Martha Marie Smith -- March 15, 1966 Message Board: Other Possible Zodiac Victims: Martha Marie Smith -- March 15, 1966

By Tom Voigt (Admin) ( - on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 - 07:19 pm:

San Francisco Examiner
Wednesday, March 16, 1966

Male Togs Clue in Girl's Killing

Pretty Martha Marie Smith, 19, was kneeling
before her bed as if in prayer when her mother
found her. But it was an illusion.

The girl's body, half nude with a man's pajama
top pulled up and wrapped around her arms, was bound
hand and foot and slashed with dozens of wounds. Police sought a sadist as her killer today.

This was the terrible experience of Mrs. Alice
Renner, who went to her daughter's apartment at 3:30
p.m. yesterday.

Martha's body, with 35 to 40 stab wounds and
four long slashes on her chest and abdomen, was mute
evidence that a maniac had comitted the murder, police

What could be the best clue was a box of men's
clothing, found in the apartment.

An autopsy disclosed that 5-foot, 7-inch, 135-
pound pretty brunette had not been sexually assaulted.
Police said they found no evidence she had been

It was the second such brutal slaying since
January when another San Francisco woman, Mrs.
Kathleen Kirchgessner, a 38 year old divorcee, was
found stabbed to death under similar circumstances.

The murder of Mrs. Kirchgessner in her Van Ness
Avenue apartment is still unsolved. She had been
stabbed six times and was found with a washcloth
in [her] mouth.

In Martha's apartment at 1345 16th Ave., a tilted
wall picture and jerked down window shades were the
only visible clues that a struggle preceded the

Martha's legs had been tied with a pair of men's
pajama bottoms and her hands with part of a floral
print pillow case that had been torn at the seams.
Another piece of the cloth was around her neck.

An autopsy disclosed that death was caused by
three of the stab wounds that had penetrated her

Coroner Henry W. Turkel said death probably
occurred Sunday night and that the girl had apparently
been beaten about the mouth and chin, indicating she
had been knocked uncounscious before she was stabbed.
There was also evidence she had been tied up before
she was stabbed because the cloth around her neck
had slices in it.

"Obviously it was the work of a sadist or
maniac," Homicide Inspector Gus Coreris said.

The entire homicide detail joined Coreris and
Inspector John Fotinos on the case.

Mrs. Renner and her husband, Edward, became
worried yesterday. They hadn't heard from Martha
since Sunday and had learned she hadn't appeared for
work Monday or Tuesday at Levi Strauss, where she had
been employed since last May.

The hysterical mother persuaded the landlord to
open the apartment door when nobody answered the bell
or repeated knocks.

Neighbors told police that they had heard no
screams or sounds of struggle in the apartment, where
Martha had lived alone and quietly for several months. The murder weapon, believed to be a paring knife, was not found.

The last known person to see Martha alive is
Diane Henrickson, 21, of 1282 Fourth Ave., a friend
and co-worker.

She told police she had dinner at Martha's
apartment Sunday afternoon and left her friend in
good spirits at about 5:30.

Miss Henrickson returned with police to the
apartment last night and said it was in the same
condition as when she left. She noted that the
dinner dishes, both in the living room and in the
kitchen, were still unwashed and the radio still

Her disclosure led police to believe the killer
probably arrived soon after Miss Henrickson departed
and that perhaps he waited nearby until Martha was

Police learned also that Martha, a June 1964
graduate of George Washington High School, was popular
and in the habit of entertaining a large number of
yound male friends. However, she had no steady boy

The girl, who also worked part time as a door-to-
door cometics salesgirl, had planned a trip to Canada
this September with another girl friend.

There was evidence she had prepared to retire
after washing some of her sweaters and underclothing
in the bathroom, and had put her hair up in curlers.

She had apparently been reading a book, "The
Spy Who Came in from the Cold," when her assailant

The girl may have admitted her kiler - a person
she may have known - because she had carefully laid
the open book on a chair near her bed before she was
attacked, police said.

Martha was one of three children. She has a
brother stationed with the Air Force in Idaho and a
14 year old sister. Her father is dead. Her
mother married Renner, a teamster, six months ago.

