Riverside (10-6-21): Justice for Cheri Jo, Part 2


By Alec Schemmel, Sinclair – TND; Wednesday, 10/6/21

WASHINGTON (TND) — A group of investigators and specialists think they may have a path to identifying the infamous “Zodiac Killer,” but according to the group, they are being prevented from pursuing the case.

The infamous serial killer, who terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the 1960s, has been hunted by law enforcement officials, other experts and everyday citizens for years without any success. Now a task force of 40 investigators, led by retired FBI agents, believe they have found the notorious serial killer’s DNA. But the volunteers, calling themselves the Case Breakers, says it’s being prevented from testing it.

“An elite CSI team from two Maryland universities has been stopped from studying hairs found in the clenched fist of a teen student, murdered more than a half-century ago,” the cold case team wrote in an Oct. 6 news release. “The experts strongly believe they belong to a newly-uncovered ‘Zodiac Killer’ suspect – a psychopath who shot, stabbed or choked to death as many as ten Californians between 1962 and 1970.”

The coed, Cheri Jo Bates, whose body was found Oct. 30, 1966, was stabbed 42 times and almost decapitated outside a college library in Riverside, California, according to the commander of the Riverside Police Department (RPD), Chief L.T. Kinkead. The sleuths said the agency “dutifully refrigerated” the DNA and other genetic materials found near Bates’ body. That included the brown hairs, which the group of investigators believes belong to their Zodiac suspect – with brown hair at the time.

“An outlaw-turned-whistleblower tipped these developments to the team, led by retired FBI agents. The turncoat claims to have escaped from the Zodiac’s criminal ‘posse,’ roaming in the mountains for decades,” said the release. However, last week, RPD’s public information officer, Ryan Railsback, announced his department was “100% sure” Bates was killed by someone other than the Zodiac.

The group, however, claims the RPD is prohibiting the retired lawmen and women from doing a comparative analysis between the DNA obtained from Bates and that of Gary F. Poste, who recently passed away, according to the news release.

“After a statewide examination, the renowned sleuths have recovered new physical and forensic evidence, signed up eyewitnesses, filed court affidavits, and secured decades of pictures from Poste’s former darkroom,” stated the news release. “That includes photographic proof, as a former FBI agent put it, of ‘irrefutable’ scars on our Zodiac’s forehead (left) – scars that were spotted by 3 witnesses and an observing cop, then later passed on to the 1969 SFPD sketch artist.”

RPD’s current police chief has reportedly refused to consider Poste a possible suspect for the Zodiac killings. This, despite the FBI calling Bates the Zodiac’s “sixth victim,” according to their own 1975 news release.

“Fifty-five years ago, RPD chose to ignore the obvious. It would take just minutes to quickly and quietly compare Poste’s DNA,” said the team organizer, Thomas J. Colbert. “You’d think the pain Cheri Jo’s family and her friends have been living with would be Priority #1. Here’s to hoping the next chief finds the courage to act.”


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