Podcast featuring Leischen Kranick, Editor, Edge and
Jennifer Bucholtz, Faculty Member, Criminal Justice and Forensic Science
After seven plus years of hard work, a former news reporter, Dale Julin, has cracked some of the Zodiac Killer’s numerous ciphers and anagrams. In this episode, AMU criminal justice and forensic science professor, Jen Bucholtz, who also has a background in counterterrorism and private investigations, shares how the ciphers were decrypted using the suspect’s full name. She also discusses the mounting evidence pointing towards one suspect based on his military training on a specific type of cipher and decrypting methodology used in the Zodiac letters, geographical location during the times of the murder, and more. Learn why she has partnered with The Case Breakers, an investigation group of more than 40 former law enforcement and experts, to bring this evidence to police in hopes they’ll take this information seriously and find resolution to one of the country’s most notorious unsolved serial killing cases.
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Leischen Kranick: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. I’m your host, Leischen Kranick. Today, I’m joined by American Military University Criminal Justice and Forensic Science faculty member, Jennifer Bucholtz. She’s a former U.S. Army counterintelligence agent and a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She’s also a licensed private investigator and is involved in several cold case investigation teams, one of which we’re going to focus on today. Hi, Jen, great to talk to you.
Jen Bucholtz: Hey, Leischen, how are you?
Leischen Kranick: I’m really excited, Jen, about our conversation today. This is huge news in the world of unsolved murders. Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most notorious unsolved serial homicide cases in the country. Jen, tell our listeners what we’re talking about.
Jen Bucholtz: We are going to talk about the Zodiac case today.
Leischen Kranick: This is a really big deal, Jen. This is …
Jen Bucholtz: Yeah, it’s a little surreal that we’re even having this conversation.
Leischen Kranick: Can you give us a quick overview of the case, essentially?
Jen Bucholtz: Sure. I’ll start with a quick background on Zodiac, for the listeners who aren’t as familiar with the case. Zodiac operated in California in the late 1960s. The murders that have been attributed to the serial killer occurred in 1968 and 1969, but I don’t want to limit it just to that, because this person also claimed that they took the lives of many, many more victims that have not been attributed to him. So it’s possible that he operated outside of those years.
But so far there have been five or six, depending on which law enforcement agency you ask, homicides that were definitely committed by the Zodiac killer. Like I said, that was from 1968 to 1969. He claimed up to 37 homicide victims. During the course of these murders, and even in the years afterwards, Zodiac sent approximately 18 taunting letters to police in the San Francisco Bay area, and also media outlets in that area, as well. We think he stopped killing around 1971. As listeners will find out today, because we’re going to talk about who Zodiac is, and was, that is the year that he got married. So we believe that is when his serial homicide string stopped.
Leischen Kranick: So Jen, this, like I said, is one of the most notorious unsolved cases in the country. There’s been so many books and movies and podcasts speculating about who the killer was. Can you just give our listeners some idea of just how you got involved in this case? I know there’s a lot of people trying to solve this. So what brought your attention to it?
Jen Bucholtz: Sure. This is not a case I went after at all. In fact, although I knew some about Zodiac prior to my involvement, a couple of years ago, I could not have recited all the details for you.
What happened was, some listeners will be familiar with a past case I worked on, which was that of Rebekah Gould, who was murdered in Arkansas in 2004. I wrote a series of articles on her case in 2019. One of those was about behavioral analysis as it relates to homicide investigation, and I had actually made mention of the Zodiac Killer in my article.
So a news reporter by the name of Dale reached out to me a couple of weeks later, he emailed me, and he told me he had read my article, and saw my comment about Zodiac and that he had been researching the Zodiac case for many years, and had actually written a manuscript with his findings, and asked me if I would read it.
Naturally, I was incredibly skeptical, because there’s been hundreds, if not thousands of people over the years, who have thought that they figured out who Zodiac was, and thought they solved it. And like you said, there’s been a million-and-one documentaries and books and all this other stuff.