By Mike_D (Mike_D) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 11:37 am:

Creepy.Was the "prayer"position deliberate posturing on the killers part?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 04:49 pm:

When I read certain accounts like the above, it sometimes reminds me of those chilling typed words produced in 1966:"She is not the first..."
It's good Tom is posting these horrific accounts as one never knows if there will be a link.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 05:09 pm:

Thanks, Howard...however the credit goes to my awesome sources.

Interesting how she was described as a "pretty brunette". Just a few months later the Riverside confession letter contained similar phrasing.

By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 05:53 pm:

She was apparently killed on March 13th (Sunday) -- five years later Zodiac would send the L.A. Times letter.


By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 06:52 pm:

I go back to my "stabbing in the Sunset District"
account (an incident that happened to a young woman named April who attended the church my family went to in 1965). It was very Zodiacesque, no sexual overtures, her purse untouched.
I remember people saying at the time--it was as if the man simply wanted to stab someone.
Tom, I wonder if the police report would be available on this crime.

By Tom Voigt (Admin) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 07:51 pm:

Here's a follow-up story on the murder. Amazingly, the reporter uses the term "shapely brunette" to describe the victim.

San Francisco Examiner
Thursday, March 17, 1966
Police Probe into a Brief Life

Police probed the background of pretty Martha
Marie Smith today for a clue to her sadistic killer.

A search of the 19 year old victim's apartment
at 1345 16th Ave., neighboring stairs, corridors,
roofs, alleyways and lightwells failed to produce the
missing key piece of evidence in the case -- a slim-
bladed instrument which was plunged repeatedly into
her body.

With the lack of physical evidence, homicide
inspectors turned to accumulating all possible
information on the brief life of the shapely brunette.

They again questioned Diana Hendrickson, 21, who
aside from the murderer, apparently was the last to
see the victim alive.

Also providing background was Monte Harris, a
cab driver once married to Martha's mother.

The picture that emerged is of a girl, prettier
than most, ambitious, seemingly well adjusted and
popular with young males but with no steady boyfriend.

The girl was known to her friends as Martha Marie
Harris when she was a graduate of George Washington
High School in 1964.

At Washington, Martha is remembered as a student
who received "satisfactories" with a sprinkling of
"E's" (for execellent) in her college preparatory
and business school courses.

In one of the counseling questionnaires on her
attitude toward life, her answer was: "I am very
happy with life."

In the same month as graduation, Martha was
accepted as a trainee operator by Pacific Telephone
and Telegraph Company here.

At that time, apparently, she adopted the name
Smith, after her real father, Lorance [sic] Smith,
who died when she was a small child.

Her pattern, according to police, remained the
same during her postgraduation career - a quiet girl,
prompt to pay her rent and bills, attractive to and
attracted by males but with no steady boyfriend.

In their tracings, police have learned the girl
lived in Sebastopol in Sonoma county and attended
Analy High School there for six months as a
freshman. She was quiet and a good student.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 08:22 pm:

... Martha was accepted as a trainee operator by Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company here. (italics mine)

Interesting... didn't Darlene also work for some phone company in the city as well?

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 08:35 pm:

Pam wrote in the thread Other Suspects: Mike Mageau on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 08:39 am:

I believe Darlene is the key to this whole entire killings and I believe it goes back as far as when she went to work for the telephone company in SF. (italics mine)

By Kendra (Kendra) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 10:33 pm:

Okay,now that's weird...

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 10:36 pm:

Good job, Ed. Darlene definitely did work for PT&T in San Francisco...

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 10:51 pm:

Don't forget the cab driver.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, September 12, 2002 - 11:24 pm:

Pam wrote:

Where by the way Richard Gaikowski worked also, also he worked at Allied Cab company.

At least we know it wasn't Stine who used to drive Darlene around the City. He started working for Yellow Cab in August 1969.

By Kendra (Kendra) ( - on Friday, September 13, 2002 - 12:45 am:

Now it gets really bizarre. I, like Martha Marie, went to Analy High for a brief period before moving to San Francisco (and finishing high school there, but not at Washington, thank goodness). Scarrrry...

