Gary Poste was just north of Terre Haute, Indiana when the vehicle lost control.
He crashed into an overpass abutment on US 41, not far from the Rockville radar station where his Air Force squadron was based, according to an article in the Evansville Press archives.
The driver, a 20-year-old aviator from Brooklyn named Robert McManus, died at the scene of the sinking. Poste survived, but for the rest of his life he was doomed to relive the accident every time he looked at himself in the mirror, thanks to a faint series of scars stretching across his forehead.
And now, a team of investigators believe those scars helped solve one of the greatest mysteries in American crime history.
They say it was none other than Poste, a New York Air Force veteran who eventually moved to the San Francisco area and allegedly started a wave of murders that terrorized the Bay Area for 11 months between 1968 and 1969.
Authorities believe the Zodiac killed or stabbed at least five people: David Faraday; Betty Lou Jenson; Darlène Ferrin; Cecilia Shephard; and Paul Stine. He also claimed responsibility for several other murders, but police never confirmed these.
He preyed on young couples, always making sure to kill the females while sometimes accidentally allowing the males to live. He broke that pattern with Stine, a 29-year-old taxi driver whom he randomly shot in the back of the neck.
The Case Breakers, however, claim that his frenzy actually began on October 30, 1966, when he brutally stabbed Cheri Jo Bates in Riverside, California. Police dispute this, and in a press release issued on Wednesday, the Case Breakers scammed officials at Riverside for allegedly refusing to allow them to compare DNA samples.
“Fifty-five years ago this month, RPD chose to ignore the obvious,” team organizer Thomas Colbert said in the press release. “It would only take a few minutes to quickly and discreetly compare Poste’s DNA.
The Case Breakers claim Poste died in 2018. The Courier & Press could not find obituaries online or in newspaper archives.
He is far from the only person splashed in the media as a suspect. In fact, people have been “cracking” the case for decades.
Just this summer, a French engineer said he had solved one of the famous codes the Zodiac sent to newspapers in San Francisco in the late 1960s. According to the New York Times, however, other zodiac obsessives don’t have not bought it.
In his book “Zodiac: The Shocking True Story of the Hunt for the Nation’s Most Elusive Serial Killer,” former San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith called out Arthur Leigh Allen’s name: a suspicious police officer questioned several times. times at the time of the murders.
This hypothesis survived in the 2007 film “Zodiac”, which dramatizes the search for the killer by Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) and journalist Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.).
And last year, the Hulu documentary “Most Dangerous Animal Of All”, in which a man named Gary L. Stewart alleged his biological father was responsible for the murders. His biggest proof was how much his father looked like the police sketch of the Zodiac.
This sketch also plays an important role in Poste’s complaint, but the Case Breakers also point to several other circumstantial evidence, including interviews with people who knew Poste, one of whom claims to have seen Gary “bury the guns in the past.” of crime “.
Whether Post’s claim will hold up remains to be seen. Case Breakers are used to tackling booming business, including the hijacking of DB Cooper and the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. So far, none of their investigations have definitely solved anything.
This is exactly the kind of detective that Downey, like Avery, attacked in “Zodiac”.
“You know we work on a daily basis, don’t you? Like today ? he said to Graysmith. “Did you know more people die on the way to East Bay every three months than this idiot ever killed?” He offended a few citizens, he wrote a few letters, and then he faded into a footnote.
Contact Jon Webb at [email protected]