Zodiac killer 'identified after 54 years’ as investigators accuse FBI of ‘secretly’ listing the suspect back in 2016

18 May 2023, 11:28 | Updated: 18 May 2023, 11:33

The Zodiac killer was never officially caught.
The Zodiac killer was never officially caught. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

A cold case investigator has claimed the FBI identified the man who was suspected as the notorious ‘Zodiac Killer’ responsible for at least five murders in the 60s.

Thomas Colbert, an investigative journalist and a leader of the non-profit volunteer group Case Breakers, has claimed an FBI whistleblower confirmed Air Force veteran Gary Francis Poste was “secretly listed” as the suspected Zodiac killer back in 2016.

Mr Colbert also claimed the FBI has a ‘partial’ DNA sample on the suspect - who died in 2018 - that links him to the murders.

The investigative group said: “The felon has been secretly listed as the Zodiac ‘suspect’ in headquarters’ computers since 2016 – with his ‘partial DNA’ safely secured at the feds’ Quantico, Virginia lab.”

Mr Colbert said he believes authorities failed to do enough to look into the suspect while he was still alive.

A team of 40 ex-police officers, federal agents, forensic experts and private investigators has also accused government agencies of mishandling the case.

The unknown identity of the killer has fuelled speculation for nearly half a century, as he was active in the late 60s in California’s San Francisco Bay Area before he disappeared suddenly.

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Betty Lou Jensen, David Faraday and Darlene Ferrin are among the known victims of the serial killer.
Betty Lou Jensen, David Faraday and Darlene Ferrin are among the known victims of the serial killer. Picture: Getty

Mr Colbert’s group also allege they have linked Poste to each of the five known Zodiac murders and uncovered a sixth victim, identified as Cheri Jo Bates, from 1966 – but the FBI deny these allegations.

The group has accused the FBI of ignoring evidence and mishandling the case, as the Federal Bureau continues to reject the group’s reports.

The Case Breakers' whistleblower source said: “Like cops, federal agents are dealing with huge caseloads, constant training, odd rules and bureaucracy,.

“But when someone wearing a badge or uniform works with others to avoid or hide materials, sidestep difficult procedures, or lie about evidence, they’re hurting our volunteers and the thousands of families waiting for answers.”

The group's statement added: “Sadly, the team has documented over two dozen examples of law enforcement unprofessionalism in the field.”

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A letter from the Zodiac killer, who often sent letters to press in Northern California about his killings.
A letter from the Zodiac killer, who often sent letters to press in Northern California about his killings. Picture: Getty

Between 1968-69, at least five people were killed by an unidentified serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area, who famously taunted police with coded messages and named themselves “the Zodiac”.

While five known victims have been linked to the Zodiac killer, it is believed more than 20 people fell victim to the murderer.

The FBI maintain that the case remains unsolved, as it was as open as recently as October 2021.

The group said Poste began giving away his collection of guns and ammunition to people in his town before he died. The Case Breakers said they have now gathered all of the collection and have since sent it off for lab investigations in three different states.

Mr Colbert has called the case a “coverup” as he believes it is “nonsensical for the people that are still waiting”.

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