Cold case team says it has identified the Zodiac Killer

A team of more than 40 specialists believes it has identified the Zodiac Killer, an unnamed serial murderer who operated in the San Francisco Bay area in the 1960s.

The Case Breakers, which consist of former law enforcement investigators, journalists and military intelligence officers, said in a press release that they believe they have identified the Zodiac Killer as Gary Francis Poste, who died in 2018.

The Zodiac Killer has been connected to five murders between 1968 and 1969. The killer notably taunted authorities through complex riddles and ciphers sent to media and police during the investigations.

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The Case Breakers say they identified Poste as the killer after uncovering forensic evidence and photos from Poste's darkroom. The team said a few images featured in the press release show scars on his forehead that match scars on a sketch of the Zodiac Killer. 

Jen Bucholtz, a former Army counterintelligence agent who works on cold cases, said the team also found deciphered letters sent by the Zodiac that revealed Poste as the killer, according to Fox News.

"So you've got to know Gary's full name in order to decipher these anagrams," she said. "I just don't think there's any other way anybody would have figured it out."

The Case Breakers also believe that Poste is responsible for the murder of 18-year-old Cheri Jo Bates, who was found dead in an alleyway in Riverside, Calif., two years before the Zodiac killings. However, Fox News noted that the Riverside Police Department's Homicide Cold Case Unit determined that her murder is not connected to the Zodiac.

Nevertheless, the Case Breakers believe Bates was a victim of the Zodiac Killer and have continually tried and failed to get police investigators to compare her DNA to Poste's. The team said they obtained a 1975 FBI memo to Riverside police saying that Bates was a Zodiac victim.

Team member Bill Proctor, a former police officer who spent 40 years in television news, told Fox News that the Riverside Police Department is not revealing all the evidence it has on the killer.

"They're not talking about what they have, which means that anybody else who comes to the table might have a reasonable argument that an outside organization's information is as valuable, if not more valuable, than what the police department has already done," he said.

Fox noted that the Riverside Police Department this year offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the infamous murder case.