I saw myself in Dale, because I had written a book many years ago, it has nothing to do with true crime, but I could never find a publisher to look at it. So I sort of saw myself in him, and I thought, “Okay, if I was in his position, I would want somebody to read my manuscript, and give me their feedback.” So I agreed to take it.
I didn’t make a promise when I would get to it, but I told him I would take a look. So there’s a weekend when I was contracting overseas in 2019. And I sat down, when I had a day free, and I just started kind of perusing. And I was hooked.
He has a unique writing style, and I loved that to begin with. But as I got deeper and deeper into this manuscript, everything was falling in place, in terms of what he had uncovered about this Zodiac suspect. And it really just made so much sense to me, as I continued through the book. I read the whole thing in a day.
So that’s how the case was initially brought to me. Once I finished the manuscript, I got on the phone with Dale, and we talked for a long time, and I said, “Okay, so what is it I can help you with? You know, you’ve done the work, you’ve cracked these codes,” which we’ll get into in a few minutes.
He said, “I can’t get anybody to look at this from a law enforcement perspective. Nobody will take my calls, nobody will look at my research, I just get blown off.” And he said, “I thought, because you teach forensics and you have connections through the military or law enforcement, maybe you could help me find somebody who could do something about this, to take a look.”
It felt like a pretty overwhelming task, because I do have some really good connections, but I wasn’t sure I had any that were going to be appropriate for this magnitude of a case. But eventually, through AMU, where I teach, and where you work, I got in touch with one of my colleagues who put me in touch with a group out of California called The Case Breakers.
And they are a nonprofit organization comprised of 40 or so volunteers, who all have some sort of expertise and background, either in law enforcement or investigations or forensics, career fields like that, with a combined number of years of experience, I mean, in the hundreds, if you combine all of our years of experience. He finally put me in touch with The Case Breakers, whose head is Tom Colbert.
I got on the phone with Tom, and we spoke. I got him a copy of Dale’s manuscript, and he did the same thing I did. He read it in one day, and called back, and was like, “He got it. This is the guy.”
I said, “Okay, I felt the same way. It feels nice to have that affirmation.” That’s how I got started down this road with Dale a couple of years ago.
Leischen Kranick: So Jen, that’s a really fascinating story about how this came to you, and how you helped connect the puzzle pieces, to get this in front of someone who could support his findings. Now, I’m really interested in, and hopefully, I’m not jumping ahead too much, but lots and lots of people have tried to solve the cipher of the Zodiac. Can you talk about in the manuscript, what was unique about Dale’s approach? Or how did he go about this in a way that no one else had thought of before?
Jen Bucholtz: He had a very unique approach, which was that he had the name of the suspect, and he deconstructed the case backwards, rather than when we do a normal investigation we start with the crime scene, and the known facts, and the evidence, and we work forward. Instead, he started at the end, and went backwards.
He was a news reporter in California, 2014, I believe, is when he started down this road, or this journey, and a homeless man came to the news station, asking for him, and told Dale that he knew who Zodiac was. Of course, Dale had the same response or feeling that I did when he first reached out to me, like, “Okay,” but he took a chance on the guy.
He bought him lunch, and they sat down for quite a while. This guy, we’re naming him through his middle name, which is Will, Will explained to him that he felt his father figure growing up was the Zodiac Killer. Not his biological father, because he was out of the picture, but this other gentlemen who he came to know, and basically took Will under his wing.
So he passed all this information to Dale, and it took several months of Dale being skeptical, like, “Ah, okay, I don’t know if this is really valid or not,” but doing some of his own research, and he was able to confirm some of the claims that Will made in terms of Zodiac Killer having been in the military, and having been stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, things like that. He was able to confirm some of these facts. So that obviously gave him a positive feeling about what he was being told.
One of the things Will told him was Zodiac’s full name, which is Gary Francis Poste. That is a name that nobody else had. So Dale started researching this name, like I said, and confirmed some of these facts. He was sitting at home one night with some of these letters that Zodiac had mailed to the police. They’re all public, they’re on the internet. He’s kind of looking at them, and he’s like, “Huh, I wonder if these are actually anagrams. Can I find all the letters of Gary’s full name in one of these letters?” So that’s how he started.
