True crime fan alert. The Zodiac Killer has reportedly been identified. For several decades, the mysterious murderer has been considered one of the most fearsome serial killers in the United States, in part because he had never been officially identified. It had begun to look like we would never get any more answers concerning the unknown murderer's identity, but it's being reported that a dedicated team consisting of dozens of sleuths has finally cracked the case.
Reportedly, an independent team of investigators called the Case Breakers have declared the true identity of the Zodiac Killer to be Gary Francis Poste. According to the group, Poste not only evaded authorities in Northern California during his run as the Zodiac Killer, but also got away with another alleged murder hundreds of miles away. The biggest problem with this revelation is that Poste has since died in 2018, so it's impossible to charge him with a crime or even question him about the accusation.
The Case Breakers is made up of more than 40 former law enforcement investigators, journalists, and military intelligence officers. They feel confident naming Poste as the Zodiac Killer based on clues uncovered during their independent investigation. This includes years combing through forensic evidence and photos from Poste's darkroom. One unearthed image reportedly shows scars on Poste's forehead that perfectly match the scars on a police sketch of the Zodiac Killer.
Jen Bucholtz, a former Army counterintelligence agent who worked on the case, says that there were other clues pointing to Gary Francis Poste straight from the Zodiac Killer's mysterious letters. In one particular letter, which hadn't previously been deciphered by law enforcement, Bucholtz says that removing the letters of Poste's full name reveals an alternate message. It would take actually knowing the name in question to find the secret message, which would explain why detectives had always failed to do so in the past.
"So you've got to know Gary's full name in order to decipher these anagrams," Bucholtz said, per Fox News. "I just don't think there's any other way anybody would have figured it out."
A California woman who was once neighbors with Poste also believes that he's the killer based on the evidence. Noting his love for firearms and his abusive and controlling nature toward his wife, the neighbor said, "He lived a double life. As I'm adult thinking back, it all kind of makes sense now. At the time when I was a teenager, I didn't put two and two together until I got older. It hit me full-blown that Gary's the Zodiac."
The Case Breakers also believe Poste had committed another unsolved murder before taking on the identity of the Zodiac Killer. On Oct. 31, 1966, Cheri Jo Bates was murdered in Riverside, California, hundreds of miles away from the San Francisco area that the Zodiac terrorized. A handwritten letter believed to be from the killer was sent to cops the following year. Police refute that the letter actually came from the murderer and do not believe the case is linked to the Zodiac killings.
"Our Homicide Cold Case Unit has determined the murder of Cheri Jo Bates in 1966 is not related to the Zodiac killer," the Riverside Police Department's Homicide Cold Case Unit said. "We understand the public interest in these unsolved murders, but all inquiries regarding the Zodiac Killer should be referred to the FBI. The Cheri Jo Bates case remains an open investigation and we do not have any additional details to release at this time."
Concerning the Zodiac Killer investigation, cops at the San Francisco Police Department declined to comment on Gary Francis Poste, noting that they can't talk about any potential suspects as it's still an open investigation. As of now, the declaration that Poste is indeed the Zodiac Killer hasn't been officially verified by law enforcement. However, this new evidence certainly has a lot of people convinced, including those who knew Poste.
The Zodiac Killer's crimes were the subject of David Fincher's film Zodiac which was released in 2007 and starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. One of the suspects of the case, Arthur Leigh Allen, is depicted in the movie by John Carroll Lynch, and it is vaguely implied that he is the real killer. In 2009, police handwriting expert Lloyd Cunningham, who worked on the case for decades, claimed that Allen's writing never "even came close to the Zodiac, nor did DNA extracted from the envelopes" the killer had sent police.
Other suspects have also been under consideration, but as of now, the FBI and police are not officially declaring the case to be closed. It remains to be seen if this new information about Gary Francis Poste will make any changes in the official investigation. This news comes to us from Fox News. The poster image used is from the Sony Pictures Inc. movie Awakening The Zodiac.