The library opened at 6:00 pm - and it was only then he noticed Cheri Jo Bates, indicating that Cheri Jo entered the library close to opening time, or several minutes after. His attention to detail mentioning the 'blue spiral notebook' could easily have been verified by police, to corroborate that he wasn't mistaken. In addition to the Mexican-American student, a male librarian at the college said he "thought he saw" Cheri Jo in the library that Sunday evening.
Her vehicle was ultimately found on Terracina Drive, right next to Magnolia Avenue. If we assume she discharged her own three library books, then she must have entered the library at approximately 6:15 pm. The above two eyewitnesses times are approximated, so if the Mexican-American student saw Cheri Jo Bates "in the library the night in question," shortly after it opened, it was likely closer to 6:15 pm.
Extract from the November 29th 1966 'Confession' letter "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".
The four young men sitting opposite Cheri Jo Bates' Volkswagen Beetle never saw anybody tamper with the engine. The four young men were still sitting on this fence at 7:15 pm, one hour after seeing Cheri Jo Bates park up. Therefore, the only way the author of the 'Confession' letter may be proved correct, is if the four young men left that location shortly after spotting Cheri Jo Bates leave her vehicle, only to return to the same spot some time later. The four men notice the young woman leave her vehicle, they walk away from the near vicinity, at which point the assailant disables the Volkswagen, tracks Cheri Jo Bates, offers her assistance, then murders her in the alleyway, likely before 6:30 pm. The four young men then return to the original location after 6:30 pm, and before 7:15 pm, hence see or hear nothing untoward. However, this is not possible, because a later eyewitness present in the alleyway at 9:30 pm saw no signs of murder.
This indicated that four young men were present from 6.15 pm through to 7:15 pm opposite Cheri Jo Bates' Volkswagen Beetle, or had left and returned by 7:15 pm. Walter Siebert and friends recall the four men, but not Cheri Jo Bates, further indicating that the four men must have spotted Cheri Jo at approximately 6:13 pm, when she arrived at Terracina Drive to enter the library. The vehicle had still yet to be disabled at this point.
Zodiac Unmasked by Robert Graysmith: 'Cheri Jo checked out three books from the local college library. Though her friends were at the small, cramped library between 7:15 pm and 8:57 pm, none recalled seeing her there. At 9:00 pm when the archives closed, she returned to her car to discover the engine would not catch. And here she had been working part-time at the Riverside National Bank. Parked behind her car was a Tucker Torpedo that was not there before'.
Some of this is clearly not true, because if nobody saw her, how could she have been seen returning to her vehicle at 9:00 pm. The mention of the Tucker Torpedo is interesting however, since only 51 vehicles were ever made before the company folded in 1949. The eyewitnesses may have mistaken the make of the vehicle, but if not, the screams heard later in the alleyway, closely followed by the sound of an old vehicle pulling away, may have a bearing.
The Daily Enterprise, Riverside 1966: 'Detectives investigating the murder of Cheri Bates are looking for a car almost identical to this one. Police say a 1947-52 model Studebaker with light-colored, oxidized paint was parked on Riverside Avenue just south of Terracina Drive about 7 p.m. on the night that the Riverside City College freshman was stabbed to death. Detectives said a recent re-enactment of the murder at the college campus provided this information. They ask anyone who knows of a car similar to this one, used by police to stage this photograph, to contact the Police Department'.
Since the Tucker Torpedo was supposedly spotted behind Cheri Jo Bates' Volkswagen Beetle when people were leaving the library, with both vehicles facing the library, it could be argued that the witnesses to the Tucker Torpedo only saw its front end. Both the Tucker Torpedo and Studebaker have similar aeroplane front end characteristics. Could these vehicles have been mistaken as one?
Magazine dated January 1969: "At the murder scene, drops of dried blood leading from the body to Terracina Drive were discovered indicated to the detective that the murderer had walked to the street following the slaying". This would certainly be the right direction to his vehicle, had he parked it behind the Volkswagen Beetle.
A female earwitness described "an awful scream between 10:15 pm and 10:45 pm, and then about two minutes of silence, and finally the sound of an old car starting up".
Five days later, her grief stricken father Joseph Bates collapsed at her funeral, inconsolable at the loss of a daughter who had so much to live for, but whose life was cruelly snatched away on October 30th 1966 by a coward who lurked in the shadows - and a coward that has done so ever since.