Unsolved murder cases always come with a morbid fascination, and the gruesome tale of the Zodiac Killer is no exception. The mysterious killer shot and stabbed five people in a killing spree that shook northern California in the late 1960s, and the culprit has yet to be brought to justice, despite teasing the press by sending them a string of coded messages hinting at his identity.
Now two experts believe they have made a breakthrough in the case almost 50 years later, believing him to be a man who had been suspected of a previous murder of a possible Zodiac victim.
It's all been explored in a documentary, Zodiac Killer: Case Closed?, which aired on HISTORY UK last night, Wednesday 22 November.
In the documentary, the former LAPD murder detective Sal LaBarbera and cold-case expert Ken Mains re-examined evidence from the murder of Cheri Jo Bates, an 18-year-old who was brutally shot and stabbed to death in California in 1966.
The experts discovered that the original suspect in Bates' murder, a man called Ross Sullivan, fits an eye-witness description of the killer from another Zodiac murder.
At the time Sullivan was mentioned in local newspapers as a suspect in the case and was questioned by police but was not charged with the crime.
A photo of Sullivan, who would now be 76, shows him sporting a similar haircut and a pair of thick glasses eerily similar to those seen in a police sketch of the Zodiac killer. His current location is unknown.
So far the Zodiac killer has been linked to five murders between December 1968 and October 1969 but it is believed he may be responsible for even more killings stretching into the early 1970s.
One of those is the murder of Bates, who was found with stab wounds similar to those of other confirmed victims of the Zodiac.
In the documentary, the wo experts found that there is enough evidence to prove the Zodiac was responsible for Bates' murder, with Sullivan as the main suspect.
The detectives put forward several reasons for believing this, noting many possible connections between Sullivan and the Zodiac aside from their physical resemblance.
For example, Sullivan worked at the university library near where Bates' body was found and regularly wore military boots matching footprints found at the scenes of confirmed Zodiac murders.
Sullivan was also an English student who completed a research paper on cryptology before the killing started, possibly linking him to the coded messages the Zodiac sent police.
Mains and LaBarbera are on the record as saying that a chance of catching the Zodiac was an opportunity they couldn't turn down.
However long the Zodiac killer has gone undetected, it's exciting to think that detectives may be on their way to cracking the case at last.
Source: Mail Online
Featured Image Credit: PA