The FBI’s investigation into the Zodiac Killer – who was purportedly identified this week by an independent cold-case task force – is ongoing and unsolved, the agency told The Post.
FBI officials in San Francisco said late Thursday in a statement they were still investigating the notorious Zodiac Killer, who has been linked to five “seemingly random brutal murders” in 1968 and 1969 in the San Francisco Bay area while taunting authorities and local newspapers with elaborate coded messages and cryptic notes.
“The FBI’s investigation into the Zodiac Killer remains open and unsolved,” FBI’s San Francisco field office said in a statement. “Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, and out of respect for the victims and their families, we will not be providing further comment at this time.”
The update came one day after the Case Breakers – a team of 40-plus former law enforcement investigators – told Fox News they identified the so-called Zodiac Killer as Gary Francis Poste, an Air Force veteran who died in 2018.
The group also tied the serial killer to a sixth murder in Southern California in 1966, some two years before the first slaying linked to the Zodiac Killer and 400 miles away from San Francisco.
The Case Breakers claim they have evidence that Poste killed Cheri Jo Bates, 18, who was found dead with more than 40 stab wounds in an alleyway on the campus of Riverside City College after her father reported her missing, Fox News reported.
But police in Riverside told the San Francisco Chronicle they debunked that theory in August.
“Is there a chance that [Poste] killed Cheri Jo Bates? No,” Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback told the newspaper. “If you read what they put out, it’s all circumstantial evidence. It’s not a whole lot.”
Sources at both the FBI and San Francisco police told the Chronicle that the evidence out forth by the Case Breakers team didn’t appear to be conclusive.
The cold-case team’s theory hinges on a similarity in photos of Poste to a 1969 police sketch of the Zodiac Killer – featuring apparent identical forehead scars – and anagrams that purportedly revealed the Air Force veteran’s name, the Chronicle reported.
“I absolutely feel we solved this case,” Tom Colbert of the Case Breakers told the newspaper. “There’s no ego here. We do this to solve cases.”
The only man previously named as a suspect in the case was Arthur Leigh Allen, of Vallejo, who died in 1992, the Chronicle reported.
A relative of Poste’s had called the Chronicle six years ago to report that he had tried to kill him with a hammer. The man contacted cops, but law enforcement officials later told the newspaper there was no apparent connection to the Zodiac case.
Poste’s relative said he was living in Groveland at the time. His former daughter-in-law told the Chronicle Wednesday she believes the Case Breakers finally cracked the 53-year mystery.
“It’s my birthday today, and this all coming out is a great birthday present for me,” Michelle Wynn, 52, told the newspaper, adding that Poste was “without a doubt” the infamous serial killer who eluded cops for decades.
“Being around him, knowing his demeanor and his shadiness and twistedness – I have an intuition, I can read people,” Wynn said.
The 1969 police sketch was the “bell-ringer” for Wynn, she said.
“I saw that and thought, ‘That’s him,’” Wynn told the Chronicle. “Totally.”
Poste died of natural causes in 2018, Wynn said. He was 80, according to county records cited by the Chronicle.
But a Virginia man who led a team that the FBI confirmed cracked the Zodiac’s so-called “340 cipher” in December said the Case Breakers likely missed the mark by claiming it contained Poste’s name.
“It seems … unlikely that the name is actually in there,” David Oranchak told the Chronicle.