Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / Getty Images
A group of investigators of unsolved cases claim that they have identified the notorious Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California in the late 1960s and mocked the authorities with cryptic notes.
The working group called Case Breakers, run by former FBI agents and retired law enforcement officials, they told Fox News that has identified the infamous killer as Gary Francis Poste, who died in 2018.
They also linked the serial killer to a sixth murder in Southern California.
The Zodiac Killer was linked by the FBI to five murders in 1968 and 1969 in the San Francisco area.
During that time, the criminal sent a series of letters to local newspapers, in which he coined his nickname and threatened more murders if they did not print his messages.
Some letters included figures, with some riddles still unsolved decades later.
A message received by the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 was finally decrypted in December, revealing a message saying that he was “not afraid of being executed if he was ever caught.”
Years of investigation led to new forensic evidence in the case, including photos from Poste’s darkroom showing scars on his forehead that match those of the Zodiac Killer sketch, the team told Fox News.
The decryption of letters sent by the criminal also revealed that Poste claimed to have massacred 37 people.
In a note, the letters from Poste’s full name were removed to reveal an alternate message, a Case Breakers investigator told Fox News.
“So you have to know Gary’s full name in order to decipher these anagrams,” said former army counterintelligence agent Jen Bucholtz. “I don’t think there is any other way that someone would have found out.”
He has previously been linked to the Zodiac Killer as Arthur Leigh Allen, Ross Sullivan, Richard Marshall, Lawrence Kane, Richard Gaikowski, Louis Joseph Myers, and Joseph Bevilacqua.
The team also believe Poste killed Cheri Jo Bates on Halloween night 1966., about 400 miles from San Francisco, two years before the first murder was related to the Zodiac Killer.
Bates, 18, was found dead with more than 40 stab wounds in an alley on the Riverside City College campus after her father reported her missing, according to Fox News.
Authorities received a handwritten letter the following year that later led them to believe that Bates’ murder could be related to the Zodiac Killer, until investigators received another anonymous letter in 2016 claiming that the above note was a “sick joke.”
“The perpetrator admitted that he was not the Zodiac Killer or Cheri Jo Bates Killer and that he was just seeking attention,” Riverside police said.
Ultimately, the Zodiac Killer was never linked to Bates’s murder, and the case still remains open, Riverside police told Fox News.
However, Case Breakers investigators believe Poste is a “very strong suspect” in Bates’ murder and are urging investigators to compare his DNA.
A paint-splattered wristwatch believed to have been worn by the killer was recovered at the scene of Bates’s murder, and Poste had painted houses for more than four decades, according to the unsolved cases squad.
Additionally, a heel print from a military-style boot at the crime scene matched his own and others found at Zodiaco crime scenes.
FBI investigators had even identified Bates as the “sixth victim” of the Zodiac Killer in a 1975 memo obtained by the team.
But the first known murders related to the Zodiac Killer occurred in December 1968 when a couple was shot and killed in a car in Benicia, California.
Another couple was shot in Vallejo in July 1969, and the man survived. Later that year, a couple was stabbed near a lake and the man survived, while a taxi driver was shot and killed in San Francisco.
An FBI spokesperson told the New York Post on Wednesday that the bureau would examine the Case Breakers’ claims regarding Poste.
Meanwhile, San Francisco police told Fox News they could not comment on possible suspects in the Zodiac investigation because the case remains open.
The Riverside Police Department offered a $ 50,000 reward earlier this year for a conviction in the unsolved murder of Bates.
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