In the San Francisco bay area during the 1960s, one of the most notorious serial killers arose: the Zodiac Killer. He had five confirmed murders dating from December 1968 to October 1969. But it is believed that he has killed as many as thirty-seven people.
The first confirmed murders were that of David Arthur Faraday, a seventeen-year-old, and Betty Lou Jensen, a sixteen-year-old. After parking in Faraday’s station wagon on Lake Herman Road, Benicia, a popular and well-known lover’s lane, they were both killed. The third confirmed victim was Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, a twenty-two-year-old waitress. She was murdered on the fourth of July in a parking lot in Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, which was only four miles away from where Faraday and Jensen had been murdered. All three of these victims were shot with the same gun.
Another man in the car with her, Michael Renault Mageau, had also been shot at, but he survived. Only 45 minutes after this attack, the Vallejo police department received an anonymous call. The caller confessed to all three murders and also accurately identified the weapon used in the murders. Mageau described the attacker as a male about 26-30 years old, with short light brown curly hair, and was approximately five foot eight inches tall. Later in 1991, he identified the shooter as Arthur Leigh Allen, but no further evidence pointed to him. The many mysterious letters of the Zodiac Killer followed these killings, allowing police to gain more evidence.
The Zodiac Killer case sat unsolved for over 50 years, but recently, an investigation team claimed they had allegedly identified the man behind these killings. Gary Francis Poste was the man classified as the Zodiac Killer.
Gary Francis Poste was a U.S. Air Force veteran that passed away at 80 years old in 2018. About six years ago, The San Francisco Chronicle was contacted by a relative of Poste’s, and they accused Poste of being the Zodiac Killer. A police sketch from 1969 resembled Poste; both had the same scar on the forehead, but at the time, police did not have any evidence directly pointing at Poste. Therefore, nothing came from the allegations.
Some of the sufficient evidence found to support the claim of Poste being the Zodiac Killer was that of photos found in Poste’s room and on some of the coded notes from the killer. Some forensic evidence proved that Poste had murdered Cheri Jo Bates. She was murdered in 1966, though not one of the confirmed murders of the Zodiac Killer, some of the other deaths eventually connected her to the other victims. The letters of Gary Francis Poste’s name were found to change the meaning of the ciphers that were sent into newspapers, which led authorities to believe that he was the killer
Lots of new information has been coming out about the Zodiac Killer recently. In December of 2020, the final coded letter was deciphered and translated. Although all this new information and evidence has come out and pointed in the direction of Poste as the killer, local police and the FBI have come out and said that they want to let the case remain open. They have stated that there was not enough rigorous evidence to determine this as a closed case. Though this has been said, investigators are inching closer and closer every day to finally finding the person behind all of these killings.