The self-proclaimed “Zodiac Killer” was recently falsely identified by a team of retired law enforcement and military members, The Case Breakers.
The Zodiac killer was a 1960s serial killer in Northern California. The case is described as the most famous unsolved murder case in American history. Amateur investigators and detectives have been obsessed with solving this case. There are seven confirmed murder victims in the San Fransico Bay Area by the Zodiac, although he claimed the murder of 37 victims. Two of the seven victims survived.
He named himself the Zodiac Killer in a series of letters to newspapers that threatened bombings and murder sprees if they were not printed for the public. The letters contained four cipher codes, of which two remain unsolved. International interest in the case began when the Zodiac stopped written communication in 1974. The case was marked “inactive” by the San Francisco Police Department in 2004 but re-opened in 2007. The California Department of Justice has left the case open since 1969.
Mike Renault Mageau and Bryan Calvin Hartnell are the only two known survivors of the Zodiac. Mageau was conversing in a car with her co-worker, Darlene Ferrin, when the Zodiac shot and killed Ferrin. Mageau was shot four times and survived. Hartnell was with Cecelia Ann Shepard on a beach when the Zodiac stabbed and killed Shepard. Hartnell survived six stab wounds.
According to the FBI, the Zodiac case is still open and they have neither confirmed nor denied the validity of the recent identification. Arthur Leigh Allen is the only suspect publicly named by authorities. Allen died in 1992 and was an elementary school teacher and convicted sex offender.
The most recent theory, claiming Gary Francis Poste to be the Zodiac Killer, is based on a code left by the killer. The code was cracked a year ago; it said “I hope you are having fun trying to catch me.” Forensic evidence on the case shows photos of Poste with scars on his forehead matching the scars on the Zodiac sketch. The sketch was drawn in 1969 from the memory of three teenagers who saw the killer across the street.
Poste living until 2018 was the fuel for many Twitter jokes since he would have lived to see the 2007 film "Zodiac," along with other serial killer movies.
The California Riverside Police received a handwritten letter in 1967 believed to be linked to The Zodiac. But in 2016, investigators received an anonymous message confessing it was a joke. The California Police Departments were told not to comment on the case because it is, in fact, still open.
There have been several false claims on the identity of the killer over the years. A man claimed his stepfather, Jack Terrance, was the killer in 2007. The FBI shut this accusation down after testing Terrance’s DNA with DNA left from one of the Zodiac's crime scenes.
In 2008, a woman claimed her father, Guyward Hendrickson, to be the killer. She said she was with him for two of the murders. No evidence showed this to be true. In 2014, a man published a book insisting his search for his father, Earl Van Best Jr., led him to believe he was the Zodiac.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been the subject of an ongoing joke that suggests he is the Zodiac Killer. The public has talked about his resemblance to the drawn photo of the killer for years. He began including himself in the joke on Twitter and “thanked God” when the killer was thought to be identified.
BREAKING: Ted Cruz releases a statement commenting on reports of the identification of the zodiac killer. pic.twitter.com/xKTTtQGfTj— Keith Edwards (@keithedwards) October 6, 2021