An elite squad of investigators who specialize in solving cold cases reportedly have identified the illusive Zodiac Killer, decades after he terrorized San Francisco with vicious murders accompanied by cryptic riddles.
Investigators with Case Breakers – a collective of retired law enforcement agents, military intelligence officials, and journalists – named Air Force veteran Gary Francis Poste, who died in 2018, as the man responsible for five murders in the San Francisco area in 1968 and 1969.
Zodiac shot a couple to death in their car in December of 1968, fired on another couple the following year on the 4th of July and the man survived, fatally stabbed a woman near a lake, while her partner escaped with knife wounds, and assassinated a cab driver the same year.
During the killing spree, the Zodiac Killer further frightened the Bay Area by sending cryptic letters to local newspapers that claimed he had murdered 37 victims and threatened further violence in the community if they went unprinted.
The letters also included ciphers that authorities were unable to crack until December of last year. Investigators revealed that the cryptic correspondence required the letters in Poste’s full name to reveal hidden messaging.
“So you’ve got to know Gary’s full name in order to decipher these anagrams,” a former Army counterintelligence agent explained. “I just don’t think there’s any other way anybody would have figured it out.”
The Case Breakers team also believes that they have linked Zodiac to a sixth victim, Cheri Jo Bates, who was murdered at 18-years-old on campus at Riverside City College on Halloween day in 1966.
Zodiac was suspected after police received a handwritten message reminiscent of the infamous killer’s cryptic notes, but received typed communication in 2016 from someone who admitted to writing the 1967 letter as a “sick joke.”
The Riverside Police Department’s Cold Case Unit denied that Bates was killed by Zodiac, but Case Breakers believes comparing DNA evidence from Poste to Bates’ could connect the murderer to the case.
Jack The Ripper has also been identified.