On Dec. 20, 1968, Betty Lou Jensen, 16, and David Faraday, 17, were gunned down with a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol on Lake Herman Road in the rural outskirts of Vallejo, Calif. These were the first murders attributed to the sick mastermind later known as the Zodiac Killer. Nearly two years later, Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, on Dec. 22, 1970.
We probably don’t need Snopes.com to tell us that it’s impossible for an unborn Ted Cruz to be the Zodiac Killer, but this is where we are: The Internet being the Internet sent us down a bottomless rabbit hole on a quest for the truth, which we already had in the first place. The truth isn’t just out there — it’s right behind you!
But the main reason for the #ZodiacTed meme’s persistence, despite its implausibility, is a matter of style over substance. Ted Cruz is creepy enough to be the Zodiac. It’s not that hard to picture the junior senator from Texas roaming around rural Solano County and plugging young couples in lover’s lanes, the bacon grease dripping down the muzzle of his AR15 while he does it. (Bonus points if the couples are undocumented.)
[jump] It’s also not much of a stretch to picture Cruz, the self-proclaimed “Uber of Washington,” brutally killing a cab driver, and then mailing pieces of his bloody shirt to media outlets the way the Zodiac Killer did with the murder of cabbie Paul Stine on Oct. 12, 1969. It doesn’t help Cruz any that he often seems to speak through a series of cryptograms.
Ground zero for this meme appears to be this March 14, 2013 tweet from @RedPillAmerica: “#CPAC Alert: Ted Cruz is speaking!! His speech is titled: 'This Is The Zodiac Speaking.'”
This one tweet has Google algorithms joining Ted Cruz and Zodiac at the hip for probably the rest of their digital lives. You type the words “Is Ted Cruz” into your search bar, and the words Zodiac Killer pop up along with queries asking if the Canadian-born senator is Mexican or American.
From there, we have tweets calling for Cruz to refute being the Zodiac Killer, and Timothy J. Frost (@crulge on Twitter) selling a “Ted Cruz Was the Zodiac Killer” t-shirt and giving the proceeds to the West Fund to support abortion services in West Texas. So far, the “Is Ted Cruz the Zodiac Killer” phenomenon has done more good for the world than Sen. Cruz ever has.
While the Twitterverse is content to demand that Ted Cruz refute he is the murderer of at least five Bay Area people from 1968-69 before he was even born, I feel the need to suggest unsolved serial murders that Cruz could’ve actually been responsible for.
Ted Cruz may not be Zodiac Killer, but it is at least physically possible that he’s the Oakland Torso Murderer.
Ted Cruz was 19 years old on Oct. 17, 1990 when the body of a still-unidentified African-American woman was found floating in the Oakland estuary off the 4000 block of Seventh Street. The headless, limbless body was stuffed in a burlap sack. One of the victim’s legs washed up on the shore three weeks later. Her head and other appendages were never found.
Several months later in May 1991, the dismembered body of Leslie Deneveu, a 43-year-old Berkeley transient, was found floating by the Port of Oakland by fisherman just 100 yards away from where the first corpse was discovered. Like the first victim of the Torso Murderer, Deneveu’s limbless body was stuffed into a burlap bag. Deneveu was identified by a sunburst tattoo on her left shoulder. Her legs were found floating under a pier in July 1991.
The same year that Deneveu’s body was fished out of the Oakland estuary, Ted Cruz penned a scathing editorial for the Daily Princetonian decrying the banning of beer kegs from campus. He also served as the undergraduate chair for the Council of the Undergraduate Community of Princeton. A year later, Cruz was a member of the country’s top ranked debate team, and he received his B.A. in Public Policy from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Whether Cruz had time to dismember people in Oakland with such a full academic and extracurricular schedule is unknown.
However, screenwriter Craig Mazin, Ted Cruz’s college roommate from 1988, just two years before the first Oakland Torso murder, describes Cruz as “a huge asshole” — meaning, he may share at least one more quality with a killer.
Senator, you owe America an answer: are you any number of serial killers?