I believe the Halloween letter was the first one he started with. Sure enough, all of the letters of Gary’s name are in there. So he removed those, and then that left a handful of other letters, that over time, with a great deal of work, he was able to rearrange those letters into a different message.
He continued doing this with each of the taunting letters. And he was brilliant at learning Poste’s MO, his way of thinking. I mean, I think that’s how Dale successfully solved this. And he decrypted many of them. Over time, some of the decrypted letters actually gave him instructions and directions to an evidence site.
That was the point in the manuscript where I said to myself, “This has got to be the guy. There’s just no other explanation. There’s nothing that does not point to him.” And of course, Dale continued his research into Poste, and found out that he had been a radar man in the Air Force. He had been stationed in Indiana.
When he was stationed there, he drove under the influence with three other Airmen, got in a wreck, actually killed one of them. Poste was in the hospital himself for several weeks, definitely had a brain injury. He ended up with scars on his forehead, and he was punished for this deed by being sent to Thule Air Force Base in Greenland. That was his next duty assignment. I’ve never been to Greenland, but I’ve talked to a few people who’ve been to that air base. And they say it’s basically the most boring place on Earth. All there is to do is you sit and stare at your radar screen. By the way, the Zodiac symbol that we see on all his letters with the circle and the cross through it, that’s a radar screen. That is what that represents.
In every letter, he was giving clues to his identity. And I can’t blame law enforcement or anybody else on this, they just didn’t know how to put those clues together.
Leischen Kranick: Wow. That is fascinating, Jen. So he is in the Air Force, he’s working in Greenland, he’s been in this big wreck, and so he had his teeth knocked out, but there was also something else very prominent, right, about his physical features?
Jen Bucholtz: Right. He suffered several cuts on his forehead, which ended up scarring over, and can be seen in later photos of him throughout the rest of his life.
Leischen Kranick: So in the press release, which is now public, they have a lot of side-by-side photos, and that’s a really prominent element of his physical features, is these really significant scars on his forehead, which were in the original drawings of the suspect of the Zodiac, right?
Jen Bucholtz: Yes, correct. And, of course, there’s a lot of skeptics saying, “Oh, those are just his forehead wrinkles.” And it could be. I’m not a big fan of side-by-sides. I’m not even a big fan of suspect sketches, because most of the time they’re just way off, but I don’t think it can be ignored that he had these prominent scars on his forehead that can be seen decades later in photos, and that in the crime or in the suspect sketch, those were picked up on, as well, by the eyewitness.
Leischen Kranick: And he was not an old man when he was committing these. You think of wrinkles on foreheads, I think of older people, but he was not an older person. So that is a pretty significant thing for a witness to notice.
Jen Bucholtz: Right, he was in his thirties, so we all have forehead wrinkles by that age. But like you said, they’re not nearly as prominent as they would be like in your fifties or sixties.
Leischen Kranick: So we know that Gary Francis Poste was in the Air Force, and the radar symbol, that’s really significant. Were there any other sort of ties to his time in the service, that were connected to the killings, or to the letters and ciphers?
Jen Bucholtz: Well, one interesting little tidbit, which is speculation, but the boats that the Air Force used to shuttle the Airmen from the large transport ship that would take them up to Greenland, the smaller boats that would take them to shore were called Zodiac boats. Those could actually operate under the radar, which means, not detectable by radar.
So we kind of surmised that maybe that’s where his moniker that he would call himself, came from, sort of equating himself to someone who could operate under the radar and not be detected, which he did. And then, like I said earlier, after Greenland, he was transferred to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. But even before this, at his first duty station, or maybe it was even AIT, he was trained in ciphers. It’s the same style that he used in his taunting anagram letters.
The Case Breakers has a Vietnam-era codebreaker on their team, somebody who was trained in the same way as Poste and he confirmed that, “Hey, this is the same methodology or pattern that we were taught to use, back when I was in the military, and was trained in this stuff.”
