A coded letter sent to a San Francisco newspaper by a serial killer nicknamed “The Zodiac” in 1969 has been deciphered by an amateur sleuth team from the US, Australia and Belgium more than fifty years later, reports the San Francisco Chronicle
The cipher is one of many sent by the killer, who signed as Zodiac, to detectives and the media. Zodiac terrorised Northern California from 1968 to 1969, killing at least 5 people in the state. His identity has never been revealed. According to code-breaking expert David Oranchak, the text of the cipher included phrases such as “I hope you enjoy trying to catch me” and “I am not afraid of the gas chamber, as it would only rather send me to heaven, where enough slaves now await me.”
Oranchak, who has been working on Zodiac codes for years, said the unravelled cipher has been sent to the FBI, who have confirmed its accuracy. “The FBI is aware that the cipher attributed to the Zodiac killer was recently unravelled by private individuals. – said Cameron Polan, a spokeswoman for the FBI San Francisco office – As the case is not yet closed, and out of respect for the victims and their families, we will not comment further.”
This is the second time the Zodiac cipher has been cracked. The first letter, sent piecemeal to The Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner and Vallejo Times-Herald newspapers in 1969, managed to unravel a schoolteacher and his wife.