On Wednesday, a group of independent investigators who call themselves “the Case Breakers” announced via press release that they had identified the true identity of the Zodiac Killer. Fox News and TMZ picked the story up, and it rapidly spread from there. No surprise, given infamy of one the country’s most notorious uncaught serial killers, who is thought to have killed at least five people across California in the 1960s and taunted police with his indecipherable clues.
The Case Breakers identified the late Gary Francis Poste as the killer, noting some facial scarring that may match sketch artist’s depictions, alleging that one of the Zodiac Killer’s codes can be cracked using Poste’s full name and tying him to the murder of a waitress named Cheri Jo Bates.
Social media trumpeted the whole thing as a mystery finally solved, but not all experts were so quick to declare the case closed. A few longtime Zodiac Killer obsessives were unimpressed by the Case Breakers’ case, which they laid out in a bizarre press release that, frankly, gives off some conspiratorial vibes of its own.
“One of the weakest I think I’ve ever seen against any so-called suspect,” Tom Voigt, author of Zodiac Killer: Just the Facts, told Rolling Stone Magazine. “I wouldn’t even call him a suspect. I don’t think he checks any boxes whatsoever.”
The FBI and police agreed with Voigt’s assessment, telling the San Francisco Chronicle the case is still open and the Code Breakers’ evidence is “circumstantial.”
So, at best, Poste’s name can be added to the list of suspects. For his part, Voigt says Richard Gaikowski is his top suspect. A persistent internet meme has it that Rep. Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer. David Fincher’s 2007 film Zodiac, based on Robert Graysmith’s book of the same name, isn’t shy about advancing a case for Arthur Leigh Allen. And at least one person thinks there is no Zodiac Killer — the various homicides attributed to him were unconnected and some innocent weirdo got a kick out of sending police on a wild goose chase with nonsense cyphers.
That’s all to say, the case is very much open.