Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Killing of Jeff Zack

The New Man in Her Life

Journalist Phil Trexler reported in the Beacon Journal that Cynthia had met unemployed trucker John F. Zaffino in 2000, and was soon involved with him. Zaffino, 36, was known to have an aggressive temper, especially when he drank. His first wife had left him after six years, despite the son they shared. His second marriage, to Christine Todaro, lasted only a few months, although he apparently would later keep in touch with her.

John F. Zaffino
John F. Zaffino

Cynthia became involved with Zaffino after he started taking her out for walks, but she also kept up her affair with Zack. It was nine months before she apparently decided in May 2001 that she no longer wished to continue the relationship with Zack. She asked him to leave her alone. He was not one to be so lightly cast aside. He continued to call her. As she would tell it, she tried to end the relationship many times over at least three years, but he always threatened her.

Ed George became perturbed by the constant phone calls to his home. He called a friend on the police force to report them and to ask what to do. He suspected Zack, but the caller frequently hung up. He did not want a public investigation, so there was no follow-up. Still, he suspected that his wife was at the heart of this trouble.

Cynthia apparently kept both Zack and Zaffino on the line, literally at the same time, according to phone records. While Zaffino spoke with her by cell phone, she would sometimes use a second line to talk to Zack. No one else would learn what they were all saying, but the tension was building.

However, Zack soon met yet another woman during a plane trip and spent a week with her out of town. He seemed to have moved one. By the next month, though, Zack was dead.

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