The mystery of the Zodiac Killer’s identity has been ongoing for fifty-plus years. Linked to five confirmed murders around the San Francisco Bay Area, the elusive serial killer claimed to be responsible for dozens more, though no conclusive evidence was ever found to corroborate that number.
Now, though, it has been reported (via Sky News) that a group of 40+ "cold case specialists" has claimed to have identified the Zodiac Killer and linked him to a sixth murder. “The Case Breakers” as they’re known, allege that one Gary Francis Poste is their suspect.
Who was this Gary F. Poste? Well, according to the team, he was a US Air Force mechanic and housepainter who died back in 2018. What evidence do they have to support their claims? Well, strap in for a second.
The only likeness investigators have ever really had for the killer comes from a police sketch completed in 1969. It’s so famous, even if you know nothing about the investigation you’ve probably seen it. The Case Breakers have pulled up old photographs of Poste’s and pointed out certain similarities with the sketch, particularly similar facial scars.
A main piece of evidence the investigators claim supports their theory comes from the cryptic letters and anagrams the Zodiac Killer sent to police during his spree. According to them, Poste’s full name revealed a new, hidden message. They’ve also referred to some photographic evidence acquired from the suspect’s darkroom, though it’s unclear exactly what that is at the moment. Finally, they’ve apparently used boot prints to link Poste to crime scenes.
A key part of their argument concerns the death of Cheri Jo Bates, a woman killed in 1966. Reported two years before the first confirmed Zodiac killing, the Bates case was at one point linked to the Zodiac spree, but this theory was subsequently rubbished.
However the Case Breakers allege that Poste was responsible for this crime. The evidence they’ve put forward includes a wristwatch found at the scene they’ve linked to their suspect, who at the time was apparently stationed at a military base only a few miles from the crime scene. The team also claims they’ve requested access to DNA from the case to compare to Poste’s but have been denied access.
So, does all of this sound maybe a little bit like a reach? It’s easy to be skeptical. After all, the police department involved in the Bates case have remained adamant that they don’t believe the Zodiac killer to be responsible. The FBI has also released a statement in response simply saying: “We have no new information to share at the moment.” The Case Breakers also seem to have a flair for the dramatic - they’re apparently on the case of D.B. Cooper too.
Still, it’s fascinating to see what, if anything, comes of these claims. At the time of writing, according to their website, the team is attempting to uncover hidden weapons they hope will provide DNA evidence to aid identification.