Alession Vinci, an Italian student, died in 2019 for unexplained reasons. He left behind an unsolved cryptogram.

Unsolved crimes that involve unsolved cryptograms have always been among the most popular topics on this blog. Stories of this kind include the Zodiac Killer, the Somerton Man, the Debosnys case, and the Ohio train-station robbery.


Suicide or murder?

Blog reader John Haas from Austria has now informed me about another case that might fit into this category: the unclarified death of Alessio Vinci. According to a Reddit post, this case can be summarized as follows:

  • Alessio Vinci was an 18 year-old student from Ventimiglia, a town near the border between Italy and France. He lived with his grandfather.
  • Vinci was studying Aerospace engineering in Turin and was overall a very smart guy. His family and friends described him as being gifted with a superior intelligence.
  • On January 17, 2019, Vinci travelled to Paris without telling anyone, not even his family. He took a room at the hotel Le Meridien Etoile, near Port Maillot.
  • Vinci did not leave his hotel until after midnight. He only went to the balcony to smoke and to call his grandfather. He didn’t tell him anything important, just causal conversation. He seemed calm as usual.
  • Around 2 a.m., Vinci left the hotel. It is not known what happened next.
  • On January 18, Vinci was found dead under a crane in a construction site in Port Maillot.
  • Vinci’s death looked like a suicide, but this cause of death is doubted by his grandfather.

Vinci left a letter (written in French) for his grandfather. Here’s a translated version of it:

I won’t say why I did it, if I will be remembered as a crazy youngster I don’t care what people think. I only ask for one thing, and I know someone will do it. Let everyone see this message.

The message mentioned at the end of the letter might be the encrypted one introduced below.

The authorities also found a 100.000 € receipt from a bank in Monaco, and a transaction of 700€ made in Paris.


The Vinci cryptogram

What makes this case interesting for this blog is that it involves a cryptogram. According to the web portal Newsbreezer, the following message was displayed on Vinci’s computer (I assume it’s the one the letter refers to):


Apparently, this message needs to be mirrored:


To my regret, I don’t know any details about this cryptogram. How was the message found on the computer? Why did Vinci (or whoever) write this note by hand instead of using a word processor? When was the file containing the message scan created?

The message can be transcribed as follows:

ETP per sais CAM 381ASLCM

The same letters, E. T. P., were found engraved with a lighter under Vinci’s desk.

Can a reader make sense of this cryptogram? If so, please leave a comment.

Further reading: How steganography solved a murder case


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Kommentare (6)

  1. #1 Richard SantaColoma
    2. Januar 2020

    Not to be trollish in the New Year… but I would think the transcription is actually:

    E.T.P. je sais CAM 381A2LCM

    That is, the number you have as a “5” looks like a “2” to me. Other than that, I can be of little help!

  2. #2 V.W.
    3. Januar 2020

    I thought it was two payments – one with 1000€ and a second with 700€, that were found by the executives.
    Or did I am wrong?
    Am I the only one who is irritated by the writing of the number “1”. Usually the number won’t be written with a horizontal line below like in book-style.

  3. #3 Peter
    4. Januar 2020

    “Je sais” is French for “I know”.

  4. #4 Tobias Schrödel
    7. Januar 2020

    What a famous name … and a coincidence …?
    Leonardo da Vinci was also “mirror writing” his notes, just as Alessio Vinci.

    And: CAM 381A2LCM might be the name of a webcam … and there WAS a webcam available from LaBrae school in Ohio that used this “name” as URL. It is – however – not available anymore and I don’t know if it already/still existed, before/when Allesio died:

  5. #5 Me
    9. Januar 2020

    Tobias, the link you provided to that website can only have numbers as a webcam identifier (in that case, 381, which links to the same cam without the A2LCM string). Given that he studied in Italy, that cam can’t be related.

  6. #6 BREAKER
    11. Januar 2020

    The Cipher was broken revealing a plot to sabotage planes that was tied to a War Game of the US Navy called Project Architeuthis

    This is some high level stuff and covert as well.

    The cipher is multi layered and I had to use a few techniques that are explained on the page linked

    There was also a fairly long Reddit post about it as well.

    Search for “Alessio Vinci” and “ETP Cipher”