05-28-2009, 11:33 AM #1Amateur Zodiac Researcher
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Cheri Jo Bates...Zodiac Victim or not?
On October 30, 1966, Cheri Jo Bates, 18, was studying at the Riverside City College library annex until the library closed at 9 p.m. Investigators suspect that her Volkswagen parked outside the library was tampered with prior to her leaving the library. The distributor coil and the condenser had been pulled out and the middle wire of the distributor was disconnected. Police believe that when she tried to start the car the person who disabled it approached her and offered his help.
Somehow he lured her into a secluded dark driveway which sat between two empty houses, where police believe the two sat for about an hour and a half. The man later attacked Bates, beating her, slashing at her face and cutting her a total of 11 times, seven of which nearly decapitated her.
Clues found at the scene included a size 10 heel-print, a Timex watch with a torn seven-inch wristband displaying the time 12:23, fingerprints and a palm print, skin tissue underneath the victim's fingernails and hair and blood in her hands.
On November 29, 1966, two identical letters were sent to the Riverside Police and the Riverside Press-Enterprise by someone claiming to be responsible for killing Bates. The letters included a poem titled "The Cofession"[sic] which offered details of the murder that only the police and the killer knew about. The letters also included a warning that she was not the first or the last of his victims. Many believe the tone of the letter was very similar to that of the Zodiac letters mailed after the Vallejo murders.
In December 1966 a custodian at the Riverside City College discovered a poem carved into the underside of a folding desk. The poem, titled "Sick of living/unwilling to die" had a tone similar to that of the Zodiac as well as handwriting which looked like some found in the Zodiac's letters. Some believe the author, who signed the poem with the initials "rh" was describing the murder of Bates. Other theorize that the letter was written by a student who had unsuccessfully tried to kill themselves. However, Sherwood Morrill, one of California's top Questioned Documents examiners, was of the opinion that the true author of the poem was the Zodiac. Six months after the murder of Bates three nearly identical letters were received by the Riverside Press, the Riverside police and Cheri Jo Bates' father. The letters all contained more postage than was necessary(like Zodiac would later do) and two of the letters were signed with a symbol which looked like the letter Z next to the number three. The Zodiac letters sent in the 1970s all contained excessive postage, symbol-type signatures and the threat that more murders would follow.
Here is the poem that was etched onto the desktop:
Sick of living / unwilling to die
if red I
all over her new
it was red anyway. life draining into an
someone ll find her
just wait till
Here i found another article about a girl in a "red dress" that was found dead:
Headline from 12/19/66 Modesto Bee
"Woman's Body Is Found On Cliff
TIBURON (UPI)—The badly decomposed body of a woman
was found Sunday on a cliff by a young hunter. Authorities said
the body had lain in the underbrush for several months about 20
feet below Paradise Drive. An autopsy will be conducted to determine
cause of death. She was wearing a red dress.They found no Identification on the
body. Deputies said they have no report of a missing woman
matching the description of the body."
She was dead for several months.That means,she was dead before Cheri Jo Bates,so when the person sent the letter saying "she was not the first,and she will not be the last",he may have been telling the truth.She may have been the girl in the "red dress" that the desktop poem was about.
I have tried to research more to find out if her identity was ever determined,but was unable to find more info.
Remember in Bates "CONFESSION" letter, sent Nov 29, 1966, it was written about CJB: " SHE IS NOT THE FIRST AND SHE WILL NOT BE THE LAST "
Zodiac later wrote the word PARADICE in one of his letters.
So the couple interesting things here are that this unidentified woman was found in a RED dress,on PARADISE Drive
05-30-2009, 12:10 AM #2
Interesting. glad to have you here..The Zodiac has fascinated me (and scared me) for a good long time.Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.---Patrick Moynihan
Living in the
05-30-2009, 12:20 AM #3Amateur Zodiac Researcher
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05-31-2009, 12:59 PM #4Registered User
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Im not entirely sure he killed Cheri Jo ....however he may very well have been the one writing letters to the police investigating the case.
But nothing concerning Zodiac would surprise me.
05-31-2009, 11:41 PM #5Amateur Zodiac Researcher
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The Bates Confession letter..Was it Zodiac?
