• Wednesday, May 18, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Cold case team: Zodiac killer 'identified', linked to another murder

  • Published at 12:55 pm October 7th, 2021
Zodiac killer
A sketch of the Zodiac Killer is compared to Gary Poste, specifically scars on the forehead in both images Courtesy of The Case Breakers

The Zodiac Killer terrorized the San Francisco area in the late 1960s and has never been caught

The notorious Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California in the late 1960s and tormented authorities with cryptic messages, has been identified, according to a cold-case task team.

Investigators with the Case Breakers, which is led by former FBI agents and retired law enforcement officials, told Fox News that the infamous killer has been identified as Gary Francis Poste, who died in 2018.

They also connected the infamous serial killer to a sixth murder in Los Angeles.

The FBI had already linked the Zodiac Killer to five killings in the San Francisco area in 1968 and 1969.

During his spree, the crazed killer wrote a series of letters to local newspapers in which he coined his nickname and threatened further murders if they weren't published. Some letters included ciphers, including some puzzles that have been unsolved for decades.

The San Francisco Chronicle received a cipher in 1969 that was finally cracked in December, revealing a message saying he was not afraid of being executed if ever captured.

Gary F Poste has been identified as the infamous Zodiac Killer by The Case Breakers, which investigates cold cases Courtesy of The Case BreakersYears of digging, however, yielded fresh forensic evidence in the case, including images from Poste's darkroom showing scars on his forehead that match scars on the Zodiac sketch, according to the investigators.

Deciphering letters sent by the Zodiac also revealed Poste as the killer who had claimed to have slaughtered as many as 37 people.

A Case Breakers investigator told Fox News that the letters of Poste's complete name were erased from one note to disclose an alternate message.

 “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 sixth murder

Poste is also suspected of killing Cheri Jo Bates on Halloween in 1966, some 400 miles from San Francisco and two years before the first Zodiac Killer death.

According to Fox News, Bates, 18, was found dead with more than 40 stab wounds in an alleyway on the Riverside City College campus after her father reported her missing.

The following year, authorities received a handwritten letter that led them to assume Bates' murder was linked to the Zodiac Killer — until they received another anonymous letter in 2016 suggesting the previous note was a "sick joke."

"The author admitted that he was not the Zodiac Killer or Cheri Jo Bates' killer and that he was only searching for attention," Riverside police said.

The Zodiac Killer was ultimately never linked to Bates’ murder and the case is still open, Riverside police told Fox News.

The Case Breakers, however, feel Poste is a "very strong suspect" in Bates' assassination and are pressing investigators to compare her DNA to his.

The Case Breakers cite a 1975 FBI memo that said Cheri Jo Bates was the Zodiac's sixth victim Courtesy of The Case Breakers

According to the cold-case squad, a wristwatch with paint splatter believed to have been worn by the assassin was discovered at the scene of Bates' murder, and Poste had painted homes for more than four decades.

Moreover, a heel print from a military-style boot found at the murder scene matched his and others found at Zodiac crime scenes.

In a 1975 memo recovered by the team, FBI detectives identified Bates as the Zodiac Killer's "sixth victim."

However, the first documented slayings attributed to the Zodiac Killer happened in December 1968 in Benicia, California, when a couple was shot dead in a car.

In July 1969, another couple was shot in Vallejo, with the guy surviving. A couple was stabbed near a lake later that year, and the man survived, while a cab driver was shot and killed in San Francisco.

The FBI told The Washington Post on Wednesday that it would investigate the Case Breakers' assertions about Poste.

Meanwhile, because the investigation into the Zodiac is still continuing, San Francisco police informed Fox News they could not comment on potential suspects.

The Riverside Police Department offered a $50,000 prize earlier this year for information leading to a conviction in the unsolved Bates murder.

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