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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crack a Code, Solve a Murder

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Dig out your old WWII Colossus code-breaking computer: The FBI has got a case for you. - IMAGE VIA
  • image via
  • Dig out your old WWII Colossus code-breaking computer: The FBI has got a case for you.

If you ever had fantasies of being a World War II code-breaker or joining the CSI team (choose your city), now's your chance. The FBI is officially stumped in the case of Ricky McCormick, whose body was found in a field in St. Louis on June 30, 1999. There were no clues...except for two mysteriously encoded notes in McCormick's pockets.

The notes were written by McCormick in a special code, known only to him, which he had used for most of his life. The FBI believes that they were written up to three days before McCormick was murdered and may contain clues to the murderer's identity or, at the very least, what McCormick had been up to during the last few days of his life.

FBI cryptanalysts have been studying the notes for the past eleven years and have made absolutely no headway. That's where you come in, dear reader. "We are really good at what we do," said Dan Olson, chief of the FBI's Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU), in a press release, "but we could use some help with this one. Maybe someone with a fresh set of eyes might come up with a brilliant new idea."

Even if the notes offer no insight into who murdered McCormick, the FBI still wants to know how to crack the code. "Even if we found out that he was writing a grocery list or a love letter," Olson said, "we would still want to see how the code is solved. This is a cipher system we know nothing about."

The notes after the jump...

Note 1. - IMAGE VIA
Note 2. - IMAGE VIA

The FBI has provided larger versions.

If you figure it out, write about it in a letter to this address:

FBI Laboratory Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit 2501 Investigation Parkway Quantico, VA 22135 Attn: Ricky McCormick Case

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