Hunt for the Zodiac Killer is back on! Police look to employ same DNA tracing techniques used to nab Golden State Killer

The killer spent the late 1960s to the early 1970s sending letters to the local news media outlets mocking police and sending cryptograms which still haven't been solved

                            Hunt for the Zodiac Killer is back on! Police look to employ same DNA tracing techniques used to nab Golden State Killer
Investigators have sent the letters from the case to a private DNA lab for an advanced type of analysis that had not been available to use before. (Source: Getty Images)

It's been great news so far for the members of the public with the advancement in forensic technology. The notorious Golden State killer was identified as former police officer, Joseph James DeAngelo, and finally arrested for the twelve murders, countless rapes and an even larger number of burglaries that he committed during the 1970s and 80s in California. 

This has been a breakthrough for the police. Hoping that luck favors them a second time around, police are now on the lookout for The Zodiac Killer or Zodiac. He was a serial killer who operated in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The killer's identity remains unknown. Recent reports have suggested that investigators in Northern California have given the original letters, that the Zodiac killer had sent to the media and police in the late 60s and early 70s, to a DNA lab to try and see if they can identify the infamous murderer the same way they were able to catch the Golden State killer.

Zodiac, who was notorious in the Bay Area, ran circles around the press and police alike by sending them cryptic letters that had ciphers in them which haven't been cracked even by some of the finest cryptographers, to this day.

Terry Poyser, a detective with the Vallejo Police Department, had given an interview with the Sacramento Bee recently where he said that investigators have sent the letters from the case to a private DNA lab for an advanced type of analysis that had not been available to use before. This makes the whole thing very exciting because a lot of cold cases could finally be solved this way... or at least, that's the hope.

The detective told the publication that the lab was going to try and get a full DNA profile from the trace amounts of saliva that could still be behind the stamps and on the flap of the envelope. The detectives will then be able to run the DNA profile, if a full genetic one can be obtained, through all online genealogical databases to try and find the mysterious murderer.

I don't know about you guys but this is quite exciting news and Poyser seems to agree to a certain degree by telling the Sacramento Bee: "They were confident they would be able to get something off it." As I said, exciting news! So many questions will finally be answered once they catch him/her and boy will it be a doozy!

For those of you who still have no idea who this Zodiac is and what all the hype is about, here's a brief on the notorious killer. The Zodiac Killer was prominent in the Bay Area of San Francisco in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. He had killed five people and had left two survivors in attacks that were carried out in Benicia Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco. The killer also sent a whole bunch of letters to local news outlets where he basically claimed he had killed a lot more people than what the police have found. He also used to love ridiculing the police in these letters.

These letters that he sent out became the prime focus for the media and the investigators alike. All of them were signed with the now-famous symbol of a cross over a circle. Among all the letters that the killer sent to the media, there were four cryptograms. The letters which contained these cryptograms came with specific instructions asking that they be published on the front page of the newspapers otherwise the killer would take more lives. He also hinted that the cryptograms contained their true identity and this would, of course, only be known if they were solved.

Last week, detectives in the Sacramento area announced that they had arrested an elderly man who they believed was the notorious Golden State killer. DeAngelo was finally identified after all these years because the investigators used the DNA samples they had picked up from the crime scenes decades ago and run them through public genealogical websites. They managed to find relatives of DeAngelo who had matching segments of DNA and that's how he was caught.

Unlike the Golden State killer, though, there isn't any confirmed DNA of the Zodiac killer from any of the crime scenes but there is a little bit of a silver lining to this. In 2002, detectives in San Francisco were able to develop a partial genetic profile by taking samples of saliva from behind a stamp. This partial sample they got was able to help them rule out Arthur Leigh Allen who had been a suspect of investigators for a long time as the Zodiac killer.

Chris Carlisle, a lieutenant with the Napa County Sheriff's Office told Buzzfeed News in an interview: "That is an unknown male that we know is not from one of our victims. We just don't know for sure if that's the suspect." He also said that his department has offered other agencies the chance to compare the genetic profile they have against their databases but that is still yet to happen.

He said: "I think that there are joint agency efforts that can be done on this and it's beyond just the DNA." Carlisle also mentioned that the method with which the Golden State killer was caught by using online public access genealogy websites was "very innovative". He added: "I don't know the status of San Francisco or Vallejo's evidence, but I know if there's a sample to be submitted I think it's a good idea."

BuzzFeed News also spoke to Bob Sampayan, the Mayor of Vallejo, and he said that he did not know any specifics about the latest attempt by investigators to get a complete DNA profile of the Zodiac killer from the letters. However, he did mention that the police department would send samples regularly to labs for analysis.

Sampayan had worked as a homicide detective for the Vallejo police force and had even briefly worked on the Zodiac case. He said: "This is just good follow-up police work. The data grows exponentially, so there's the hope that we might be able to find out who this person was."

Regardless of whether the killer, being a man or woman, is still alive or not today, it's good to know that we may be one step closer to solving at least one of the biggest mysteries of recent times - the identity of the infamous Zodiac killer.


Bonus material!

There's been news going around recently of a certain "thing" related to serial killers that they all apparently share which we have never noticed before. It has also been claimed that once you do notice these similarities, you will freak out and probably not look at people around you the same way again. Well, I can honestly say that this claim is definitely eerie and it does send a shiver up your spine when you realize that the theory could hold some merit after all. 

So the one definitive feature the serial killers share is... (drum roll)... their choice of specs. Yes. They all wore very similar specs. To be very specific, they wore wide-rimmed aviator-style specs. 

From killer cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer to killer necrophiliac Dennis Nilsen and even famous woman serial killer, Rose West, they all share the same style of specs! 

In fact, this style of glasses has become eponymous with the serial killer persona and Urban Dictionary even has a definition for "serial killer glasses" which goes something like: "eyeglasses with heavy or severe frames that live somewhere between fashionable and creepy". 

So the next time you're out and spot somebody suspicious wearing these type of glasses, you might want to make a quick exit so that you don't end up on their list of victims.