In my short time as a member of this forum,i have seen that there are some really great investigative minds here,and i would like to hear some thoughts & opinions on the Bates case. It is important to point out that there were some important pieces of evidence left at the scene. A mens Timex watch(which i believe was traced to a miltary base px or something along those lines)and also a military boot print,sz. 8-10"(reminds me of the berryessa track)
Included a copy word for word here of the Bates "confession" letter. The "confession" letter from 11/29/66 regarding Bates,may or may not really have been from her killer.And that killer may or may not have been Zodiac.
THE CONFESSIONBY____________ SHE WAS YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL BUT NOW SHE IS BATTERED AND DEAD. SHE IS NOT THE FIRST AND SHE WILL NOT BE THE LAST I LAY AWAKE NIGHTS THINKING ABOUT MY NEXT VICTIM. MAYBE SHE WILL BE THE BEAUTIFUL BLOND THAT BABYSITS NEAR THE LITTLE STORE AND WALKS DOWN THE DARK ALLEY EACH EVENING ABOUT SEVEN. OR MAYBE SHE WILL BE THE SHAPELY BRUNETT THAT SAID NO WHEN I ASKED HER FOR A DATE IN HIGH SCHOOL. BUT MAYBE IT WILL NOT BE EITHER. BUT I SHALL CUT OFF HER FEMALE PARTS AND DEPOSIT THEM FOR THE WHOLE CITY TO SEE. SO DON'T MAKE IT TO EASY FOR ME. KEEP YOUR SISTERS, DAUGHTERS, AND WIVES OFF THE STREETS AND ALLEYS. MISS BATES WAS STUPID. SHE WENT TO THE SLAUGHTER LIKE A LAMB. SHE DID NOT PUT UP A STRUGGLE. BUT I DID. IT WAS A BALL. I FIRST CUT THE MIDDLE WIRE FROM THE DISTRIBUTOR. THEN I WAITED FOR HER IN THE LIBRARY AND FOLLOWED HER OUT AFTER ABOUT TWO MINUTES. THE BATTERY MUST HAVE BEEN ABOUT DEAD BY THEN. I THEN OFFERED TO HELP. SHE WAS THEN VERY WILLING TO TALK TO ME. I TOLD HER THAT MY CAR WAS DOWN THE STREET AND THAT I WOULD GIVE HER A LIFT HOME. WHEN WE WERE AWAY FROM THE LIBRARY WALKING, I SAID IT WAS ABOUT TIME. SHE ASKED ME, "ABOUT TIME FOR WHAT?" I SAID IT WAS ABOUT TIME FOR HER TO DIE. I GRABBED HER AROUND THE NECK WITH MY HAND OVER HER MOUTH AND MY OTHER HAND WITH A SMALL KNIFE AT HER THROAT. SHE WENT VERY WILLINGLY. HER BREAST FELT WARM AND VERY FIRM UNDER MY HANDS, BUT ONLY ONE THING WAS ON MY MIND. MAKING HER PAY FOR ALL THE BRUSH OFFS THAT SHE HAD GIVEN ME DURING THE YEARS PRIOR. SHE DIED HARD. SHE SQUIRMED AND SHOOK AS I CHOCKED HER, AND HER LIPS TWICHED. SHE LET OUT A SCREAM ONCE AND I KICKED HER IN THE HEAD TO SHUT HER UP. I PLUNGED THE KNIFE INTO HER AND IT BROKE. I THEN FINISHED THE JOB BY CUTTING HER THROAT. I AM NOT SICK. I AM INSANE. BUT THAT WILL NOT STOP THE GAME. THIS LETTER SHOULD BE PUBLISHED FOR ALL TO READ IT. IT JUST MIGHT SAVE THAT GIRL IN THE ALLEY. BUT THAT'S UP TO YOU. IT WILL BE ON YOUR CONSCIENCE. NOT MINE. YES, I DID MAKE THAT CALL TO YOU ALSO. IT WAS JUST A WARNING. BEWARE...I AM STALKING YOUR GIRLS NOW. CC. CHIEF OF POLICE ENTERPRISE
First,(which i already have noticed before)you have the major and obvious things that make it look like Zodiac was the killer. Taunting the police,writing the paper,misspelling easy words like:
to, instead of too
In addition,the writer seems to know some pretty detailed info such as:
" I FIRST CUT THE MIDDLE WIRE FROM THE DISTRIBUTOR. THEN I WAITED FOR HER IN THE LIBRARY AND FOLLOWED HER OUT AFTER ABOUT TWO MINUTES. THE BATTERY MUST HAVE BEEN ABOUT DEAD BY THEN"
"SHE LET OUT A SCREAM ONCE AND I KICKED HER IN THE HEAD TO SHUT HER UP. I PLUNGED THE KNIFE INTO HER AND IT BROKE. I THEN FINISHED THE JOB BY CUTTING HER THROAT."
