By Writers Andrew M. Miller & Louis Casisano, FOX News Website; 11/20/21
A national team of retired law enforcement specialists claim a trove of evidence has been discovered in the High Sierra that witnesses say belonged to deceased Zodiac suspect Gary Francis Poste.
“When the Case Breakers approached officials about a new Zodiac candidate earlier this year, five police, state and federal agencies wouldn’t collaborate,” the sleuths said in a statement Saturday. “But last week, the organizer of this 10-year cold case team, Thomas J. Colbert, received a tip from long-time sources in Poste’s former town: They had verified the existence of an evidentiary goldmine.”
The 40-member task force of volunteers say the 80-year-old Air Force veteran tried to get rid of his arsenal of firepower and ammo. They are now expected to provide DNA and ballistic evidence for the unsolved case.
“Old associates of the housepainter report that a few years prior to Poste’s 2018 death, he quietly gave away his weapons, pistol parts, gunpowder (above), bullets and shell casings – more than a thousand involving 25 different calibers – to his favorite locals,” the team said. “Most of these peculiar ‘gifts’ have remained in basements and closets, untouched, ever since.”
The Case Breakers added that it took Colbert and his town sources “several hours to box up the historic haul and methodically forward it to team members standing by at private forensic labs in three states.”
In October, the volunteer crew announced that it had identified Poste as the man allegedly responsible for at least five deaths that occurred in 1968 and 1969 in the San Francisco Bay area. But after almost two years of research, the investigators now believe the number of Zodiac victims is at least a dozen, with crime scenes stretching from San Diego to Lake Tahoe.
Unlike most serial killers, the Zodiac taunted authorities with complex ciphers in letters sent to newspapers and law enforcement. The slayings have spawned documentaries, books and movies in the years since. For 60 years, professional and amateur sleuths have pored over the case in an effort to unmask the psychopath.
After years of decryption work, an award-winning TV newsman named Dale Julin claimed to have cracked the codes. Then, following his approach to the Case Breakers in 2020, new forensic evidence, old photos and home videos were uncovered from Poste’s former home and private darkroom. One 1963 picture features unique car-accident scars on his forehead (at top). They happen to match marks drawn on a 1969 San Francisco Police Department sketch of the Zodiac, provided by three eyewitnesses and a police officer. Former FBI agents that lead the team called this match-up “irrefutable.”
The day after the Case Breakers revealed their new information, current agents at the Bureau announced that the investigation is still open.
Colbert said he was both frustrated and saddened the FBI, along with several other California departments – including Riverside, Vallejo, the DOJ and even the State Attorney General – chose not to get involved in this case. But the team founder said he is fully aware of what agencies are facing today.
“Only five percent of them have staffed cold case teams now, which explains why there’s a quarter-million backlog of unsolved murders. Understand that this has never been about fame and fortune. It’s about finding answers and justice for families, and in this case, there’re about 20 Zodiac siblings still alive. If our efforts also take a bit of the workload off the men and women in blue, that’s a bonus.”