If the abduction was the only purpose of his visit, we would have to believe he left his residence at sometime around 9.30 pm on Sunday night at the latest, to travel for 1.5 to 2 hours to a random stretch of highway in Modesto, for the sole purpose of flagging down a passing motorist, when this same technique could have been applied anywhere from Martinez, Concord or Walnut Creek- or an area he was possibly more familiar with. Three to four hours of driving to and from the destination, plus a 2 hour abduction, would mean anywhere up to 6 hours driving, for what turned out to be nothing more than a 'joyride'. Unless of course, there was a purpose behind his visit to Modesto, and the Kathleen Johns abduction was a mere afterthought and spur of the moment decision on his way home.
Joe Stine stated "Zodiac has to be sick, a maniac. I hope that by offering myself as a target I can flush him out. I work at the Richfield Service Station at 706 Sutter Street in Modesto, near Rouse Street. I start at 7 am. I go to lunch at the Walk-In Chicken in a shopping center two blocks away, riding a bicycle along Sutter Street and leaving the station at noon each day. I go back to the service station and work until 5."
Joe Stine lived with his mother in Modesto.
During the interview on the KPIX news report, Joe Stine was asked: "What is your feeling among them or people in the city that you may be drawing the Zodiac here unnecessarily."
Joe Stine stated that it was 99% likely the Zodiac wouldn't take up his challenge. It seemed unlikely, but exactly 5 months later the Zodiac appeared on Highway 132, west of Modesto. If this was Zodiac- was it a coincidence?
Did the Zodiac make the journey to Modesto over the weekend of March 20th to the early hours of March 23rd (possibly even stopping over) with the express intention of taking up Joe Stine on his challenge and proving this 99% assertion incorrect?
Joe Stine rode a bicycle to work, that may have indicated his mother's residence was relatively close to the Richfield Service Station at Sutter Street. Had the Zodiac Killer traveled to Modesto and followed Joe Stine at any point over the weekend, thereby locating the residence of his mother- presumably, Joe Stine would not have been working on a Sunday. Whatever the case, the attack never materialized. Then Kathleen Johns was abducted just shy of Bird Road on Highway 132, en route to Petaluma, and ironically, according to the police report, the suspect drove "west on Highway 132 and pulled into a Richfield service station that was closed." He surely must have been aware it was closed?
She would have traveled on Highway 99, just 4,840 feet, or 1.48 km east of the Richfield Service Station where Joe Stine worked- and likely close to where he resided with his mother.
Is this where Zodiac picked up her trail, somewhere along Highway 132, en route to his weekend residence, or on his way home to the Bay Area? This may be an unlikely scenario of events, but if the Modesto abduction of Kathleen Johns was unrelated to Joe Stine, why did the Zodiac Killer make a daunting 6 hour trek all over California just to flag down and give a ride to a random motorist, that he could have done anywhere. Additionally, do we put the abduction in Modesto as a coincidence, bearing in mind Joe Stine's connection to Modesto, and the previous attack was on his brother in San Francisco. Was it just a case of happenstance?
On Zodiac Killer Site forum there is an interesting letter highlighted- sent to the editor of the Modesto Bee newspaper. AK Wilks stated "Someone reacted to Joe Stine very strongly. Doug Oswell and I, and some others, wonder if this letter from AROUSED is actually the Zodiac." Joe Stine worked near ROUSE Street.
Bearing in mind how Zodiac signed off some of his letters, it's worthy of consideration.
The Modesto Bee communication can be viewed on the forum, or directly here.