It’s been more than 50 since one of America’s most notorious serial killers left a trail of bodies through California. Now, a collection of investigators believe that they know who was responsible.
Fox News reported Wednesday that a group known as the “Case Breakers” say they have identified the man long dubbed by media as the “Zodiac Killer.”
Specializing in long-unsolved crimes, the outfit reportedly has roughly 40 members with backgrounds in law enforcement, military intelligence, and journalism.
According to the group, it was Air Force veteran Gary Francis Poste who was responsible for murdering six people in the 1960s. Poste passed away in 2018.
The infamous Zodiac Killer
The so-called Zodiac Killer was well known for taunting authorities with cryptic messages, and according to former Army counterintelligence agent Jen Bucholtz, these played an important role in the Case Breakers’ search.
“So you’ve got to know Gary’s full name in order to decipher these anagrams,” Bucholtz said, according to Fox. “I just don’t think there’s any other way anybody would have figured it out.”
The group believes that, contrary to widespread reporting, Poste’s first victim was actually a young woman named Cheri Jo Bates, who was murdered in 1966.
Her killing had not been previously confirmed as a related homicide. While an individual did take credit for her murder while claiming to be the Zodiac Killer, that letter now appears to have been a hoax.
“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 told Fox News.
FBI remains wary
However, the Case Breakers pointed out that Poste was treated for a gunshot incident just 15 minutes away from the scene of Bates’ murder where a paint-splattered wristwatch was discovered. Poste was employed at the time as a painter.
Photographs of Poste show a marked similarity to eyewitness sketches of the Zodiac Killer, with both showing a distinctive set of forehead scars. Those who knew Poste paint a disturbing portrait of a man who could be friendly and charming but also recruited young men into criminal activity.
For its part, the FBI has not embraced the Case Breakers’ conclusions. “The case remains open and there is no new information to report,” the bureau told said in a statement Thursday, according to NBC News.