By Zander Kite (Zk) ( - on Friday, September 13, 2002 - 12:09 pm:

Doesn't it appear that the Riverside writer borrowed from the beginning of the followup Examiner article? Examiner: "A search of the victims apartment,..alleyways,..failed to produce the missing key piece.. that was plunged into her body repeatedly. Riverside: "Keep your sisters, daughters, and wives off the streets and alleys. "I plunged the knife into her and it broke." And the most obvious one: "shapely brunette" has already been pointed out.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Friday, September 13, 2002 - 02:12 pm:

If CJB was in fact a Z victim, maybe Z wasn't in Riverside all that long before her murder. Maybe he was just there for the weekend or something, and business or family related things kept him there long enough to write the letters.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, September 13, 2002 - 09:59 pm:

One can obtain autopsy reports by e mailing your request to the cornerers office to the area in question.I get them free,but some require you to pay for the reports.
I just obtained four reports recently.You can get info in an autopsy that the PD reports contain in some cases.
The cases that Tom has posted and Sylvie mentioned should be requested.Remember the Bates revelations!

By Mike_D (Mike_D) ( - on Saturday, September 14, 2002 - 05:31 pm:

Wasn't it in back of Washington High a body was found in the early 70's?I'll have to break out my GS!Anyway those loose bindings remind me.Because of when RCC library closed-9.00-and when people heard screams 10.30ish I've often wondered if CJB
was tied up for a certain time.Perhaps she only struggled at the last second.Bindings like on the Smith girl might not leave burns or marks like rope.Obviously he'd have to have removed them from the scene but who knows.....
I once read a novel bout a killer who kept victims gagged til the last moment then took it off to because the death scream turned him on!
I wonder if the Riverside killer was like that.Untying her would have made for more sport...

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Saturday, September 14, 2002 - 05:58 pm:

The case I was posting on would not be in the autopsy reports because she did not die, she was injured though - stabbed in the eye and slashed on both wrists. That after being asked for her purse (she handed it over and it was left on the ground after the assault.)
Howard, you astutely brought up the Riverside poem in relation to the wrist slashing before.
I only bring this up in this thread because it was
60's San Francisco and not too far from Van Ness.
Tom, my mother says she remembers the Van Ness case pretty well as she was reading about it in the SF papers and watching the News. However she says she recalls very well that there was an eyewitness that did see an unknown "large man" leaving the apt. building at the time the crime would have occurred.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( - on Saturday, September 14, 2002 - 07:44 pm:

Perhaps Z was a woman, disguised as a man. That would explain a lot.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Sunday, September 15, 2002 - 07:12 pm:

We laugh,but in Ripper circles(I have researched the case for a deversion and take the journals,etc.) there is the Jill the Ripperette theory!Some reseacher/s put forth that the Ripper could have been a female and thus gained the confidence of her intended victims and of course, she could then easily have eluded the police who were seeking a male suspect.
So when someone comes up with Zodiacette I won't be too surprised.
I have felt for some time now that the Zodiac case is going the way of the infamous Ripper(guess it'll be Jack the Zipper!)case.For example, there is a constant supply of new Ripper suspects-and some of them are very fascinating and interesting- added to the Ripper suspect list.We have seen the same thing with the Z case.
When the search net goes out in these kinds of unsolved cases some will 'fit' the profile(the Law of averages sees to it!) and to the discoverer of the the new suspect it is the perp.
There are at least some 70 similarities between the R case and the Z case.
Let's hope that hardcoe evidence wins the day and the case!

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Sunday, September 15, 2002 - 07:19 pm:

Mike D.,
In the autopsy report I posted on my site, it clearly shows that CJB was not bound.A great many "lacerations',but no indications she was tied up in any fashion.
Sorry I got off subject Tom!

By Kendra (Kendra) ( - on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 01:18 am:

Mike D- yes,there was a young woman that had been killed and her body found at Washington High (parking lot). I thought of that also when I read this article. I don't recall the details, but it's included in Tom's tape. Weird, huh?

