A team of over 40 detectives, journalists and military intelligence officers claim they’ve solved a decades-old serial killer cold case, but the FBI is keeping it open despite pressure from the media and filmmakers ready to cash in on the story. That story is the case of the Zodiac Killer who terrorized Northern Californians in the late 1960s with five murders, published threats of bombings and more deaths, and four complex cryptograms – two of which remain unsolved. A group calling itself the Case Breakers has revealed the name of the person they believe was the Zodiac Killer, the clues that lead them to him and the identity of another possible victim. Is the case of the Zodiac Killer really closed?
“After a statewide examination, 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. 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.”
The Case Breakers – which includes Tom Muariello, a doctor and forensic sciences teacher; Bill Proctor, a former police officer and investigative reporter; Jen Bucholtz, a former Army Counterintelligence Agent; and other CSI experts – released their results this week in a seven page report to the media. They provided a 1959 photo of Gary F. Poste and the police sketch showing what they said were matching scars – Poste received his in a car accident long before the killings. Other photos from 1974 to just before his death in 2018 also show the scars. Jen Buchholz told Fox News that one of the cryptogams contained the letters of Poste's full name – when they were removed, it revealed an alternate message. Only by knowing his name could it be solved.
“He had a great side. He just didn't have a conscience. He could kill indiscriminately. And I mean, you know, he's pretty much proven that over the years, he couldn't even stop after he moved up here. Uh, he still had to continue to kill, even if it was small animals just to make himself feel better. I've seen him kill bears, deer, Otter, um, ferrets. Marmots, just anything that lived, he liked to shoot them, watch [them] fall down. He liked to mess with the carcasses when he was done. He just got bloody.”
The Case Breakers also talked to people who knew Gary F. Poste and gave accounts supporting the theory that he was the Zodiac Killer, including a former partner of Poste who claimed he was being trained as a killer.
1) On 10/30/66, Riverside PD detectives collected a wristwatch with a broken band, thought to have come off the killer during his assault. Investigators believe this Timex was purchased at a military base PX.
(In the mid-1960s, Poste was a USAF veteran receiving medical check-ups for a gun accident injury at the March Air Force Base hospital – just a 15-minute drive from Bates’ college murder scene).
2) Forensic lab also noted paint spattered on the wristwatch’s face.
(In 1963, veteran Poste became a housepainter for over 40 years; was the watch strap checked for DNA?).
3) Also found: a heelprint in the dirt, later confirmed to be from “a military-style boot,” size 10.
(The same style and shoe size found at three other Zodiac crime scenes – and style/size of Poste).
4) Finally, Riverside County Coroner’s Office spotted four of the attacker’s brown hairs in Bates’ clenched fist.
(Poste’s hair color.)
The report also devotes two pages to linking Poste to the murder of Cheri Joe Bates on Oct. 31, 1966, in Riverside, Calif., which was hundreds of miles south from the San Francisco area where the rest took place and two years before the first killing linked to the Zodiac Killer.
“Is there a chance that (the Case Breakers suspect) killed Cheri Jo Bates? No. If you read what they (the Case Breakers) put out, it’s all circumstantial evidence. It’s not a whole lot.”
If you think the evidence presented by the Case Breakers sounds more circumstantial than concrete, Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback told USA Today he agrees. While the police have no official comment, the FBI admits it was considering Bates as a sixth Zodiac victim after receiving a handwritten letter linking them, but another in 2016 admitted it was a “sick joke.” The Case Breakers a DNA test of hairs at the Bates murder site would provide the best evidence and have asked investigators to comply.
Based on this, do you think the Case Breakers have indeed broken the Zodiac Killer case and proved it was Gary F. Poste? We await further reports.