The solution to the so-called 340 cipher, one of the most annoying secrets of the murderous saga of the Zodiac Killer, was found by a code-breaking team from the US, Australia and Belgium.
The cipher, sent in a letter to The Chronicle in November 1969, has been confusing authorities and amateurs since arriving 51 years ago. Investigators hoped the Zodiac, which killed five people in the Bay Area in 1968 and 1969, would reveal its name in one of its many ciphers, but the 340 doesn’t.
According to code expert David Oranchak, the text of the cipher says, “I hope you have a lot of fun catching me. . . . I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise all the sooner because now I have enough slaves to work for me. ”
« Last weekend a team I’m on resolved the 340 and filed it with the FBI, » he said in an email to The Chronicle Friday. “You have confirmed the solution. No joke! That’s the real deal. ”
Cameron Polan, spokeswoman for the FBI’s San Francisco office, confirmed Oranchak’s claim on Friday. In a statement emailed to The Chronicle, she said:
“The FBI is aware that a cipher attributed to the Zodiac Killer was recently broken by private individuals. The Zodiac Killer case remains an ongoing investigation for the San Francisco FBI and our local law enforcement partners.
« The Zodiac Killer has terrorized multiple communities in Northern California, and even though decades have passed, we continue to seek justice for the victims of these brutal crimes, » she continued. “Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation and out of respect for the victims and their families, we will not make any further comments at this time. ”
This is the second time a Zodiac cipher has been cracked. The first, long cipher, sent in pieces to The Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, and Vallejo Times-Herald in 1969, was solved by a school teacher from Salinas and his wife.
Kevin Fagan is a longtime reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle. He specializes in corporate news writing and message sending. He takes particular pleasure in tracking down stories that others may not find – from profiling the desperate lives of homeless drug addicts, to riding on rails with hobos, to finding people sleeping in coffins and detailing the intricacies of chasing serial killers.
From 2003 to 2006, Kevin was the only Beat reporter in the US who dealt with homelessness full time. He has witnessed seven prison executions and told many of the greatest groundbreaking stories of our time in September. 11 terrorist attacks at Ground Zero and the Columbine High School massacre of Barack Obama’s election as president, the deadly Mendocino complex, wine country and ghost ship fires and the Occupy movement. Homelessness remains a special focus of his, which is close to his heart as a journalist and who is passionate about the human condition.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Jose State University and grew up in California and Nevada.
Zodiac Killer, Cipher
World News – USA – Zodiac ‘340 Cipher’ was cracked by code experts 51 years after it was shipped to the S. F.. . timeline
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