Case of the Zodiac killer takes another twist – but police say it is not solved | California

The case of the Zodiac killer took another twist this week after a team of investigators claimed they had revealed the man who has been fixating the public and amateur nonsense for decades.

But the apparent breakthrough was not so unequivocal.

On Wednesday, a team of former law enforcement members, prosecutors and intelligence officers calling themselves Case Breakers said they had established the identity of the killer responsible for a series of murders in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s.

However, police have said the investigation into the killings is still open. Law enforcement regularly receives tips on the case, including from people who believe they know the identity of the killer.

The Zodiac killer was responsible for a series of murders in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s and remains one of America’s biggest cold cases. But despite the attention this week, police and some investigators are still skeptical of the alleged development. Zodiac has managed to stay in the headlines for years as new theories continue to emerge.

Case Breakers said they had new physical and forensic evidence and eyewitnesses supporting their theory that an Air Force veteran who died in 2018 was behind the killings.

“I absolutely feel we’ve solved this case,” Tom Colbert, a member of Case Breakers, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The FBI and San Francisco Police Department declined to comment directly on the statement, but said the investigation was still open.

“The FBI’s investigation into the Zodiac Killer is still open and unresolved. “Because of the ongoing nature of the investigation and out of respect for the victims and their families, we will not comment further at this time,” the FBI office in San Francisco said in a statement.

A cryptogram sent to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 by the Zodiac Killer.
A cryptogram sent to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 by the Zodiac Killer. Photo: Anonymous / AP

Case Breakers said in a press release that they had made their identification based in part on photos of the suspect showing scars on his forehead that match a political sketch of zodiac signs. The team also said the suspect’s name could be found in anagrams sent by Zodiac.

Zodiac terrorized the communities of Northern California between 1968 and 1969 and was responsible for the deaths of five people. Police suspect he could also be behind other crimes. The killings have been the subject of numerous documentaries and the 2007 thriller Zodiac.

Case Breakers believes the killer is also responsible for the 1966 murder of Cheri Jo Bates in Riverside, a belief the FBI may have shared at some point, according to a 1975 memorandum from the group. Local police say they have determined Bate’s killing is not linked to the Zodiac.

The Zodiac Killer caught the attention of the public after he started sending mocking messages and figures to local newspapers and threatened to commit further violence if his letters were not printed.

In 2020, a team of experts cracked the code for a 1969 digit that Zodiac sent to the San Francisco Chronicle, though law enforcement at the time said it did not help investigators much.

“I hope you enjoy trying to catch me,” reads the message, sent in a series of symbols. “I’m not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise faster because I now have enough slaves to work for me.”

The arrest of the Golden State Killer, identified in 2018 after investigators used forensic genealogy to tie a former police officer to the decades-old rapes and murders, spawned hopes that zodiac signs could finally be identified. But unlike that case, there is no confirmed DNA from any of the Zodiac killings. Police managed to create a partial profile by testing saliva traces from a stamp on a letter sent by Zodiac, but it can only be used to exclude suspects.

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