On October 6, the Case Breakers, a group of independent specialists who investigate cold cases, announced that they had uncovered the identity of the infamous Zodiac Killer, more than fifty years after the serial murderer was active. The group, made up of over forty former police, journalists, and military officers, identified the killer as a man named Gary Francis Poste. He was identified using physical, forensic, and eyewitness evidence. An important piece of evidence was that Poste shared similar scars to police sketches of the killer. Claims by close friends, with one saying that he “was obsessed with killing animals,” also contributed to the conclusion. If the Case Breakers’ evidence is confirmed by authorities, it will bring an end to a 50 year investigation.
The Zodiac Killer has been proven responsible for at least five murders in the San Francisco area between 1968 and 1969, and is suspected to have killed up to thirty-seven people during this time, as well. Many of these suspicions are based on handwritten letters sent into the press. The killer gained a reputation by writing cryptic messages to local media and authorities at the time of the murders. In these messages, he used a cipher which earned him the “Zodiac” moniker.
Two non-fatal attacks were also linked to the Zodiac killer. The two survivors, Mike Mageau and Bryan Hartnell, never identified the attacker, as he had a hood over his head.
Prior to the Case Breakers’ conclusion about Poste, there has been a long list of suspects linked up to these murders, including a convicted child molester Authur Leigh Allen. Mike Mangeau, who was one of the Zodiac survivors, testified against Allen in court, and Allen was proven to be around the location of some of the murders. However, the case was brought to a close because a sample of Allen’s fingerprints and handwriting did not match up to the samples they had from the Zodiac.
The Zodiac case is still a work in progress, but the Case Breakers’ conclusion may very well be the solution to a fifty-year old cold case.