Many websites take the bait as internet sleuths identify a new suspect in the Zodiac Killer case.
Due to a lack of breaking news stories, many news outlets—including Fox News and TMZ—
rushed to broadcast an announcement from an internet team that claimed to have “solved” the Zodiac Killer case,
which has been unsolved for 53 years. Gary Francis Poste, a former police officer who died last year, may resemble one of the fictitious sketches.
Recently, internet sleuthing has become popular, thanks to shows like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark on HBO,
based on Michell McNamara’s book about the Golden State Killer, and Don’t F**k With Cats on Netflix. Not all detectives, however, are made equal, and some may be more interested in gaining publicity for themselves than in resolving a case.
Another perplexing cold case that has spawned a long list of suspects over the years, and that pops up in the news every few years when someone else thinks they’ve solved it, is a group known as The Case Breakers,
which claimed in 2018 that they had solved the iconic DB Cooper hijacking case. According to Case Breakers Rick Sherwood and John McLaughlin, one of the suspects they fingered had served in Vietnam with Rick Sherwood’s friend, Robert Rackstraw, a San Diego man who had been cleared by the FBI of involvement in the DB Cooper case in 1971. The Case Breakers had destroyed his life, and he died in 2019 as a result of their actions.
The Cooper case is still unresolved in the eyes of the FBI.
Among the team’s more than 40 members are a lot of people claiming to be private investigators and making an effort to sound important on Twitter; their PR talents, though, have gotten their work onto the pages of Wikipedia and TMZ, so at least that’s something.
Gary Francis Poste, an Air Force veteran who died in 2018, is being pointed to as a suspect in the Zodiac case. To back up their claim, they’re using evidence such as photo comparisons to composite sketches of Zodiac,
pointing to a scar on Zodiac’s forehead that’s similar to the one on those sketches. They’re also relying on the completely fabricated testimony of a local “whistleblower”
who claims to have known Poste and has seen him burying weapons in the Sierra.
Another issue to consider is whether or not some of Poste’s complete name is hidden within the Zodiac’s cipher?
They also say they have “evidence” the Zodiac murdered a Riverside lady in 1966, Cheri Jo Bates, but the Riverside Police Department has disproved that claim. Was Cheri Jo Bates murdered by [Poste]? Officer Ryan Railsback of the Riverside Police Department tells the Chronicle today that the answer is no. “If you read what [the Case Breakers] have published, you’ll see that everything is based on suspicion. It’s a small amount.”
David Fincher’s superb 2007 picture with Marc Ruffalo and Jake Gyllenhaal depicts the true story of the Zodiac Killer,
one of the region’s most lasting and terrifying mysteries. There have been numerous theories about who Zodiac is over the years,
including the 2012 true crime book by California Highway Patrol officer Lyndon Lafferty, who claimed Zodiac was still alive and well in Solano County. However, Lafferty refused to name the man, claiming he was 92 years old and married.
Codebreakers finally cracked the Zodiac 340 cipher 51 years after it was created, according to a major headline in last year’s Chronicle. …I hope you have lots of fun trying to catch me,” it read on the back. Since I now have a sufficient number of slaves to do my bidding, I have no reason to fear the gas chamber.”
Simply pick a well-known cold case, declare your certainty of solving it,
issue an overly convoluted news statement, and wait for your chance to appear on Fox News or TMZ.