The Zodiac Killer case has been a mystery that both police and amateur murder investigators have been trying desperately to solve for half a century. Between 1968 and 1969, the serial murderer murdered five persons in and around the US city of San Francisco.
The killer then published cryptic letters to regional newspapers to mock law enforcement and the people of California. Since then, the Zodiac killer has evolved into a sort of cultural icon, providing inspiration for other fictitious characters, movies, and television programmes, including the recent Disney+ documentary series The Most Dangerous Animal of All.
A group known as the Case Breakers who specialise in cold case investigations asserted to have identified the murderer as Gary Francis Poste in October 2021. Who is Gary Francis Poste, and who were his purported victims, if he is in fact the Zodiac Killer?
What did Zodiac Killer do?
In the late 1960s, The Zodiac Killer murdered five people in the San Francisco region before sending cryptic letters of taunt to nearby newspapers. He either shot or stabbed his victims. The partners of Ferrin and Shepard, Michael Mageau and Bryan Hartnell, were attacked but survived.
With the exception of Stine, a 29-year-old cab driver, all the victims were young couples in their teens or early twenties. After every murder, the serial killer sent letters and coded messages to the neighbourhood newspapers. These occasionally included threats, such as a scheme to murder a bus full of students.
The murderer claimed to have killed 37 people in a letter and has been connected to a number of other unsolved crimes. This assertion hasn’t been confirmed, though. Only one suspect has ever been formally identified by the authorities in this case: convicted child molester Arthur Leigh Allen.
One of the Zodiac Killer’s attempted victims chose Allen out of a police lineup, and he was in possession of a watch bearing the crosshairs symbol. He allegedly gave a friend a partial confession about committing the killings, but he passed away in 1992 from a heart attack before a case could be formed against him.
A second individual, Richard Gaikowski, a former journalist, has also emerged as an unofficial suspect in the eyes of lay observers.
Who was Zodiac Killer?
Former US air force service member Gary Francis Poste was raised in California. In August 2018, at the age of 80, he passed away. According to several media sources, Poste was a violent man.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a male relative of Poste who claimed to live in Groveland, a village some 150 miles from San Francisco, contacted the publication six years ago. This relative claimed that Poste had attempted to kill him with a hammer and was the Zodiac Killer.
Police in California told the publication there didn’t seem to be any connection between Poste and the Zodiac Killer when they were approached by the newspaper. According to the newspaper, Poste’s former daughter-in-law Michelle Wynn also accused him of being the serial killer. Ms. Wynn claimed she left California so she could avoid Poste.
According to a police record obtained by The Sun in the US in January 2022, Poste shoved his wife Mary, who was 74 at the time, into a wall in 2016, breaking her pelvis in four places. The news source further disclosed that after the incident, US officials decided he was too mentally unstable to stand trial and locked him up in a mental hospital. Poste might have faced a jury and received a prison sentence.
Is Zodiac Killer Identified?
The Case Breakers, a group of more than 40 former police investigators, journalists, and military intelligence personnel, claim that Gary Francis Poste is the Zodiac Killer. The investigation team said that it had built its case on forensic data, images discovered in Poste’s personal darkroom, and a few of the serial killer’s coded notes.
The group asserted that Poste’s murder of Cheri Jo Bates was proven by the forensic evidence.In 1966, Bates was killed by an unidentified assailant. Although the San Francisco Chronicle noted that local authorities have denied this hypothesis, those who have closely followed the Zodiac case believe her death was the result of the Zodiac Killer.
Due to the matching scars on his forehead, Poste has also been compared to a 1969 police drawing of the Zodiac Killer. Additionally, it was discovered that the letters in his name changed the meaning of the cyphers the serial killer had used in letters to newspapers, raising the possibility that Poste was the murderer.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the FBI and local police have rejected the Case Breakers’ findings. According to the FBI’s San Francisco headquarters, the Zodiac Killer case is still active. The Case Breakers followed up on their assertions on 20 November 2021 by claiming they had found a “goldmine” of evidence in California.
The investigation team said in a statement that it had learned Poste had given out weapons to friends and family in the days before he died, including pistol components, gunpowder, and shell casings. The majority of these odd “gifts” have been kept in basements and closets ever since, according to the Case Breakers.
This evidence, according to the researchers, was forwarded to private forensic labs in three different US states. Additionally, it was claimed that Poste formerly served as the mentor to a group of boys that he prepared to become what the Case Breakers called “killing machines.”
According to the New York Post, the males, who were in their late teens and early twenties, went by “The Posse” and were rumoured to have killed animals for entertainment.
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