The first thing we shall take a look at is where the killer parked his vehicle, having likely followed Cheri Jo Bates to the Riverside City College Library that evening or knew that she was attending. Cheri Jo Bates Volkswagen Beetle was ultimately found parked approximately 75 yards east of alleyway, parked on Terracina Drive - and it is likely her murderer parked close by - probably slightly west of her location on the same street. In the 'Confession' letter mailed a month after the attack, believed to be from the perpetrator, it stated "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 round the neck with my hand over her mouth and my other hand with a small knife at her throat". The part detailing her leaving the library annex early is likely true, but the inference that his vehicle was parked on the other side of the alleyway was patently false.
The 'Confession' letter portrays a killer seeking revenge for all the "brush offs" he had endured down the years. Would he really be that brazen, to center the investigation towards himself if he knew her? Well probably - after all, the police probably thought that as well and could easily have interpreted this statement as a double edged sword. He may very well have been on the fringes of her circle of friends, as opposed to being a close friend of Cheri's. It was mentioned in the article that she received a lot of attention from male admirers.
The idea a random killer, unknown to Cheri and Riverside City College seems unlikely - there are much easier ways to lie in wait for a random female victim than commit a prolonged attack in the heart of a college campus, only a matter of yards from the library annex during or near opening hours. The crime appears ill thought out and impulsive. Whomever the murderer was, he specifically targeted her Volkswagen Beetle, not knowing how long she intended remaining inside the library that evening. Was this indicative of the determination on his part?
The 'Confession' letter stated "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 friends of Cheri Jo Bates pointed out she was very proud of her Volkswagen Beetle and that she was afraid of the dark. These two factors make it extremely unlikely she would head down a dark alley with a stranger, especially considering she could have returned to the library to seek assistance, which was only a matter of yards away. Leaving her vehicle unlocked with the windows rolled down and the keys in the ignition is perplexing. Had she gone willingly, why would Cheri Jo Bates have left her vehicle in such a manner? It may suggest coercion at a much later time.
The pathologist F. Rene Modglin stated "the gastric contents suggest she had eaten a supper type meal probably not more than 2 to 4 hours before death". In addition, the stomach contents contained "at least 100 ml of thick fluid, with particulate food particles in which are easily recognized reasonably large pieces of beef, along with vegetable particulates and/or celery and onion, and what appears to be milk or cottage cheese".
Cheri Jo Bates had eaten at approximately 4:00-4:30 pm, placing her time of death between 6:00 pm and 8:30 pm based on the autopsy findings. Students acquainted with Cheri Jo Bates said they were in the library between 6:30 pm and 6:40 pm and never saw her. In addition, no confirmed sightings can be corroborated by any other person thereafter, despite the popularity of Cheri Jo Bates and further indicating her time spent in the library was brief, having likely left prior to 6:30 pm. Something the killer may have already known in advance had he spoken to her.
The 'Confession' and Bates letters were purportedly sent by the killer - and these may further connect the killer to the college.
The following is from a 1966/67 Riverside City College catalog "The present library is located on the Terracina Avenue side of the Quadrangle. Its collection includes more than 35,000 books, 400 current periodicals and newspapers, 1,950 reels of microfilm and 2,000 pamphlets. Its indoor and outdoor facilities can accommodate 225 students. The library staff, which includes five professional librarians, offers students and faculty individual assistance. The services of the College Library are available to students and residents of this area without charge. Students have free access to any of the books and magazines in the collection and are encouraged to use the library for their recreational reading as well as for academic pursuits. The circulation period is flexible and is determined by the demand for the material in question. Usual loans are for three weeks, but shorter periods may be required for assigned reading in limited materials. Longer loans may be made upon request. Borrowers are held responsible for any library materials which are lost or damaged while in their care. A photocopying machine, where students can secure 8 1/2 X 11 inch black and white copy of printed or typed material, is available at the library for ten cents. Hours of service are: Monday through Thursday 7:45 a.m - 10:00 p.m; Friday 7:45 a.m - 4:30 p.m; Sunday 1:00 - 5:00; 6:00 - 9:00 p.m".
Earlier, the killer had sent the 'Confession' letter, which he typed and photocopied. Sheriff Earl Randol described this letter, "The original of this letter was evidently destroyed or kept by the suspect, as the Press and our department received a carbon copy of the original. These carbon copies were a fourth and fifth copy and difficult to read. A photograph of this letter and the envelope is attached. A reproduction of the confession letter is also attached. It should be noticed that the copies received by the Press and our department were on plain white paper of poor quality. Width of paper is 8 inches. The length of the paper is unknown as the suspect (a peculiarity) tore off the bottom and top of the paper".
Not such a peculiarity if the suspect was attempting to disguise the dimensions of the paper or remove any anomalies or distinguishing features left by the photocopying process, that could possibly link him to the photocopier in question and maybe the college itself. The idea the killer would disable Cheri Jo Bates vehicle with no knowledge whatsoever on her likely return from the library to the said vehicle, could have placed him in area for at least three hours, observing the Volkswagen Beetle in close proximity. Not the actions of a master criminal, but possibly somebody who was primarily focused on Cheri Jo Bates as his choice of target.