Any good at cryptanalysis? The FBI wants your help with an unsolved murder
Back on June 30, 1999, police in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick in a field and the only clues that might lead to finding his killer is two encrypted notes that were found in his pants pockets.
These aren’t your typical encrypted messages according to the police. According to McCormick’s family the encryption he used was the same as the one he had used in his notes since he was a child. Unfortunately though no-one in his family has any idea of how his encryption worked which leaves the police with clues that they can’t use.
Even the FBI, who were approached to see if they could break the code have been unable to figure out what the messages contain. As a result they are making the notes available to the public to see if anyone out there can break the code.
From the FBI: “The more than 30 lines of coded material use a maddening variety of letters, numbers, dashes, and parentheses. McCormick was a high school dropout, but he was able to read and write and was said to be ‘street smart.’ According to members of his family, McCormick had used such encrypted notes since he was a boy, but apparently no one in his family knows how to decipher the codes, and it’s unknown whether anyone besides McCormick could translate his secret language. Investigators believe the notes in McCormick’s pockets were written up to three days before his death.”
“Standard routes of cryptanalysis seem to have hit brick walls,” said CRRU chief Dan Olson in a statement. To move the case forward, examiners need another sample of McCormick’s coded system-or a similar one-that might offer context to the mystery notes or allow valuable comparisons to be made. Or, short of new evidence, Olson said, “Maybe someone with a fresh set of eyes might come up with a brilliant new idea.”
via Network World
Here are the images of the two notes: