An independent group of cold case investigators claimed to have identified California's notorious Zodiac Killer. The FBI now says that claim is inaccurate.
After uncovering new forensic evidence and photos from his darkroom, the Case Breakers said they identified the man believed to be the Zodiac Killer, who they believed died in 2018, according to a news release. The group of 40 former investigators also claimed the man was responsible for the 1966 murder of Cheri Jo Bates, whose body was found in an alleyway in Riverside, California.
"The case remains open and there is no new information to report," the FBI said.
Riverside police Officer Ryan J. Railsback told NBC News that authorities "ruled out any connection" between the murder of Cheri Jo Bates and the Zodiac Killer.
"We don't know how we can be any more clear," he said Wednesday. "The $50,000 private reward is still valid. If someone has any information on the Bates case please come forward."
In August, Riverside police said the anonymous handwritten letter purportedly tying the Bates case to the Zodiac Killer was found to be a hoax.
"In 2016, investigators received an anonymous letter from a person admitting the handwritten letter sent to our department months after Cheri Jo Bates was murdered was written as a sick joke, and he was not the Zodiac killer," police said at the time.
The mysterious Zodiac Killer is believed to have fatally stabbed or shot at least five people in Northern California from 1968 to 1969. He was known to send taunting letters and cryptograms that often included astrological symbols and references to police and newspapers.
The Zodiac Killer has never been caught.