Who was Lawrence Kane, Zodiac suspect, and why the renewed interest in him?

Bruno Cooke April 14, 2022
Who was Lawrence Kane, Zodiac suspect, and why the renewed interest in him?

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French-Moroccan researcher and polytechnician Fayçal Ziraoui claims to have deciphered the two remaining (and “indecipherable”) cryptograms sent by the Zodiac killer, namely Z 32 and Z 13. The result points to Zodiac suspect Lawrence Kane, or Kaye, who died in 2010. But who is Kane?

What do we know about Zodiac suspect Lawrence Kane?

Born Lawrence Klein to parents Morris H Klein and Sarah Benjamin, in New York, April 1924, Kane had two brothers. However, they both died during infancy, and he grew up as an only child.

Kane joined the US Navy during the Second World War, and served Active Duty in 1943, receiving an honourable discharge.

However, he would later use several aliases in order to conceal his identity.

He was arrested several times during the 1960s on charges such as shoplifting, theft and “prowling”. His name went through various spellings, including Larry Kane, Lawrence Klein, Lawrence Kaye, Lawrence Kane and Larry Caine.

On what grounds was he a suspect?

At the times of the Zodiac’s activity, Kane was in his mid-forties, stood at 5ft 9in and weighed 160lb.

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Original Caption

His tendency to create aliases featured in the investigations of police officer Harvey Hines, for whom Kane was a primary suspect.

Hines also highlighted the correlation between physical descriptions of the Zodiac killer, and Kane’s appearance.

The officer compiled a “psychological profile” of suspect Kane. It describes him as a “loner”, “conartist-deceitful” and “indifferent to women”.

He was also allegedly living near to where Paul Stine was killed, and was identified by Kathleen Jones in 1993 as the person who abducted her and her baby in 1970.

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What happened to Lawrence Kane?

In September 1962, Lawrence Kane sustained severe head injuries in a head-on collision with a cement truck.

He was the sole occupant of his vehicle, which struck the truck on a freeway in the San Mateo area, and received multiple surgeries for his injuries.

Three years later, according to page 2 of Hines’ profile, a psychological evaluation indicated that “Kane was loosing control of self gratification”.

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A letter and a blood-soaked piece of shirt have alerted San Francisco police to the possibility that the slayer of cab driver Paul Stine might be the same man how killed four others in the Bay Area in the last year. This note was mailed to the local paper along with a piece of cloth believed torn from the cab driver’s shirt. The note stated that the writer was the killer “of the people in the north bay area”–a reference to the unsolved slayings at Lake Berryessa in Napa County and Vallejo.

But the Zodiac case is still officially open. Although the San Francisco Police have acknowledged receipt of Fayçal Ziraoui’s work on the ciphers, this does not confirm the veracity of the research.

Kane died on 20 May, 2010 at the age of 86 in Nevada. At the time, he was living under the name Lawrence Cane.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.