Considering the great unsolved mysteries of all time, the Zodiac Serial Killer is one of the most popular. I believe that this is due to the incredible audacity that he displayed when promoting himself to the police. Bloody, cryptic messages boasted that he had killed up to thirty-seven people, and had never been caught. Northern California citizens were haunted by the taunting letters, that were also released to the press, during 1968 and 1969.
Although the murders failed to ignite a federal investigation, local law enforcement reached out to the FBI to utilize their expertise in cryptanalysis to aid them in an investigation to capture the morbidly elusive killer. Often, the FBI provides support to law enforcement agencies in various areas, but their combined efforts failed to produce significant results to obtain the self proclaimed Zodiac Killer, and the case continues to be open to this day.
Enter Gary L. Stewart, a Louisiana man claiming in his brand new book that his long lost father, Earl Van Best Jr., was indeed the Zodiac Killer. Although the case remains open, with tips still coming in about the murders and the killer’s supposed identity, the San Francisco admits that they have never heard of the book, “But certainly something our homicide investigators will take a look at,” (CNN).
The adopted Stewart was abandoned as a child, and when he was contacted by his birth mother, Judy, after 10 years, he set about on a quest to locate the identity of his father. What he found was someone with a criminal record in San Francisco, and the most horrifying of all was the striking resemblance between his father’s mugshot and the official police sketch of the Zodiac Killer.
Best spent a few years locked up in a maximum-security building for the criminally insane, only to be paroled in 1965. The first Zodiac murder happened in 1968.
If this is truly the identity of the maniac, then hopefully it can bring some kind of closure to the families of his victims. Official reports and analysis have yet to be released, but the evidence appears to be quite convincing.