"YES, I DID MAKE THAT CALL TO YOU ALSO. IT WAS JUST A WARNING"
The above items seem to indicate knowledge of what happened to Bates.The question is how much was info that the writer could have read in the papers or saw on tv? Remember that Zodiac didnt mention this attack until after all of the 1968 and 1969 murders until it was mentioned in the press that Bates may have been a Zodiac victim. When Zodiac wrote to the papers for the 1st time,he wrote "Dear Editor,This is the murderer of the 2 teenagers last christmass and the girl on the 4th of July" He never mentions,"plus the girl from 3 years ago in Riverside". So perhaps he didnt kill her,and knew nothing of the Bates murder,or perhaps he did kill her but didnt mention it since Riverside was pretty far from Vallejo and San Fran,and figured the police wouldnt even know which murder he was referring to if he mentioned the Bates killing.In addition,when Zodiac wrote on Brian Hartnell's car door after the Berryessa attack,he only took made a note of the Dec 1968 attack and July 4th attack in addition to the Hartnell/Sheppard attack,once again not mentioning the Bates murder.
A clue here?
"BUT ONLY ONE THING WAS ON MY MIND. MAKING HER PAY FOR ALL THE BRUSH OFFS THAT SHE HAD GIVEN ME DURING THE YEARS PRIOR"
If the writer actually is the murderer,and he is telling the truth,then perhaps he did know her.I know police suspected an ex boyfriend of hers,but i wonder if they checked with her friends to see if she was freaked out by any guys in particular?
As an investigator,i would have checked out witnesses in the library,since this writer claims "THEN I WAITED FOR HER IN THE LIBRARY AND FOLLOWED HER OUT AFTER ABOUT TWO MINUTES"
If this is the case,and really happened,who saw what? And did Bates go to the library on a regular basis,at any day or time? Perhaps this writer/stalker knew her pattern?
One thing that makes this writer sound like he is NOT Zodiac,was the way he says "BUT I SHALL CUT OFF HER FEMALE PARTS AND DEPOSIT THEM FOR THE WHOLE CITY TO SEE" and "HER BREAST FELT WARM AND VERY FIRM UNDER MY HANDS". There was never any evidence that Zodiac did anything sexually with any of his victims,whereas the writer of this letter makes it sound like he has some sexual issues.
So we have 2 possibilities here.The writer of this letter either was OR wasnt Zodiac. 50/50 odds. If he is Zodiac that raises some more questions.Did he know Bates as he claimed to? If so,he most likely knew her either from High School or college,or worked at a diner,gas station,or some other place she went to.Perhaps a fellow student(which would make Zodiac younger than most people thought)or maybe a school professor,janitor,etc. Bates graduated from Ramona HS in Riverside in 1966(June i believe)and was killed in October 1966. So there is a 4 month gap from graduating HS to starting college.Lets assume she started college in Sept 1966. That means if she already knew her attacker in Sept,it was probably someone from HS,but if she met them after Sept,that means she had a 1-2 month window to meet her killer.I would work hard and talk to all her friends and fellow students from her graduating class,and at her new college to try to pinpoint a suspect.Again,this is all contingent on her really knowing the letter writer in the first place like he states in the letter. I would also look at any people with military backgrounds that Bates knew,or perhaps students that had been in the military,maybe just back from the war,etc.Even if they were able to catch Cheri's killer,and it didnt turn out to be Zodiac,it would still be a great relief to her family.
By the way,here are two more pieces of evidence that makes it look like Zodiac killed Cheri Jo Bates(or at least took credit for it back in 1967) In April 1967,someone wrote to a paper and said:
"BATES HAD TO DIE THERE WILL BE MORE Z"The "Z" at the end of the letter looked actally like a Z with a little number 3 coming off of it,some people wonder if it actually is a Z.I have heard people say it looks like a 3 and an L I will include a copy of the image here.Also the envelope that was sent used double postage as Zodiac often did.
Lastly,the desktop poem found at Riverside college where Bates was killed,was considered by handwriting experts to be the same writing as that of Zodiac.