Leischen Kranick: I know that a lot of this, like you said, is speculation, but he’s got this very specialized training. It seems like just more evidence that this is the right guy, really interesting. Was he in the military for a long time, or what was the next phase of his life?
Jen Bucholtz: I don’t know the exact year he separated from the military. He did not serve a full career, meaning 20 years, but after he separated from the military, he settled down in the San Francisco Bay area, and started his own house painting business.
That is what he did for the rest of his life, in and around the Bay Area. He did not stay at the same residence through all those years, but from what we have put together, he was in the general Bay Area that whole time.
Leischen Kranick: Which is where all the murders took place, right?
Jen Bucholtz: Correct. Other than there’s, there’s one controversial one out of Riverside, California, that we believe he committed. The Riverside Police Department disagrees with us, and we can get into that in a little bit, but we believe he committed that murder down in Riverside.
The reason he would have been in that area is because he actually had to get hospital treatment for some injuries, just 15 minutes away from Riverside, at the same time when Cheri Jo Bates, who is the victim in this case that we’re discussing, the same year, same time frame that she was killed.
Leischen Kranick: Interesting. And I also know one of the few pieces of evidence that they had from these murders was shoe prints, right?
Jen Bucholtz: Yes. Size 10 Air Force Wing Walker boot prints were found at more than one scene. That is the size shoe that Poste wore. Will confirmed that for us, because when Will and Poste would go out on hunting and camping excursions, there were times when Will had put on Poste’s boots, for whatever reason, and he said they had the same shoe size. Will is a size 10.
He also said he was shown a picture of those type of boots. And he confirmed, “Yes, Gary Poste used to wear that exact type of boot.” And it’s a military issue. It’s a type of military boot that you buy on a military base. So again, that just falls in line with this being the right guy.
Leischen Kranick: So you mentioned that he went with Will, out, sounds like camping or other outdoor activities, was that something that you know was part of his skill set.
Jen Bucholtz: Definitely. Poste was an expert in difficult navigation. To be a radar man, it sounds very simple, that you just sit and look at a screen, but there’s so much more behind it, and you have to have those navigational skills. So he was trained in that. He used them on a regular basis.
He loved the thrill of hunting. Apparently, anything that moved, he would hunt it and kill it, whether he was going to eat it or not. Said he loved the thrill of killing, told that to Will many times. And yeah, they would go on these multi-day excursions, often to the literal Sierra Nevada wilderness, and not see another human being for days. Poste really enjoyed being able to live off the land, not have any interaction with other human beings, other than Will, in a way, possibly setting himself up an escape route, if it ever came to that.
Because it appears that on some of these excursions, he would leave caches of nonperishable food and water in a safe place. And we surmise that that was maybe because, if police did get on his trail, he would have a way to go into the wilderness, and survive for a very long time, and not be discovered.
Leischen Kranick: So you mentioned earlier, when Dale was writing the book, that he essentially had identified where he thought some evidence might be. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Jen Bucholtz: Sure. Like I said, Dale decrypted these anagram letters. Every letter sent to police by Zodiac is an anagram. There were a couple of letters that we discovered were probably actually not sent by Zodiac, because they did not match up with the pattern that he was using in all the other ones, his name wasn’t in there, and stuff like that.
But all the ones that we are confident he sent are all anagrams, and so, they have to be decrypted. You can’t take them at face value, which is what was going on. When police were receiving the letters back in the ’60s. They were just taking it at face value.
No, they have to be decrypted. Like I said earlier, Gary Francis Poste’s name is the cipher key. I don’t think without knowing that name, you could ever decrypt these properly. Anyways, as Dale moved through each letter, and this is over the course of years that Dale worked on this. This wasn’t something he was able to do in a month’s time.
As he worked through decrypting, these letters, he was uncovering information that he felt was giving him directions to something. Wasn’t sure exactly what, but he felt that whatever it was, was going to be critical to the Zodiac case.
Ultimately, three of these letters gave him directions to a location in the high Sierras that Dale traveled to, on his own dime, did all the research and everything himself, that he believes, and we believe, held the body of Donna Lass. And Donna Lass is the one victim attributed to Zodiac whose body has never been found.
And Dale believes that the instructions and directions and navigational information that he uncovered in these anagrams led him to the location where her body had been. However, it’s been 50 years, so things deteriorate and her body was not buried.
It was actually hung in a bear cache in a tree. So it’s possible the wind, over time, blew the bear cache out of the tree, and then, scavengers scattered the bones. It’s possible Poste came back and removed that bear cache from the tree, and disposed of her body at another location.
Obviously, we don’t know, and I’m not going to get into all the details on this yet, because they haven’t been released [Editor’s Note: Information has since been released since recording.]. But suffice to say, that when Dale got to this tree, there was enough evidence and markings and description that matched up, that he was confident this was exactly what Zodiac was trying to point somebody to, to find.
Leischen Kranick: Wow. So Dale actually went and saw this with his own eyes?
Jen Bucholtz: Oh yes. There’s pictures in his manuscript that will hopefully be published in the near future, yeah, many photos.
That was also one of the key points in his manuscript, or one of the key turning points, where I just felt, “This has to be right.” There’s no other explanation for this, except that Poste hid evidence in this tree, and then put together these anagram letters, that had all the answers and sent them to police.
It’s just the letters weren’t being looked at from the right point of view. And again, I don’t blame police on that at all.
Leischen Kranick: Right. Because it’s, needs a very specific name in order to essentially crack that.
Jen Bucholtz: Yes, yes.
Leischen Kranick: Can we get a little bit more into Poste’s MO in these letters? I know some of our listeners, who are probably really familiar with this case, know how challenging these anagrams are. I know I’ve looked at it, just to see what they actually look like, and it’s way beyond anything I could obviously hope to crack, and most people. But sounds like there were some really interesting elements that Dale discovered. Can you just talk a little bit about that?
Jen Bucholtz: Yeah. Something that he and I talked about at length, because I consider it one of my specialties, I guess, is the behaviors, the analysis of the behaviors on behalf of Poste, like victim selection.
His victims are very random, at face value. But my personal opinion, and Dale agrees with me, and I don’t know if anybody else will, but my personal opinion is that Poste actually wrote most of his letters before killing anybody. So it was like he was setting himself up for a higher challenge, by writing a letter, saying, “I killed a couple at this park, or whatever.”
It made it harder for him, but he enjoyed that challenge. Clearly, he’s a person who liked mind games. He was extremely analytical. He was brilliant in some aspects, I don’t know about the rest of his life, but in terms of codes and analysis and anagrams, and all of this, I mean, he was brilliant.
And I think, for him, it was just the challenge of finding victims that matched the letter he’d already written, and then getting away with it, and then getting to write another letter, and just taunt police with what he’d done. To me, that’s my opinion on the motive behind it.
Now, there is one victim that we believe was a personal victim, I guess we’ll say. That’s Paul Stein, who was the cab driver that was shot. From what we uncovered, or mostly what Dale uncovered, Paul and Gary Poste had a business dealing in the past, and Paul did not follow through.
So we believe that Gary Poste sought him out and shot him, because of that perceived offense. But the other victims, we do not believe that he knew them personally. We believe that they were picked because they fit what he was trying to do.
Leischen Kranick: It’s fascinating, Jen, that you talk about, maybe he did these anagrams and letters before essentially killing victims. I’ve never heard that before, but it makes some sense, because weren’t these anagrams sent to the newspapers and police pretty shortly after these murders? It’s something, that it probably would take time to put these anagrams together.
Jen Bucholtz: Yes.
Leischen Kranick: And he sent them the next day.
Jen Bucholtz: I agree with you on that. As smart as he was on these, it’s still going to take a significant amount of time to create each one, and figure out what letters you need, and what message you can send. And I agree with you, that I don’t think that could just be done the next day.
Something else that was recently brought to my attention is that The Case Breakers have gotten in contact with a witness who stated that Gary Poste had his own postage meter in his home. So that would allow him to set the date that he wanted postmarked on each envelope. And as Dale found out, sometimes those numbers on the envelope were really critical to decrypting the anagrams.
