A 40-strong team of “independent investigators” has claimed to have identified the Zodiac Killer, according to Fox News.
The Zodiac took at least five lives while terrorizing the Bay Area in the late 1960s and became one of the most infamous serial killers in America after sending a series of taunting cryptograms to journalists. While countless theories and suspects have been named over the years — ranging from Vallejo man Arthur Leigh Allen, to the Manson Family and the Unabomber — the case is still unsolved. The San Francisco Police Department classified the case as “inactive” in 2004, but reopened it in 2007.
A team who call themselves the the “Case Breakers” now claim that a man named Gary Francis Poste is the notorious killer. Poste, an Air Force veteran and house painter from Southern California, died in 2018.
Their claim is largely linked to evidence found in Poste’s darkroom. The team claim that an image found there showed a scar on Poste’s forehead that matched scars seen on a sketch of the killer. They also say that one of the letters sent by the Zodiac can be cracked by removing the letters of Poste’s name, though no evidence of this has yet been provided.
They also allege that a 1966 murder in Riverside, hundreds of miles from the area where he was known to have killed, was the work of Zodiac.
The Case Breakers’ website says they are a team of “crack investigators — from working millennials to retired octogenarians — with law enforcement, military, forensic, academic, legal and investigative skill sets.”
The claim is speculative and should be taken with extreme doubt. One outlandish aspect of the claim that is difficult to verify involves the Case Breakers’ source, who was allegedly “an outlaw-turned-whistleblower” who “tipped these developments to the team, led by retired FBI agents. The turncoat claims to have escaped from the Zodiac’s criminal ‘posse,’ roaming in the mountains for decades,” the Case Breakers’ website states.
With regards to the Riverside killing, the Riverside Police Department told Fox News that “our Homicide Cold Case Unit has determined the murder of Cheri Jo Bates in 1966 is not related to the Zodiac Killer.”
The Case Breakers are asking police to compare a DNA sample from Poste with those gathered from the 1966 crime scene.
“The Zodiac killer case remains open. We have no new information to share at the moment,” the FBI San Francisco office told the Chronicle on Wednesday. The paper said the statement was “echoed” by the SFPD.
SFGATE reached out for comment from the Case Breakers but had not heard back at time of publication.
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