06-05-2009, 07:51 PM #6Registered User
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Zodiac the legend...
The Zodiac story is one which contains many open ends and questions. The person who wrote the letters to the San Francisco Chronicle claiming to be Zodiac and who terrorized the California area was obviously a very sick individual, who most likely killed several of the victims he claimed.
But two things which have helped build his "legend" are first that he probably claimed victims whom he had NOT killed, and secondly that police and investigators/writers have sometimes credited him with other unsolved murder cases. It is also possible that there were a few copycat killings in later years.
There are probably quite a few explanations for this, but first I would like to comment about this specific case, of Cherri Jo Bates' murder. As pointed out, "Zodiac" did not initially claim to have killed her, even though there is a lot of evidence to indicate that he did. Back then (and even today in some places) police did not connect the dots with other cases outside their jurisdiction. Cherri Jo's death was unsolved, and while her case was probably still "open" police had pursued all leads up to that point and the case had gone cold. It was a newspaper writer who made the initial connection between her case and those of the Zodiac in San Francisco area.
Why would Zodiac NOT claim to be Cherri Jo's killer? Two possible reasons: first that maybe he wasn't the killer, the second that he was the killer, but because Riverdale was a much smaller place, he could be more easily identified if the connection was made.
When one reads of the Zodiac case, there is often a "military" connection mentioned. The shoes/prints, the weapons, the watch, the haircut, the military style glasses, the Presidio base, the military jargon which he uses in letters, all point to a possible military background. That in and of itself is not positive proof that Zodiac killed Cherri Jo, but the connections are well noted.
Remember, that there were quite a number of serial killers in and out of California in the 1960's and 70's - many of them well known and others who probably remain unknown. There was quite a bit of over-lap when it came to MO and area of murders.
06-05-2009, 09:23 PM #7Amateur Zodiac Researcher
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Richard,good points.Its scary how many murderers there wer in Calif in those days. I agree that Zodiac may not have took credit for the Bates attack,because he was afraid someone could connect her to him. But,if he is the one that wrote the notes to Riverside police,it was an early run for his later letters. Even if he didnt kill her,he may have read about her,and still mailed the anonymous letters.In one letter to Riverside police,the writer said the knife tip broke off inside Bates.I have not read anyplace that it is true,but then again,police may have wanted that kept secret,in case they found a suspect with a knife that was missing the tip.
As far as the military angle,he may have been military,or maybe was a wannabe,who knows.The stuff he owned that was military may have been bought at an army surplus store,or bu an acquaintance that was in the military
06-06-2009, 12:08 AM #8Registered User
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I read off and on about this Zodiac for over 10 years or more, So I am not a newbie but I am sure some of you got more time into this than I have.. That one reason I am glad to see some of you on here, You now can get a lot more idea's about this case out in the open now and work together with out fear of being banned..
I think pretty strong Zodaic had been military or around it including his home life for years( Navy in my wild guess) at some time and could still been in Reserve's or very possible active during some of the crimes.. Or possible grown up as a kid under a parent with a 20+ year Naval or Military Career.. Too many small thing point this way..
And I think If he was in military.. He was at some time force out under a mental discharge. More than likely something to do with very young underage girl's on the post or local area town where he was station and got him in trouble with MP's & LE over that.. small girls would be the only ones that show him any attention at all that he so much crave..
He had very strong hate of adult women but he was a huge Mothers Boy.. But all the adult women around his age they never would date him I guess they though he was a creep or something...Notice they allway's got a more brutal attacked than the men did in every case I read about.. This should been 180 degrees different, The men would been a greater threat to him..
A lot of my untrained worth nothing background on him is base on this and other serial killers I read about... Notice untrained atleast I admit it and open to new idea's..
He live there or lived there before in some of these towns such as Vallejo Ca.. He moved through that town way too easy to be a outsider.. But mainly some of the sub's of San Fran. Ca area..
But if he know any of his victims very well at all it had to been Cheri Jo Bates If he did kill her...
Notice in that letter he said she turn him down a lot... I quote from letter ""MAKING HER PAY FOR ALL THE BRUSH OFFS THAT SHE HAD GIVEN ME DURING THE YEARS PRIOR. "'
Myself I allway thought if he messed up anywhere this was it...In all his bragging to police & newspapers .... He know Cheri for years possible live at one time very near her to see her atleast few times a week, They very well could been 4 years give or take few years difference in there age's but my guess they only lived few blocks if that much from each other at one time..
