Word has been circulating that the Zodiac Killer, the mysterious individual behind the 1960s death of at least five victims in California, has been found. The FBI, however, has denied this and says the case is still very much open.
It was a great story, finding the murderer who was known for sending taunting letters and cryptograms that often included astrological symbols and references to police and newspapers.
An independent cold case group claimed to have uncovered the identity of the man behind the moniker. In coming to their conclusion, Case Breakers, a group of 40+ retired law enforcement, military and former journalists, linked the Zodiac Killer to the death of Cheri Jo Bates. Bates was murdered in Riverside in 1966.
Case Breakers based their theory on connecting photos of their suspect to a 1969 police sketch of the Zodiac and anagrams they say reveal their suspect’s name.
The man they pointed the finger at passed away in 2018.
“I absolutely feel we solved this case,” Case Breakers told the San Francisco Chronicle.
But, in a statement, the FBI disputed the claims, as has Riverside Police.
“The Zodiac Killer case remains open. We have no new information to share at the moment,” the FBI said.
Meanwhile, Riverside police told NBC authorities have “ruled out any connection” between the murder of Cheri Jo Bates and the Zodiac Killer.
“We don’t know how we can be any more clear,” they said. “The $US50,000 (around $68,000) private reward is still valid. If someone has any information on the Bates case please come forward,” they reportedly said.
They told the San Francisco Chronicle that there wasn’t a chance their ‘killer’ murdered Bates. They also said the Case Breakers claims are ‘all circumstantial evidence’.
Riverside police had already said in August said the anonymous handwritten letter purportedly tying the Bates case to the Zodiac Killer was a hoax.
In December, an Australian mathematician solved a coded message sent by the Zodiac Killer.
The Zodiac Killer’s code, also known as the ‘340 cipher’ was sent to the newspaper on November 8, 1969. It was made up of 63 characters comprised of letters and symbols.
The 340 cipher had haunted the police, FBI and cryptologists for over five decades.
While the code was cracked, the Zodiac Killer has not been found, and the case is still very much open in four jurisdictions in California.