A cold-case task force claims it has identified the notorious Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California in the late 1960s and taunted authorities with cryptic notes, reports foxnews.com.
The Case Breakers, a team of more than 40 former law enforcement investigators, journalists and military intelligence officers, has tackled other mysteries such as the D.B. Cooper hijacking heist, the disappearance of former labor union boss Jimmy Hoffa and other unsolved cases.
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The group believes the killer is responsible for a slaying hundreds of miles away that was never linked to him.
In one letter, the Zodiac himself claimed to have murdered 37 victims, and he has been linked to several other cold cases, but only the five Bay Area murders and two attempted murders have been officially attributed to him.
The Zodiac Killer has been connected to five murders that occurred in 1968 and 1969 in the San Francisco area. Unlike most serial killers, the Zodiac taunted authorities with complex ciphers in letters sent to newspapers and law enforcement.
The cold-case investigators, dubbed the Case Breakers Team, say a former US airman and house painter named Gary F Poste is responsible for the killings. He died in 2018.
Some of the evidence they say points to Mr Poste includes:
– A paint-splattered watch bought at a military base found by police after Ms Bates’s murder
– A heelprint of the same style and shoe size found at three other Zodiac crime scenes
– Forehead scars similar to the San Francisco Police Department’s sketch of the Zodiac Killer
– Links between his name and coded messages sent to police by someone claiming to be the killer
In one note, the letters of Poste’s full name were removed to reveal an alternate message, a Case Breakers investigator told Fox News.
“So you’ve got to know Gary’s full name in order to decipher these anagrams,” former Army counterintelligence agent Jen Bucholtz said. “I just don’t think there’s any other way anybody would have figured it out.”
The team also believes Poste killed Cheri Jo Bates on Halloween in 1966, some 400 miles away from San Francisco and two years before the first slaying was linked to the Zodiac Killer.
In 2020, a team of code-breakers cracked a 340-character cipher that was sent to the San Francisco Chronicle by the Zodiac. At the time, the FBI said the Zodiac case remained ongoing.
“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 paradise all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me,” the decrypted message read.
Despite the circumstantial evidence presented by the Case Breakers, federal and police investigators tasked with solving the 52-year-old mystery told the San Francisco Chronicle that the latest theory doesn’t hold up.
The San Francisco office of the FBI said in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle that the case remained open and they had “no new information to share at the moment.”