He often needed the numbers, especially in those ones that led him to the evidence site in the Sierras. He needed the numbers off the envelope to get the correct directions.
So it’s possible Poste is not only writing the letters ahead of time, but then he’s deciding exactly what date he wants postmarked on it. And that’s going to help him with creating his anagram.
Leischen Kranick: Wow, Jen, I mean, I knew this was complex, but this is yeah, really …
Jen Bucholtz: It’s extremely …
Leischen Kranick: Even more involved than I thought.
Jen Bucholtz: Yeah.
Leischen Kranick: I also remember people talking, rather, about misspelled words, and wasn’t there something about that issue?
Jen Bucholtz: Yes. So, in some of the letters, there are words that are misspelled. And what Dale discovered is those were misspelled on purpose, because Poste needed a particular letter to finish his anagram. So he would purposely misspell a word in order to have the correct letter.
One anagram or one letter I want to, or cipher, I should say, I want to address, is the 340 Cipher. That was the most difficult cipher he ever sent in. It went unsolved for 50 years, until last, I believe, December. Three brilliant mathematicians, were able to crack the 340 Cipher using a special software program that they developed.
Everybody was disappointed, because when they decoded the message, it really didn’t say much. It was just another, “Ha, ha, you didn’t, you haven’t found me yet, and I’m collecting my slaves for the afterlife,” and stuff like that.
The thing is, it’s got to be taken one step further. That’s another anagram. So the 340 Cipher, yes, those guys definitely broke the code, and I think they found the correct message. The problem is, now you’ve got to remove Gary’s name from all the 340 letters, and take the rest, and make it into something else. And then you’ll get the real message.
That is something that me and Dale had been working on all year, mostly Dale, because we know Gary’s full name, so we can pull that out of the last third. His name is always in the last third of all of these anagrams. He usually has a song lyric or a song title from the ’50s and ’60s era in the first third of each anagram. So Dale has figured out the song lyric, and taken that out of the 340 Cipher.
So if anybody out there is an anagram whiz, give it a try. But the problem is, you really have to know Gary Poste’s way of thinking, and his background, because he uses a lot of military acronyms, abbreviations, specialized radar-type terminology. So it’s not just all basic easy words. And that’s part of the challenge, especially for me, because I have no expertise in any of that.
Leischen Kranick: And Jen, since we’re sort of talking about people getting involved or learning more about this, is there a way for people to learn more?
Jen Bucholtz: Yeah, there’s a few sites you can go to. So the Case Breakers have their own website. It’s thecasebreakers.org.
And there, you can see the cases that we’re working on currently, and obviously, one is Zodiac. You can click on the Zodiac case, and it provides the press release that went out today, and a bunch of other information on stuff we’re working on.
Like I said, we’re not releasing all details of Dale’s work yet. I mean, that is his. So his manuscript is at an editor at this point, so it’s not been released, but will hopefully be out in the near future. He deserves a majority of the credit for all this work that was done to figure out and link Poste to these crimes.
There’s also a very comprehensive website with all the Zodiac letters. I believe it’s zodiackiller.com that you can visit, if you want to give these anagrams a try, especially the 340 one. You can check out all the evidence and the letters that have anything to do with the Zodiac case on that website.
Leischen Kranick: I want to turn our attention, Jen, to how you’re working with the authorities, or how Dale and The Case Breakers are working with authorities. I know this has been something that they’ve been skeptical about, and you alluded to the fact in the beginning that they weren’t necessarily jumping on this. Can you give us an update on that collaboration, or if there are roadblocks there still?
Jen Bucholtz: I mean, I wish I had an update that involved any sort of collaboration, but I don’t. I see both sides of the fence on this. Law enforcement has dealt with this case for over 50 years. It’s so notorious. You’ve got hundreds, if not thousands of people around the world, who think they’ve solved it, at some point, and want authorities to look at their information. I get it. A law enforcement agency can’t handle all of that.
