The Zodiac Killer Identified? Not According to Law Enforcement

Independent investigators claim to have zeroed in on the notorious California serial killer, but police officers aren’t buying the theory

Wednesday’s big buzz that a team of independent investigators called the Case Breakers had solved the decades-old mystery of the Zodiac Killer—with all roads leading inevitably back to Fox News—is being dismissed outright by the police agencies that have been trying to nail the elusive murderer since the ’60s.

The cold-case sleuths fingered a Sierra man named Gary Francis Poste, who they believe died in 2018, as the murderer of at least five people in Northern California in 1968 and 1969 based in part on a photo found in Poste’s darkroom that they say show forehead scars matching those in a 1969 police sketch of the serial killer. The team also claims they have linked their Zodiac to the 1966 stabbing death of 18-year-old college freshman Cheri Jo Bates, whose body was found in Riverside in 1966.

The Riverside police, however, say they ruled out any connection between Bates and the real Zodiac in August, and that an anonymous letter sent to cops in 1966 tying Bates to the infamous murderer was a hoax.

“We don’t know how we can be any more clear,” Riverside Police Department Public Information Officer Ryan J. Railsback tells NBC News. “The $50,000 private reward is still valid. If someone has any information on the Bates case please come forward.”

In August, Riverside PD released a statement saying, “In 2016, investigators received an anonymous letter from a person admitting the handwritten letter sent to our department months after Cheri Jo Bates was murdered was written as a sick joke, and he was not the Zodiac killer.”

An FBI rep told the network, “The case remains open and there is no new information to report.”

Former San Francisco PD homicide inspector Frank Falzon—who was once partners with lead Zodiac investigator Dave Toschi and later took over the case—also doesn’t buy that Case Breakers broke the case.

Falzon tells TMZ that he doesn’t remember Poste being among the hundreds of names he came across while investigating the killings, and that without handwriting or fingerprint evidence the freelance detectives have nothing.

However, Case Breakers tells the outlet that they asked the Riverside police to test DNA found on Bates’s hair to see if it matched Poste’s and that the cops refused because the department is “100 percent sure” Zodiac didn’t kill Bates and they won’t consider any suspects outside of the county.

A source at Riverside PD tells TMZ that they are not aware of any such request from Case Breakers.

The San Francisco Chronicle—recipient of some of the real Zodiac’s cryptic missives and part of the story back in the day—dismissed the new findings as the “latest of the hundreds of Zodiac Killer theories floated each year,” and noted that Case Breakers “also believes it solved the D.B. Cooper hijacking-ransom mystery and the disappearance and apparent murder of union boss Jimmy Hoffa.”

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