The so-called Zodiac Killer, who was never caught, operated in Northern California in the late 1960s. He left five known victims in the San Francisco Bay Area but claimed to have murdered 37 people as he sent taunting letters and cards to regional newspapers.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and law enforcement agencies have batted down claims that an infamous serial killer who murdered at least five people in northern California in the late-sixties has been identified.
According to officials in California cited by the San Francisco Chronicle, the man identified by a posse of private investigators as the so-called Zodiac Killer is not currently a suspect in the case.
San Francisco and Riverside police dismissed what has been presented by a team of cold case specialists comprising around 40 volunteers from law enforcement, military, legal and academic backgrounds as “circumstantial evidence”.
On Wednesday, the Case Breakers announced, via press release, that a now-deceased man named Gary Francis Poste was the Zodiac Killer. The team claimed to have “signed up eyewitnesses, filed court affidavits, and secured decades of pictures from Poste’s former darkroom” to back up their allegations.
Citing new physical and forensic evidence, they also added that Poste, an Air Force veteran who died in 2018, was “a very strong suspect” in the death of a waitress named Cheri Jo Bates, an assumed-but-not-definite Zodiac victim.a teenage girl hundreds of miles away from the area where the slayings had occurred, in a case never linked to the Zodiac.
Among the evidence presented were “irrefutable” similarities between Poste and a 1969 police sketch of the Zodiac, such as the furrowing or lines on their foreheads.
Ex-Army counterintelligence agent Jen Bucholtz, a member of the team, said the deciphered letters that the Zodiac killer had taunted the police with contain anagrams of Poste’s full name.
“So you’ve got to know Gary’s full name in order to decipher these anagrams… I just don’t think there’s any other way anybody would have figured it out,” she was cited as saying by Fox News.
The Zodiac killer throughout his slaying spree had sent mysterious ciphered letters and cards to the newspapers and to police.
The serial killer also claimed to have murdered 37 people, yet investigators had been working on the basis of seven known victims, five of them homicides.
Deciphering Breakthrough in Case
In December 2020 independent code-breakers finally cracked a 340-character cipher consisting of rows of capital letters and symbols, which was purportedly sent to the San Francisco Chronicle by the so-called Zodiac Killer.
Three people: Virginia web-designer David Oranchak, Australian applied mathematician Sam Blake and Belgian code-breaking software engineer Jarl Van Eycke had ostensibly revealed the letter said:
“I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me. I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradice (sic) all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me.”
The code-breaking team said they dedicated their efforts to the killer’s victims and their relatives. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, two other encoded messages attributed to the killer remain to be decoded.
— FBI SanFrancisco (@FBISanFrancisco) December 11, 2020
The first murders attributed to the Zodiac killer began in December 1968, with a man and a woman were shot dead in their car. Another man and woman were shot in July 1969, with the man surviving. That same year a couple were stabbed next to a lake, with the man surviving. In October 1969, a cab driver was shot dead in San Francisco.
Among a plethora of theories and speculations regarding the identity of the killer, Who himself originated the name Zodiac for himself, only one suspect was ever named by authorities. The man, Arthur Leigh Allen, a former elementary school teacher and convicted sex offender, died in 1992.
Two films have been inspired by the unsolved serial killer mystery: Zodiac, featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal, in 2007, and Dirty Harry in 1971 starring Clint Eastwood.