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FBI confirms 1969 Zodiac Killer's '340 Cipher' solved

Zodiac Killer Cypher Solved
Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 21:00:14-05

A cipher sent in 1969 by the Zodiac Killer has been solved.

In an email to EW Scripps, the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that three "private citizens cracked the cipher."

"On Dec. 5, the FBI received the solution to a cipher popularly known as Z340 from a cryptologic researcher and independently verified the decryption," the FBI said in a statement. "Cipher Z340 is one of four ciphers attributed to the Zodiac Killer. This cipher was first submitted to the FBI Laboratory on Nov. 13, 1969, but not successfully decrypted. Over the past 51 years, CRRU has reviewed numerous proposed solutions from the public--none of which had merit."

According to the Associated Press, code experts from the United States, Australia, and Belgium solved it.

The code was first sent to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper in 1969 by the Zodiac Killer, who murdered five people between 1968 and 1969 in the Bay Area.

According to The Chronicle, David Oranchak, one of the three to crack the cipher, has worked on Zodiac's codes since 2006.

Oranchak told the newspaper that the cipher included sentences like "I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me" and that the killer wasn't "afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise all the sooner."

Cameron Polan, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s San Francisco office, told E.W. Scripps in an email that the case of the Zodiac Killer "remains an ongoing investigation."

"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," Polan said in the email. "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."

This marks the second Zodiac Killer cipher that has been cracked, according to the newspaper. A cipher sent in 1969 was solved by a Salinas schoolteacher and his wife.