The mystery of the Zodiac Killer may have been solved after more than 40 years, according to a special task team made up of expert detectives.
Who is the Zodiac Killer?
The Case Breakers is a team of cold case investigators made up of 40 detectives, investigative journalists and military intelligence operatives. The specialised team has built a solid reputation for finding the needle in a haystack of evidence that notarised unsolved mysteries such as the infamous D.B Cooper heist and the disappearance of trade union leader Jimmy Hoffa.
Recently, The Case Breakers took a look at the Zodiac Killer and after sifting through piles of evidence with a magnifying glass, a possible strong link was found far away from San Fransisco, California, where the serial murderer wreaked havoc between 1968 and 1969.
The Zodiac was always two steps ahead of authorities, at a time when DNA evidence and forensics were still in their infancy. The serial killer, linked to at least five murders in the California town, would taunt detectives with coded messages and ciphers published in newspapers.
In his own words, the trace to his identity was in the clues he teased to detectives. However, for more than four decades, countless suspects and leads have ended in a dead-end — until now, according to The Case Breakers.
Did Zodiac kill Cheri Jo Bates?
The Zodiac made countless mistakes during his killing spree. Perhaps, his biggest error came on 31 October 1966 when he allegedly murdered Cheri Jo Bates, an 18-year-old from Riverside, California, more than 700km away from his killing grounds.
Bates, according to Fox News, was found dead in an alleyway, hours after her father had reported her missing.
For decades, there has been debate about whether Zodiac was responsible for the teenager’s death. A letter that was sent to authorities a year after the murder, supposedly by the serial murderer, claimed responsibility for the killing.
However, in 2016, an unidentified man wrote to the Riverside police owning up as the author of the letter.
“The author admitted that he was not the Zodiac killer or the killer of Cheri Jo Bates and that he was just looking for attention,” the police department said at the time.
While in Riverside, the Bates murder remains open, The Case Breakers firmly believe the teen was the sixth victim of the Zodiac Killer.
According to the special task team, Bates’ murder investigation has been muddied with factionalism from the police department and red tape.
The evidence against Gary Francis Poste
To this end, the work of the task team in identifying the Zodiac Killer has led to one man — Gary Francis Poste.
According to The Case Breakers, one of the coded letters the Zodiac teased was deciphered and a section of it showed Poste’s full name marked out to reveal an alternative message.
This, according to army counterintelligence agent Jen Bucholtz, is an irrefutable link to Poste.
“You’ve got to know Gary’s full name in order to decipher these anagrams. I just don’t think there’s any other way anybody would have figured it out,” she said.
Moreover, a search of Poste’s home uncovered a ‘darkroom’ where photos of his scarred forehead and other questionable images were found. The scratches on his forehead, it’s said, matched a similar artist sketch of the Zodiac Killer.
The Case Breakers also managed to place Poste, who was an Air Force veteran at the time, at a hospital 15 minutes away from the crime scene, on the night Bates was killed.
The team also observed the coincidence of the wristwatch — believed to be the killer’s — with paint splatter that was collected at the crime scene. Poste was renowned for his house painting jobs. If that’s not convincing, The Case Breakers also revealed that inside Poste’s home, a heel print was found which coincidentally matched boot imprints left by the Zodiac at a number of crime scenes, including Bates’.
Poste, unfortunately, passed away in 2018 under unknown circumstances. While a number of witnesses have come forward to link him to the Zodiac killings, the cases linked to the serial murderer’s crimes are still ongoing.