Zodiac Killer 'identified' as Gary Francis Poste by cold case team who they say is linked to ANOTHER murder

THE Zodiac Killer who terrorized the San Francisco area in the 1960s has finally been identified, a group of cold case investigators say.

The Case Breakers, a team of specialists who have worked to crack a number of America's most high-profile unsolved cases, claimed to have uncovered the Zodiac Killer's identity on Wednesday.

The man they say is responsible for the string of five murders in 1968 and 1969 is Gary Francis Poste, who died in 2018.

They also claim to have linked Poste to a sixth killing hundreds of miles away that has never before been connected to the Zodiac.

The Zodiac Killer is believed to be a California man who gave himself that nickname to conceal his identity from authorities.

He is known to have targeted at least seven victims – three couples and a lone taxi driver. Two of them survived gun and knife ambushes.

The same killer has been linked to as many as 28 murders — claiming to have killed 37 people in taunting letters sent to newspapers and police.

The letters included complex ciphers – some of which haven't been officially solved to this day.

The case was deemed inactive in 2004 but the San Francisco Police Department reopened it in March of 2007.

Over the years, many independent sleuths have claimed to have decoded the Zodiac's true identity.


THE LATEST SUSPECT

The Case Breakers crew is comprised of more than 40 former law enforcement investigators, journalists and military intelligence officers.

The team said they discovered Poste's identity after years of digging through new forensic evidence and his darkroom.

One image uncovered from the darkroom purportedly featured scars on Poste's forehead which match a sketch of the Zodiac.

The team said the Zodiac's ciphers also point to Poste.

In one note, removing the letters of Poste's full name revealed an alternate message, according to former Army counterintelligence agent Jen Bucholtz.

"So you've got to know Gary's full name in order to decipher these anagrams," Bucholtz told Fox News.

"I just don't think there's any other way anybody would have figured it out."

The killer earned his nickname by signing his fourth letter to the press with "Zodiac" on August 7, 1969.

In it, he wrote: "Dear Editor This is the Zodiac speaking." 

He also signed his letters with a circle and a cross over it, resembling a target or a coordinate symbol.

REIGN OF TERROR

Authorities believe the Zodiac claimed his first two victims on December 20, 1968, when 17-year-old David Arthur Faraday and 16-year-old Betty Lou Jensen were shot and killed in Benicia.

The second two victims – Michael Renault Mageau, 19; and Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, 22 – were found shot in a parking lot in Vallejo on July 4, 1969. Ferrin was killed and Mageau survived.

Nearly three months later, 20-year-old Bryan Calvin Harnell and 22-year-old Cecelia Ann Shepard were found stabbed at Lake Berryessa in Napa County on September 27, 1969. Shepard was killed and Hartnell survived.

Taxi driver Paul Lee Stine, 29, was shot and killed in his car in San Francisco's Presidio Heights neighborhood on October 11, 1969.

SIXTH VICTIM?

The Case Breakers have asserted that the Zodiac is also responsible for a sixth killing in Riverside, California, on October 31, 1966.

Cheri Jo Bates was 18 years old when she was found dead in an alley on the Riverside City College campus.

In 1967, police received a handwritten letter which later led them to believe Bates' killing may have been committed by the Zodiac.

That theory was quashed in 2016 when investigators received an anonymous note from someone who claimed they'd written the earlier note as a "sick joke."

However, the Case Breakers have maintained that the Zodiac did kill Bates and claim investigators have blocked them from comparing her DNA to Poste's.



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