Could the cold case of the Zodiac Killer finally be solved? If French engineer Fayçal Ziraoui is to be believed, the identity of the infamous serial killer who terrorized Northern California throughout the late ‘60s and into the early ‘70s—and whose story made one hell of a David Fincher movie—has been hiding in plain sight for more than half a century.
Ziraoui, according to The New York Times, has never met a challenge he didn’t want to conquer. “I’ve never set limits on what I can learn,” the Argenteuil, France-based business consultant told the Times. So when he learned, back in December, that there were still two ciphers from the Zodiac that had yet to be solved, he decided that he would be the man to do it. Sounds easy enough…
Fast forward two weeks—yes, two weeks—and Ziraoui claims to have accomplished what he set out to do using an encryption key and some innovative codebreaking skills.
But what exactly does one do when they believe they’ve identified one of the world’s most notorious serial killers, who eluded authorities for decades? Post about it on the internet, obviously. And post he did—to lots of online groups full of armchair detectives just like him and crime websites. The response, however, was not exactly what Ziraoui was expecting. As SFGate reports:
In January, Fayçal Ziraoui began posting on a popular forum where sleuths dissect theories about the Zodiac Killer, who murdered five people in the Bay Area from 1968-69. Ziraoui’s long, detailed posts describe the process by which he says he cracked two of Zodiac’s unsolved ciphers, known as Z13 and Z32. Z13 was sent to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1970 and says “My name is” followed by 13 letters and symbols. Z32 was also received by the Chronicle in 1970, along with a letter threatening to “wipe out a school bus” and an annotated map of Mount Diablo.
Ziraoui used the key that finally unlocked Zodiac’s 340 cipher last December and made a number of substitutions. He says the results came to him in just two weeks. He claims the longer code reads, “LABOR DAY FIND 45.069 NORT 58.719 WEST,” and the shorter one is the name “KAYR,” which Ziraoui deduced is similar to Kane, the name of longtime Zodiac suspect Lawrence Kane.
(KAYR is also kind of close to CRUZ, too, no?)
Though Ziraoui now realizes the err of his ways in attempting to infiltrate a tight-knit community of crime solvers, and brazenly claim that it took him just a few days to solve a puzzle they’ve been attempting to figure out for years, he’s still convinced that he has successfully put the case to rest.
Kane’s name is a familiar one to both police and to those who have followed the case closely. Though he was never officially named as a suspect, one detective—the late Harvey Hines—was convinced of Kane’s guilt, but couldn’t get his bosses to buy it.
Kane, meanwhile, passed away in 2010.
As for Ziraoui: He has determined that cracking the case was the easy part. “The most difficult thing is to convince people.” We’ll raise an Aqua Velva to that!
(Via The New York Times)