Avoided Time for His Crime

Infamous serial killer possibly identified by crime-solving team

Zodiac Killers police sketch

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Zodiac Killer’s police sketch

Anna Amundson, Staff Writer

5 confirmed murders and the culprit never caught. 5 lives taken. 5 sons, daughters, cousins- all whom will never watch the sunrise again. Their families left with no closure other than a blurry police sketch and a boastful detailed description of their loved one’s murder sent in an encrypted note to be published in a local newspaper the next day. To their families, these were tragedies, life-changing events that would never leave them the same. To the Zodiac Killer, these were just numbers. The Zodiac Killer operated in Northern California in the late 1960s, and is described as the most infamous murder case in American history.

“Everybody would know about it. Right away. It would dominate the local news.” Officer Hefty, a School Resource Officer at the Fort Atkinson High School states as he points out how quickly a small-town tragedy such as this one would reach the public.

After years of investigation, in October 2021, a group named The Case Breakers- a group of dedicated specialists who work to investigate unsolved mysteries, believe they have identified the Zodiac Killer as a man named Gary Francis Poste- who died in 2018. The team is constructed of former law enforcement and forensics specialists, who have dissected both new and old evidence related to the case. The case had remained unsolved for more than 52 years, and has been investigated by an immense number of specialists.

“It’s good to get different eyes on things too,” Hefty remarks. With a case such as this one, sharing the case among departments and other specialists could be beneficial. This way, it reaches the knowledge of more people.

One large breaking point in the investigation was having identified some scars on Poste’s forehead that the team believe match those on the Zodiac’s police sketch. Investigators also found a heelprint of Poste’s size and style that matched those at 3 other Zodiac crime scenes. The team also spoke to family members who claimed the accusations made sense after piecing together what they remember from Poste’s abnormal behaviors. The original suspected amount of murders committed by the killer was 5, but the team now believes it was double that. However, he claimed in one of his notes to have killed 37 people.

“Nowadays it’s a lot harder to get away with things like that have happened in the past,” states Hefty. As technology continues to improve, the amount of unsolved crimes are decreasing at a rapid rate.