Autopsy Report of Pat Tan














Tan's feet were "on the ground." (She was hung to death?)


Double clove hitch knots were used. This, for some reason, was not in the autopsy. This is hardly a knot a young woman would use or even be aware of. In a news article, the San Francisco Examiner noted this fact and was somewhat suspicious of the use of this type of knot. She had numerous "small leaves and twigs" in her hair, probably indicating she was on the the ground at some point.


She had superficial lacerations on her left index finger and an abrasion on the left wrist area. The upper left leg was swollen. This may indicate these wounds were defensive to some degree. If Tan did not place the band aids then did a killer? If this was framed to look like a suicide then this may have been what happened.


Zodiac wrote "I shall no longer announce to any one when I commit my murders, they shall look like routine robberies, killings of anger, & a few fake accidents, etc." This "etc." could mean a fake suicide, too. The writing of "By rope" in his card and his remarks about not announcing his murders, and the  perfectly timed letter sent the day after her death on Mt. Tam could link Tan to Zodiac. Zodiac could have strangled her with the "woven" ropes/cords and hung her (with the premise presented by this site the perpetrator could have had help) on the tree limb and any forensic report would note the rope marks and link them to the pressure marks of hanging, not strangulation.


Zodiac wrote, "Others will hang by their thumbs & burn in the sun . . . " (emphasis ours) and, "have fun trying to figgure (sic) out who I killed."


Pat Tan's bag of toiletries was also on scene which hardly seems to warrant the notion she was getting ready to take her own life! Why not kill herself in a motel instead of on a "very steep" hard to get to place? Why make it so difficult and hide one's self to the point where your own family would never know what happened to you. She was not that kind of person.


Where was her purse? It was not found in the Greyhound bus terminal in San Francisco along with her suitcase and sport bag. Tan had the locker key on her person as if she meant to return to get her belongings. Many killers take their victims purses. Zodiac took Paul Stine's wallet and keys.


Deceiving the police was a delight for Zodiac and setting up a "fake" suicide would be part and parcel of his nature as a killer. He would make a "puzzle" out of it with subtle clues like a strategic letter date and a reference to using rope to kill.


Pat Tan was known to have had film equipment but none of this was found. If she were on drugs at the time of her death then there may be further reason to claim she took her own life. She was known to have taken LSD and marijuana but not only were there no drugs present neither was alcohol.


The coroner noted that the case scenario was "unusual" (as are Zodiac's crimes and letters) and this site feels the same way! Police reporter and Zodiac expert Dave Peterson felt at the time of this happening that Zodiac could have been involved.


Also see the Autopsy Interpretations page.


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