A group of former investigators called the Case Breakers claimed to have found the identity of the Zodiac Killer. However, the FBI has come out saying the case is still open and their claim is based on circumstantial evidence.
Last week, the Case Breakers made headlines with a new theory of the Zodiac Killer’s identity. The Zodiac Killer is one of America’s most mysterious serial killers. Active in San Francisco from 1968 to 1969, he has killed at least five victims (CNN).
The Zodiac Killer is infamous for his taunting letters and complex code. He wore a black hood and had a symbol drawn on his chest. For over 50 years, the only clue to his identity was a police sketch, but the Case Breakers believed to have found the man behind the mask.
According to their website, this team of forensic experts, military agents, and others specialize in cold cases. They claim the Zodiac Killer is Gary Francis Poste, a former Air Force Pilot who passed away in 2018 (Mirror). Fox News and the New York Post report that the Case Breakers linked Poste to the Zodiac Killer through the unsolved murder of Cheri Jo Bates in 1966. Cheri Jo Bates has been the suspected first murder of the Zodiac Killer for a long time, based on a handwritten note sent to Riverside police.
The Case Breakers have tied Poste to Bates through a series of circumstantial evidence. Poste received check-ups at a hospital that was 15 minutes away from the scene of Bates’ murder. Poste worked as a painter; thus another piece of evidence supposedly linking him to the scene was a paint-splattered wristwatch. Additionally, military-style heel prints matched Poste’s size and were found at Bates’s crime scene and the Zodiac Killer’s crime scenes.
The Case Breakers also claim on their website to have eyewitnesses, court affidavits, personal photos that match Poste’s forehead scars to the Zodiac Killer’s, and possible DNA matches along with locations of buried weapons and possible crime scenes. The latter evidence, they say, has been provided by an “outlaw-turned-whistleblower” that ran with Poste’s “posse” of young men he groomed to murder other people. However, both the FBI and local law enforcement are skeptical towards this information and keep Bates murder open. The FBI has commented on the claims saying, “there is no new information to report” (NBC).
In August, Riverside police officer Ryan J. Railsback has proved the handwritten letter tying Bates to the Zodiac Killer is a hoax. Further explaining that the author has come forward saying that they have no connection to Bates or the Zodiac Killer and sent the letter to gain attention. Railsback also stated that Riverside police have “ruled out any connection” between Bates and the Zodiac Killer (NBC). Before Poste, there have also been five other Zodiac Killer suspects that have also been debunked or inconclusive.
Robert Graysmith, the author of the book that inspired the Zodiac movie, favored Arthur Leigh Allen as the killer, but his fingerprints didn’t match. Ross Sullivan was also linked to Bates but came to be inconclusive. Other suspects include Richard Marshall, Jack Tarrance, and Lawrence Kane, but have never been confirmed (Mirror).
The $50,000 reward for any information regarding Bates’ case is still available to the public, and the identity of the mysterious Zodiac Killer will still be a secret for another day.