So I think, over the years, it just became, “We’re just not going to deal with it at all. It’s over and done with. The guy’s probably dead. This is a waste of our time.” That’s exactly what Dale ran into. I mean, he had no luck getting anybody to listen to him. That’s a big reason that he came to me, like I said.
But I think there comes a point when someone has put in over seven years of really hard work, and unpaid hard work, their own time, money, effort, energy, everything. And it’s being presented by this team, which is The Case Breakers, of 40+ experts in different areas. That’s the point where I feel like law enforcement should maybe start listening a little bit.
That’s part of the reason we decided to break this to the press, because we can only go so far on our end, okay? We cannot do DNA comparison. There is an opportunity to compare Poste’s DNA, which exists, to unknown DNA from crime scenes.
The Riverside Police Department, in particular, has refused to do that. Why? I don’t know. We have access to a lab that will do it at no cost. We just can’t do it ourselves. And they have to agree to transfer their unknown DNA sample to that lab temporarily, to do a comparison.
So that’s a huge roadblock right now. Will also believes he knows where ammunition and weapons are buried in the high Sierras that were used in the commission of some of Zodiac’s crimes. He has offered to take authorities there. Nobody has been interested.
There’s another reason that we decided to just go ahead and release the information to the press, because, again, we could go up there and retrieve the evidence, but now, there’s no official law enforcement chain of custody, and therefore, it’s not going to be admissible in court. So we need a law enforcement authority to go along with us, and properly collect and bag and transfer the evidence to the proper forensics lab for comparison.
So we’re hoping that, with this new media coverage, they’ll understand that we’re serious. I mean, you got 40 of us putting our reputation, careers, possibly, on the line, saying, “Gary Francis Poste was the Zodiac killer. Now please, finally prove it, and make an announcement that it was him.”
That’s part of our goal here, but it’s been all roadblocks. We haven’t had any luck hardly at all with anybody from any law enforcement agency giving it a listen. Poste killed in different jurisdictions, but all in one state.
As far as we know, he never transferred a victim over state lines. So it falls to the lower-level county or city police departments to investigate the particular murder that happened in their jurisdiction. And that’s just another big challenge, when you have multiple agencies involved in one big investigation.
Leischen Kranick: So, Jen, I’m also wondering, what is the status of Gary Francis Poste? Is he still alive?
Jen Bucholtz: Unfortunately, no. He was alive for the first four years of Dale’s work on this. And Dale knew he was elderly. That was one reason he was really trying to push somebody to take a look at his work, but Poste died in 2018. So he is not alive. His DNA has been collected.
Leischen Kranick: Wow, Jen, this is just amazing, such great information. Was there anything else that you wanted to share about this investigation, and your contributions to it?
Jen Bucholtz: I mean, I can’t take credit for much, other than being a sounding board and a conduit for Dale. But I really just want to give him a shout out for his perseverance on this.
Because most people would have just given up years ago. And also, just his attention to detail, and ability to get inside the mind of this serial killer, and understand what this guy was trying to do, which totally helped Dale decrypt all those anagrams. So, big kudos to him. He deserves the credit in this case. Me and The Case Breakers are helping to get the information out there, that needs to get to authorities, and that’s the role that we have played.
Leischen Kranick: Excellent. Well, Jen, thank you so much for taking the time to share this information. It’s a lot. It’s very clear you’ve put a lot of time and effort into understanding and learning more about this case, and then all the evidence that points to Gary Francis Poste.
It’s truly outstanding work. I just want to wish you and the team the best of luck in getting this in front of law enforcement, and basically convincing them to take action, and officially solve this case. It would be huge to actually close the books on one of the most notorious killers in the country.
Jen Bucholtz: Yeah. And the victims’ families deserve it. That’s who we work for, number one, is the victims and their families, and these victims and their families have gone decades with no answers. If it can be confirmed and then announced, and then closed, like you said, at least the family members who are still alive get a little bit of resolution. And they deserve it.
Leischen Kranick: We’ll have to have you back on when that news breaks.
Jen Bucholtz: Yes.
Leischen Kranick: Thank you so much, Jen. And thank you to our listeners for joining us. Be well, and stay safe.
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