It took 51 years, but a team of code-breakers has discovered the solution to the infamous 340 cipher. For those unfamiliar, the 340 Cipher was an encrypted message sent to The Chronicle in November 1969 by the Zodiac killer, who was responsible for five deaths from 1968 to 1969 in the Bay Area. This particular code was never cracked previously, though many tried, and the solution was finally discovered by code breaking team that includes David Oranchak and includes members in Australia, the US, and Belgium (via the San Francisco Chronicle).
As for the message, investigators have been hoping that one of the ciphers the killer sent would include their real name, but that was not the case here with the 340 or with the previously decoded cipher.
Oranchak said the cipher's text said "I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me. ... I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me."
This has been a project for Oranchak and the team for years, and he revealed the discovery in an email to The Chronicle on Friday. Oranchak wrote, "Last weekend, a team I'm on solved the 340 and submitted it to the FBI. They have confirmed the solution. No joke! This is the real deal."
They did indeed submit their findings to the FBI, as a spokeswoman for the FBI's San Francisco office Cameron Polan released a statement to The Chronicle, which you can read below.
"The FBI is aware that a cipher attributed to the Zodiac Killer was recently solved by private citizens. The Zodiac Killer case remains an ongoing investigation for the FBI San Francisco division and our local law enforcement partners.
"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," she continued. "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."