Last week, the Case Breakers, an independent group of cold-case investigators, claimed that they had identified the Zodiac Killer. Not surprisingly, this announcement caused a media firestorm. To say this news has been highly anticipated would be a gross understatement. The historic case has been described as the most famous unsolved murder case in American history.
The Zodiac Killer murdered at least five victims in the San Francisco Bay area between December 1968 and October 1969. He notoriously tormented law enforcement and local newspapers with letters containing the gruesome details of his murders, threatening more violence if they were not published. One letter was even mailed with a piece of bloody fabric from a victim’s shirt.
The only identifying characteristic of the Zodiac Killer was the “Zodiac Killer’s symbol,” a circle with a star in it that was on all his letters. He taunted readers with a chilling three-part cipher that he claimed held his identity. This was the extent to which the public knew the Zodiac Killer. His taunting only fueled the fixation on his identity. Decades later average Americans and law enforcement officials alike are still obsessed with identifying the Zodiac Killer.
The Case Breakers consist of a group of 40 former law investigators, journalists, and military intelligence officers. The group has been involved in many other high profile cold cases such as the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa and the D.B Cooper hijacking heist. The group is confident that they have identified the killer who they believe is responsible for hundreds of other killings beyond what is linked to him.
In a press release, the group identified the Zodiac Killer as Gary Francis Poste, a California man who died in 2018. In addition to a series of coincidences, Poste had forehead scars that matched perfectly with the description of the Zodiac Killer. This was a key piece of evidence in the Case Breakers investigation.
“The renowned sleuths have recovered new physical and forensic evidence, signed up eyewitnesses, filed court affidavits and secured decades of pictures from Poste’s former darkroom,” says the press release. “That includes photographic proof, as a former FBI agent put it, of ‘irrefutable’ scars on our Zodiac’s forehead — spotted by 3 witnesses and an observing cop, then later passed on to the 1969 SFPD sketch artist.”
People that knew Poste have come forward with information about who he was as a person. Many, including Poste’s former neighbor, are hardly shocked by the allegations. The woman, identified as “Gwennie,” was actually babysat by Poste and his wife.
The release claims that Poste “taught [Gwennie] how to use guns, sometimes going into the woods five days a week. In the last year of her childcare, she witnessed Poste’s callousness and violence towards his wife.” The release then went on to say that Gwennie “recently caught up with the 75-year-old wife, now in assisted living. The phone call stunned her, one line in particular: ‘I’m sorry that I didn’t tell the cops about his past.’”
The Case Breakers’ theory has not been endorsed by authorities. The San Francisco office of the FBI said in a statement to USA TODAY on Thursday that “the FBI’s investigation into the Zodiac Killer remains open and unsolved.”
“Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, and out of respect for the victims and their families, we will not be providing further comment at this time,” the office stated.