Many murders passed through the pages of the Chronicle newspaper, but this story had everything the killer required. Of course, he must have realized by now, that if he had mailed a communication immediately after the newspaper article, stating an involvement in her disappearance, then it would appear all too convenient, with his writings likely dismissed as a killer just latching on to the latest crime story. But by waiting months, as he had done with Kathleen Johns, his claims (in his mind) may carry more weight with investigators. In other words, the publicity had died down regarding the disappearance of Donna Lass, yet he still had the crime in the forefront of his mind even after six months, thereby adding validity to such a claim.
Rubislaw32, a contributor to this site, touched on the idea that the March 22nd 1971 Pines Card may have been influenced by the abduction and murder of Judith Hakari. This idea carries much weight, when we consider the inspiration for the Pines Card was likely generated from the September 26th 1970 newspaper article six months earlier. The article was rich pickings for a killer who had previously murdered taxicab driver Paul Stine in the Presidio Heights area of San Francisco, so close to the Letterman General Hospital where Donna Lass had previously worked. The disappearance of a woman 150 miles from San Francisco, who had recent connections to San Francisco in the Presidio Heights district, must have been more than the Zodiac Killer could have wished for. Many disappearances and murders had occurred much closer to the Bay Area than the Lake Tahoe Mystery, but this one was covered comprehensively by the Chronicle and had the details the Zodiac Killer couldn't have failed to notice. We look for overlapping features in the Presidio Heights murder of Paul Stine by Zodiac, with the movements of Donna Lass and her eventual abduction from South Lake Tahoe, noting the location of the Letterman General Hospital with respect to the Presidio Park the killer escaped into. We then take the Pines Card depicting Incline Village and draw parallels to the crimes based on their locations, thereby concluding a possible Zodiac involvement in both. The problem being with this line of thinking, is the Zodiac Killer knew that these conclusions would be drawn when he created the Pines Card - because he had read the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article and noted these comparisons himself. The Zodiac Killer was effectively forcing you into making an unwarranted connection, thereby bolstering a case for his involvement in the Donna Lass case. Everything required for the Pines Card sat in the September 26th 1970 pubication.
The newspaper article told us that Donna Lass worked at the Sahara Tahoe Hotel on the south side of the lake, so even a modicum of investigation to discover the location of the local police department, would allow the Zodiac Killer to direct the investigators "past the Lake Tahoe areas" to the the pine-laden wilderness and a likely burial site. Then came the pièce de résistance in the Pines Card, further forging a link between the Zodiac Killer, Donna Lass and San Francisco. The Zodiac Killer wanted investigators to draw the conclusion he had previously targeted Donna Lass in the Presidio area of San Francisco, and so driving them to the conclusion that he had traveled to South Lake Tahoe to complete his mission of killing the young woman Unfortunately, the Zodiac Killer may have overestimated the ability of police to discover the true meaning of "sought victim 12".
On March 19th 1971, the San Francisco ran an advertisement for condominiums at Incline Village by Lake Tahoe. The Zodiac Killer, having now waited the necessary time to authenticate his claim in the disappearance and murder of Donna Lass, lay the final piece of the jigsaw. His ruse was now complete.