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 01:23 am:

O.J. went to nearby Galileo High School, but that was probably just a coincidence. Probably.

A few bodies were found around San Francisco high schools during the early 1970s. It seems that back then in California you were either a killer or a victim.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 06:45 pm:

I wonder if the Keystone Kops (aka SFPD; cue "Yakety Sax") ever even considered thinking about the remote possibility of the probability of there being even the slightest inkling of any sort of connection between any of these crimes?

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 11:00 pm:

It seems rather obvious, at least from the information that Tom has made available, that the likelihood of these murders Tom has been posting of late are indeed related. I wouldn't go too hard on the police however; serial murder, relatively speaking, was a pretty new phenomenon in the mid to late sixties. As to whether or not they were the work of the Zodiac, one thing is certain: He didn't take credit for any of them. In my mind, this fact speaks volumes.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 09:13 am:

Nevertheless, IMHO, it's quite possible that Tom's investigative prowess with regard to Zodiac has unearthed something equally horrible: A different serial killer, maybe even more than one. Either that, or he has turned the tides on the Zodiac saga completely by demonstrating the possibility of the Zodiac as a very prolific killer. Any other ideas?

That's some damn fine investigative work, Tom. I'm starting to see [I think] a pattern here that is simply too disturbing to ignore. Hell, maybe it was Zodiac's doing, but I can't get around the fact that Zodiac definitely insinuated that Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday were his first victims. Does that necessarily negate any murders prior too December 20, 1968? Interesting conundrum.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 11:03 am:

"Ask the Vallejo cop[Lundblad]about my electric gunsight that I used to START my collecting of slaves."I don't think Zodiac saw a contradiction between this statement and the '71 reference to his "riverside activity'...and "there are a hell of a lot more down there."
I personally think that the reason he mentions his "collecting of slaves"as the "start" or beginning of his murders in '68 is that he now has a 'new' belief behind his killing-'collecting slaves for his afterlife.'
I don't mean to imply that is the only reason for the murders,but that this is a new and unique series with different connotations for him and this is why he saw no contradiction with his '71 admissions.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 11:41 am:

Scott, I'm lucky to have great sources.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Sunday, September 22, 2002 - 12:59 pm:

San Francisco Chronicle
November 14, 1966

SF Headed for Record Year of Murders

In at least two cases -- those of Kathleen
Kirchgessner, 38, stabbed in her apartment at 2701 Van Ness avenue last January 2, and Martha Marie Smith, 19, stabbed in her apartment at 1345 16th avenue on March 15 -- police have every reason to believe the killer is now in custody.

Both women were patrons of a book and jewelry
peddler who specialized in home calls. He is now in custody in another Bay Area city for a murder similar to the stabbings of the San Francisco women.

San Francisco detectives are convinced by logic
and experience the peddler is the killer of Mrs.
Kirchgessner and Miss Smith, but there is no physical evidence to put the man in either apartment. So the two killings are in the "unsolved" column.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 03:38 am:

Tom, can you find out what Bay Area city,and who was the victim? It would be interesting to find out who this killer was. Coincidentally Darlene's wedding anniversary was Jan 1 ,her B.D.March 17th both dates are Holidays.Z did kill on, or very close to Holidays.S.F has a unsolved 187 done by a door to door salesman pretending to sell Fuller Brushes about 5 yrs ago. Nine pages are missing from Darlene's address book,I wonder if she knew the victim who worked at the phone co.That would have been the right time for Darlene to be working in S.F. Three months into her Marriage to Jim Phillips. Wasn't Sebastopole the town that K. Johns was going to visit her mother? Too many coincidences.

By Kendra (Kendra) ( - on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 07:22 am:

It was Petaluma that K. Johns was going to that fateful night.

By Chrissy Shaw (Chrissy_Shaw) ( - on Sunday, October 06, 2002 - 09:09 pm:

Dear Tom and Group:

Yes sir you do have very wonderful contacts and a great nack at getting out information.

Someone asked if this was a postured guess on such scant evidence is yes. Pretty bold fellow too, coming right in the homes to kill, whoever he was.