A team of cold case investigators believe they have identified the notorious Zodiac Killer who terrorized the San Francisco area in the late 1960s.

The Case Breakers, a team of more than 40 former law enforcement investigators, journalists and military intelligence officers, has identified house painter Gary Francis Poste, a U.S. Air Force veteran who died in 2018, as the serial killer who brutally murdered at least five people in 1968 and 1969 and taunted authorities with inscrutable riddles, reported Fox News.

The team spent years uncovering new forensic evidence and photos from Poste's darkroom, including one that shows scars on his forehead that match marks on police sketches of the killer, and former Army counterintelligence agent Jen Buckholtz said letters sent by the Zodiac killer revealed him as the suspect.

"You've got to know Gary's full name in order to decipher these anagrams," Bucholtz said. "I just don't think there's any other way anybody would have figured it out."

The investigators linked Poste to the Oct. 31, 1966, murder of 18-year-old Cheri Jo Bates in Riverside, hundreds of miles south of San Francisco and two years before the first killing linked to the Zodiac, although Riverside police dispute the link, despite a 1975 FBI memo that draws the same conclusion.

Poste received a medical checkup for a gun incident at a hospital about 15 minutes away from the Bates murder scene, where a wristwatch with paint splatter was found and believed to have been worn by the killer.