A team of specialists who investigate cold cases believe they have identified the Zodiac Killer, and they have linked him to another murder.
The Zodiac Killer terrorized the San Francisco area in the late 1960s, claiming the lives of several victims in the area. He submitted complex ciphers in letters sent to newspapers and law enforcement and in one letter insisted he committed 37 murders. There have been many potential suspects but no one was ever charged. However, now the Case Breakers, which is a group of over 40 former law enforcement investigators, journalists, and military intelligence officers, believe the killer is Gary Francis Poste, who passed away in 2018, according to Fox News.
The claim is based on new forensic evidence as well as photos in Poste's darkroom, with one image showing scars on his head that match those that appeared on a sketch of the Zodiac Killer. Another giveaway, the team said, lies in a cipher submitted by the Zodiac Killer that revealed an alternate message when the letters of Poste's full name were removed.
"So you've got to know Gary's full name in order to decipher these anagrams," said Jen Bucholtz, a former Army counterintelligence agent who works on cold cases. "I just don't think there's any other way anybody would have figured it out."
Additionally, the team believes that Poste was responsible for the murder of Cheri Jo Bates on Oct. 31, 1966, in Riverside, Calif. Bates was found dead in an alleyway on the Riverside City College campus after being reported missing by her father. Her death took place two years before the first killing that was linked to the Zodiac Killer, and hundreds of miles south from the San Francisco area.
Authorities dismissed the notion that the Zodiac Killer was linked to the murder of Bates, but the Case Breakers believe the contrary. There are a number of coincidences that connect Poste to Bates, the team said. Poste, an Air Force veteran, received medical checkups at a hospital located near the Bates murder scene following a gun incident, according to Fox News. Poste also painted homes for more than four decades and a paint-splattered wristwatch believed to have been worn by Bates' murderer was recovered at the murder scene.
A California woman who lived next door to Poste and his wife told Fox News that the evidence collected was convincing.
"He lived a double life," she said. "As I'm (an) 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."
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