I have operated a missing person blog since 2016. I completed a Private Investigator course from ICS Canada.I took forensic courses online.
Is Gary Francis Poste Really the Zodiac Killer?
The Zodiac Killer, according to a group of cold case specialists known as the Case Breakers, may have finally been named. Gary Francis Poste, who died in 2018, joins the shortlist of men who have been suggested as the notorious serial killer, one that baffled police in the San Francisco area in the 1960s. Several questions arise with this development as amateurs, professionals, and true-crime readers look for corroboration as to whether or not Poste truly is the Zodiac Killer. In this article, I will ask some of these questions, which I think may be fruitful investigative angles on this case.
Why Shouldn't We Be Skeptical of Case Breakers for Now?
There is reason to be skeptical of the Case Breakers' claims. Firstly, Poste is by no means the first person to have an accusing finger pointed at him. Arthur Leigh Allen was considered one of the leading candidates for being the serial killer, a position that the 2007 film "Zodiac" seemed to champion.
Additionally, there are reports out on October 7th, 2021 that suggest that police and FBI in the United States are not on board with the Poste accusation, at least at this point. The BBC reported: "On Wednesday, the Case Breakers - a group of cold case specialists - named a man who died in 2018 as the killer. But the FBI and local police have pushed back against the allegations."
But skepticism need not be permanent. I think that with cases such as these, people that take an early position feel bound to it for all time. That's not needed and nor is it wise: people that don't change their opinions are closed-minded.
BBC Article Regarding Police Position
Law enforcement agencies say the man identified by a team of private investigators is not a suspect.
What of the Palm Print, Witnesses, and Handwriting Comparisons?
The mystery of the identity of the Zodiac Killer has been of such interest for decades that there is no shortage of speculative reading material on the topic. It will be interesting to see if the following can be cross-referenced against Poste.
They were able to lift a palm print from a payphone that was thought to have been used by the Zodiac Killer. They were never able to match this print to anyone. Perhaps there is a chance that it wasn't actually left by the Zodiac. But one valid question is this: Can this print be matched to Poste?
Poste died in 2018 and finding a palm print of someone who has been dead for a few years can't be easy. Common places he left prints, like on knobs or cups, surely will have been wiped or altered since his death.
But it's conceivable that something he handled would still have a print on it. Many of us might have handled an item that only gets handled occasionally, like wall fixtures, mantelpieces, or photographs in a photo album. If the palm print from the investigation can be matched to Poste, then that would be a very compelling piece of additional evidence.
Also, there were people who saw the Zodiac Killer. He wasn't an invisible ninja that went into stealth mode through San Francisco and disappeared into shadows whenever someone looked his way.
Mike Mageau, Kathleen Johns, police officer Donald Fouke are people who may have seen the Zodiac Killer. It has been over 50 years since the 1960s ended but it would still be interesting to see what any surviving witnesses think of Poste and his likeness to the man they saw and suspected to be the serial killer.
That said, witness identification can be very tricky, especially after all this time. Additionally, the Zodiac Killer once remarked in his letters that he looked different in normal life than he did while on the prowl for victims.
Handwriting comparisons might provide better food for thought. The Zodiac Killer wrote letters to the police. Surely, there would be people familiar with Poste's handwriting. It's not unreasonable to think that something bearing his handwriting could be compared to letters that the Zodiac wrote. Handwriting comparisons are not foolproof but they can't be ignored either.
Opinion on the Palm Print
Few Mysteries in Crime Writing More Researched Than the Zodiac Identity
This is not a mystery that will be shelved and ignored. The identity of the Zodiac Killer has too much interest. For that reason, I think all available angles will be explored until Poste is either confirmed or cleared.
As for similar mysteries involving identity, there are few that are more looked at in American crime. "Who shot JFK?" might be a bigger question but many feel as though there is a satisfying answer. A couple of crime mysteries that remain complete airballs at this time have to do with the Chicago Tylenol Murders and the identity of the man dubbed D.B. Cooper, a man who hijacked a plane several decades ago in the Pacific Northwest.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Shane Lambert
Liz Westwood from UK on October 07, 2021:
This is an interesting and thoughtful article. I am intrigued to discover what the outcome will be.