Home / News / World /  Mysterious coded messages of Zodia killer cracked after 50 years

Washington: After more than 50 years, a code-breaking team has finally cracked the mysterious messages sent to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 by the "Zodiac killer" who had terrorised the streets of North California.

According to a report by CNN, dubbed as the "340 cipher," the message was unraveled by a trio of code breakers -- David Oranchak, a software developer in Virginia, Jarl Van Eycke, a Belgian computer programmer, and Sam Blake, an Australian mathematician.

The cipher was sent in all capital letters without punctuation and included the misspelling of paradise:

"I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me. That wasn't me on the TV show which brings up a point about me I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradice all the sooner Because I now have enough slaves to work for me where everyone else has nothing when they reach paradice so they are afraid of death I am not afraid because I know that my new life will be an easy one in paradice death."

The TV show mentioned in the message is "The Jim Dunbar Show".

The message was sent two weeks after a "Zodiac killer" called into the show.

Speaking about decoding the message, Oranchak told CNN, "It was incredible. It was a big shock, I never really thought we'd find anything because I had grown so used to failure."

"When I first started, I used to get excited when I would see some words come through -- they were like false positives, phantoms. I had grown used to that. It was a long shot -- we didn't even really know if there was a message," he said.

The trio took their findings to the FBI a week ago, but didn't reveal their breakthrough until the FBI's confirmed cleared by the authorities, CNN reported them as saying.

"The FBI is aware that a cipher attributed to the Zodiac Killer was recently solved by private citizens. The Zodiac Killer case remains an ongoing investigation for the FBI San Francisco division and our local law enforcement partners. The Zodiac Killer terrorized multiple communities across Northern California and even though decades have gone by, we continue to seek justice for the victims of these brutal crimes. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, and out of respect for the victims and their families, we will not be providing further comment at this time," said the FBI on Saturday (local time).

The Zodiac killer had the signature of leaving a trail of five unsolved murders from 1968 to 1969. According to the CNN report, he was never caught, but he gained notoriety by writing letters to police and local media up until 1974, sometimes in code, boasting of the killings.

The "Zodiac killer" had claimed to have killed as many as 37 people.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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