Donald Gene Harden (March 16, 1928 - March 7, 2012) was the man who solved the 408 cipher along with his wife, Bettye June "Valerie" Harden.
Early life EditDonald Gene Harden was born to J Clinton Harden (1893 -1971) and Ethel Harden (1895- ?) in Michigan. He spent his childhood on 106 courtland Street, Cass County, Dowagiac City, Michigan.His father named him Don G Harden because he believed subtly naming him Don Harden would give him the chance to conquer adversity like a hero. Harden eventually finished elementary, middle and high school. He went to Kalamazoo College from 1950 to 1951. He then went to University of Florida, Gainesville in 1956 for his master degree in education. During his time in University of Florida, Don gain experience by deciphering codes. Harden eventually graduated from the university. Harden began to teach at Howard High School in Orlando, Florida. Don eventually left Howard High School and went to teach at Aurora Central High School in Denver, Colorado in 1960. In 1960, Harden left Aurora Central High School and moved to Salinas, California. He began teaching at North Salinas High School in 1960.
Solving the code Edit
One day, in 1969, Harden and his wife's lives changed completely when a unknown person sent 3 cryptograms to 3 different newspapers. The unknown person demanded that the newspapers print the cryptograms completely or he will go on a rampage. None of the top experts were able to solve the codes completely. One of the newspapers got a call from Harden and his wife, saying that they solved the code completely. Harden told the reporter how he and his wife broke the code completely. The rest is history. Harden got front page on August 9, 1969.
Some time after Harden broke the code, he joined real estate in 1969. He continuing teaching until he retired in 1980. In 1980, he continued to be in real estate. Bettye and Don eventually divorced and she died in 2001. Don remarried in the 1990s. Harden was interviewed several times in 2007.
Harden died peacefully from an illness on March 7, 2012. His body was donated to Science Care and they cremated his body.
Don Harden was said to be a gentle person.His favorite movie was The Man With Two Brains.
Clues that Donald Harden and his wife was Zodiac. Edit
- The initials D and H are hidden in the bus-bomb diagram.
- The 408 cipher. 4=D 0=space 8=H.
- After Harden decoded the 408 cipher The zodiac described himself as "crackproof". Implying no one could or has cracked the code but Zodiac himself.
- The 408 cipher had 54 unique symbols,Harden's address was #54 at that time in 1969.The Melvin Belli meeting address that Zodiac gave was 6726 St Vincent De Paul Thrift Shop. Harden's last 4 digits of his phone number back then were 6726 exactly. Zodiac said he killed 7 victims,when really it was only 5,he lied about August the 8th month. He gave his whole phone number 408-758-6726.
- The handwriting is an exact match to Donald, and Bettye in others.
- Zodiac was known to have a ego. Donald Harden revealed himself to have a ego during his 1969 interviews.
- Don matches the police sketches exactly.
- Zodiac mentioned a lot of school threats. Donald Harden was a school teacher.
- Zodiac was believed to be a movie buff. Harden was revealed to be a movie buff in one of his 2007 interviews.
- Zodiac was believed to be in military. Harden's father was in military.
- The postcards sent by The Zodiac all advertise real estate to which Harden was a venture and associate.
- Zodiac mentioned to survivor Bryan Hartnell that he was from Colorado. Harden was in Colorado in 1960.
- The first cipher anagram reads "Donald Gene Harden Salinas School Teacher".
- William Baker diagnosed Zodiac as paranoid and schizophrenic. Harden's wife had schizophrenia. Harden's wife was also paranoid. Evidence of her being paranoid is that she was said to be afraid of a reporter.
- Bettye Harden was known to frequently wear a T-shirt which read "I married The Zodiac and all I got was this stupid T-shirt".