passion that drives what many here see here as relentless and stubborn argument, and an intolerance for differences. I do have a low tolerance for what I see as undisciplined inquiry, for which I do not apologize, which I sometimes carry to excess, for which I do.
Tom, thanks again for providing the Chronicle artilces: my originals yellowed and turned to dust in my wallet years ago.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 09:00 am:

Z may have been using existing unsolveds as red herrings.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-151-199-35-237.bos.east.verizon.net - on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 12:11 pm:

I agree with Alan on this one, CJB being a case in point. Although I'm not sure how it relates to Karen.