Just the way he looked in the wanted posters I too allways thought police age him too old... He just has that look that makes people think his older than he really is... You seen the type before could buy bottle's of Wiskey when he 15 and never get IDed ..
Myself I never could find as much background as I wanted to on Cheri but this very well could lead to a good suspect if ever find more personal infromation on her in the about 10 to 18 year old life range she had..
06-10-2009, 05:26 PM #9
One question I've had in Cheri's murder that I still haven't discovered an answer to... IF (and of course this would be a big if) the watch discovered at the scene is still in evidence somewhere, has it ever been tested for DNA? This was reported to be a rather large honkin' watch, as I remember reading. As anyone who wears a watch for any length of time knows, the back of a watch tends to collect..."debris" in large amounts (from normal daily activities, sweating, etc).
Just a random thought.
06-10-2009, 05:43 PM #10Amateur Zodiac Researcher
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Great question! Guee the only way to know is to see if Riverside PD has it still in evidence. But,you still need a suspect to compare it to,and the DNA may be degraded by now
06-10-2009, 07:39 PM #11
There's nothing like a tip-toe through the CODIS to see what one may find....
02-01-2011, 11:40 AM #12Registered User
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Cheri Jo Bates Murder...
Robert Graysmith, in his book Zodiac, seems to think that Cheri Jo was an early Zodic victim and he further advances his theories about the identification of Zodiac in his later book Zodiac Unmasked and in the recent Zodiac movie.
The writer of all the Zodiac letters and messages never claimed Cheri Jo as a victim and never included her in his "body count" signoffs. He did, however, congratulate LE on discovering his earlier work and stated that there were many more.
Although thought by many to be a Zodiac victim, this case has never been solved officially.
02-01-2011, 03:16 PM #13Registered User
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where is the evolution?
I have read that often there is a progression that results in the 'birth' of a serial killer.
Sometimes arson and then small animals get tortured & killed and then
children get attacked and then older children & then young women and so on.
So where is the 'evolution' of this killer? The only thing I have seen so far that even hints
at this evolution is a poem (carved or written into a school desk) that was
thought to possibly have been Zodiac's work.
If he sprang 'full bloom' into existence was there a triggering event?
What flipped the switch to suddenly turn on the killer mode?
I doubt this case was his very first kill, if it was actually his kill.
I always thought this particular killing seemed impersonal, just another set up thing.
02-06-2011, 10:34 AM #14Registered User
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- Oct 2005
caught the flu
Soon after that last post of mine I had to go to E.R. where I tested positive for
the respiratory flu. They wanted to keep me in hospital a couple days
but I live only 5 mins away so I had them give me a breathing treatment
and send me home with some meds and the promise I would return if things got worse.
So I apologize if my post seemed a bit off.
It is hard to do a good job when you are that sick.
I do hope Zodiac gets its own forum area.
One thing I have noticed about this killer is that if you look at his killings without
reading the hype and the words & letters he sent in then the killings
look different somehow. The pattern reads different to me then.
It is like completely muting the sound when watching a movie. You may begin to notice
differernt things. You might see it differently.
I think he wrote things to throw up a smoke screen to keep people from
seeing just which killings he had & had not done because without the screening hype
someone might notice something about his attacks that might lead to him being caught.
I think he fancied himself to be a master of deception because he knew
what evil was inside him but instead of being mystified as to why people
could not see he was a monster (AS BTK was mystified at first) Zodiac
concluded it because he was a master of deception.
So he decided to go with his strength believing it would shield him from being found out.
He liked planning things out, probably dreaming of what it would be like but in some of his killings
he liked to drive to & from the scene of the crime, strike fast & leave.
Driving was something he seems to have really enjoyed.
The Bates case did involve a car too if I remember right
(at least the alleged sabotage of one) but it was different in some ways.
It took longer to accomplish than some of his other crimes and was a bit riskier.
It may be why some of the later killings were simplified and faster.
Sorry I don't yet have much to contribute but I do think about zodiac
and mull over the killings from time to time.
When I think of a helpful bit I will pass it along.
02-06-2011, 05:23 PM #15Registered User
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While I'm not certain this was a Z attack, there are enough similarities that I keep an open mind to the possibility.If coincidence never happened, there wouldn't be a word for it.
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