The Zodiac Killer identity

The+Zodiac+claimed+that+they+were+collecting+their+victims+as+slaves+for+the+afterlife.+Photo+By+Jade+Buck

The Zodiac claimed that they were collecting their victims as slaves for the afterlife. Photo By Jade Buck

Jade Buck

Has the Zodiac Killer’s identity been found?

The Zodiac Killer, aka Zodiac or The Zodiac, is a serial killer, who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s. The Zodiac case has been said to be the most famous unsolved murder case in American history. It has inspired amateur detectives to attempt to resolve it and entertainment such as films, television, novels and video games have been made based around the case. Zodiac has targeted at least seven victims including, three couples and a taxi driver. Two of the victims survived gun and knife ambushes. It’s said that the killer has been linked to as many as 28 murders, Zodiac claimed to have killed 37 people in letters to newspapers. Zodiac gave the name to themself in their letters that they mailed to newspaper companies. 

They called themself “Zodiac” in their fourth letter to the San Francisco Chronicle Aug. 7,  Four of their letters included cryptograms and two of those cryptograms still remain unsolved1969. They wrote: “Dear Editor, this is the Zodiac speaking.” It is still unknown why they called themself “Zodiac.”; one cryptogram took 51 years to crack. They threatened killing sprees and bombings if their letters were not printed. 

“I like killing people because it is so much fun,” said the Zodiac Killer in one of their letters. Zodiac said this through code, aka cryptograms, and was sent to three local newspapers. The killer claimed their cryptograms would reveal their identity. 

Cipher Z408 was cracked by a high school teacher and his wife soon after the letter was published. On Aug. 1, 1969, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle and Vallejo Times-Herald all received identical handwritten letters envelopes without a return address. At the beginning of the letter, it said, “Dear Editor, I am the killer of the two teenagers last Christmas at Lake Herman,” the letters had details from the murders that only Zodiac would have known. The killer threatened attacks if their letters were not printed on the front page of the newspaper. 

The Zodiac claimed that they were collecting their victims as slaves for the afterlife. The Zodiac Killer’s confirmed victims were 16-year-old Betty Lou Jensen, 17-year-old David Faraday, 19-year-old Mike Mageau, 22-year-old Darlene Ferrin, 20-year-old Bryan Hartnell, 22-year-old Cecilia Shepard and 30-year-old Paul Stine. Mageau and Hartnell were the only survivors. 

Olivia Holbrook, a freshman at VHS said “I think what happened was pretty crazy.”

Zodiac claimed to have wrote his name in this cryptogram. Four of zodiacs letters included cryptograms. two of those cryptograms still remain unsolved. Photo by Jade Buck

Zodiac would also sign their letters with a circle and a cross over it, seemingly appearing as a target or a coordinate symbol. Authorities believe that the signature symbols were meant to represent coordinates possibly indicating future killing locations.

Authorities have never fully decoded the symbols.

Holbrook also said, “I think that it might be true but at the same time no one really knows yet.” 

Arthur Leigh Allen was the only suspect authorities ever publicly named. Allen, a former elementary school teacher and convicted sex offender died in 1999 in Vallejo, CA at the age of 58 from a heart attack at his home. Allen was interviewed as a suspect in 1969 when he was seen near the scene of one of the Zodiac’s attacks. Allen came to the police attention again in 1971 because one of Allen’s friends said to police that Allen had spoken of his desire to kill people and used the name Zodiac. When the San Francisco police searched Allens home the next year they found no evidence linking Allen to the Zodiac killings. 

Zodiac came out with a letter after the police mentioned Allen on TV. Part of the letter said “I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME THAT WASN’T ME ON THE TV SHOW. WHICH BRINGS UP A POINT ABOUT ME I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE GAS CHAMBER BECAUSE IT WILL SEND ME TO PARADISE ALL THE SOONER BECAUSE I NOW HAVE ENOUGH SLAVES TO WORK FOR ME WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS NOTHING WHEN THEY REACH PARADICE SO THEY ARE AFRAID OF DEATH I AM NOT AFRAID BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY NEW LIFE IS LIFE WILL BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADISE DEATH,”. 

It is unknown what television show the Zodiac was alluding to. The San Francisco Police Department marked the case “inactive” in April 2004 but reopened it at some point before March 2007. The case also remains open in the city of Vallejo, Napa County and Solano County.

50 years later, on Oct. 6, 2021 a group of 40 former police officers, journalists and military intelligence personnel announced they may have identified the Zodiac Killer. The case breakers think that Gary Francis Poste was the zodiac killer because Poste was to a resemblance to a police sketch of the Zodiac Killer because of the scars on his forehead and the letters of his name were found to change the meaning of the ciphers the serial killer had sent in letters to newspapers and identified Poste as the killer. Case Breakers have been searching for years, which led them to discover new forensic evidence and photos from Gary Francis Poste’s personal darkroom linking him to the Zodiac case. They said it had based its case on forensic evidence, photos found in Poste’s darkroom and on some of the serial killer’s coded notes. Poste was born in 1938. A man named Wil said that Poste would have to kill to feel better, even if it was just small animals. Wil also claimed to have witnessed Poste burying murder weapons. He has even given the location of these weapons to The Case Breakers. Wil claims to have been a part of Poste’s Zodiac “posse” and groomed him into a “killing machine.” Poste died in state custody for pushing his wife down the stairs of their Groveland home in California in Feb. 2016. at 80 on Aug. 23, 2018. He died from sepsis, septic shock, dysphagia and vascular dementia.

Hunter Troyna a junior at Ventura high school said, “I know who he is but not really, I know the man was really sus, I have heard the news about The Zodiac, However, it hasn’t been confirmed by the FBI so in my opinion, I won’t believe it. For now.”