Both the Cheri Jo Bates murder and the Kathleen Johns abduction have been linked to the Zodiac Killer, but are far from certain Zodiac crimes, nevertheless an interesting chapter of events occurred in this region, throwing open the possibility the Zodiac may have had a strong connection to this area or possibly commuted through it.
Several attacks took place in the Los Angeles region of Southern California in 1967, all bearing the hallmarks of the Kathleen Johns incident. The first of three occurred in West Valley on Nordhoff Street and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, where a woman became aware of a male driver of a white sports car indicating the wheel on her car was loose, identical in MO to Kathleen Johns in Modesto. After pulling the woman and her female companion over, the man checked over her car. He then drove the second female occupant to a gas station on the premise of seeking a tow truck, before returning to the original scene. On his return to the 'stricken' vehicle, he offered to test drive the car, but instead took the woman into a dead end street, threatening to kill her if she screamed. She was then ordered from the vehicle into a nearby field, before he returned to back to Nordhoff Street to make his escape.
The third case was a slight deviation to the previous attacks, with the woman being assaulted in her own driveway, after being trailed on the Ventura Freeway, near Winetka Avenue. The 52 year old woman was grabbed through the open window of her vehicle, however the assailant fled the scene after she screamed.
A fourth attack took place in Long Beach, when another lone female was brought to a standstill on a deserted stretch of road by a man pointing and gesturing towards the woman's left rear tire while driving alongside. She eventually pulled over, stooping down to check the rear wheel, but when she arose she was faced with a man clutching a tire iron. This man unfortunately though was not there to offer assistance. She is later found beaten and robbed in a field. The MO is again very similar to the Kathleen Johns case, although the robbery aspect is out of character from what what we know of the Zodiac crimes, as his attacks and murders appeared devoid of motive, the only driving force behind his killings seemed the compunction to kill.
In December 1967 police considered the possibility a fifth attack on Anita Shieling (37), when she pulled into a closed gas station situated on White Oak Avenue and Lassen Street, Sepulveda, Los Angeles, California. A man driving a sedan grabbed her attention on the precursor of test driving her car, punched her in the face, before grabbing her purse and taking off. Again though, robbery appears the sole motive in this crime.
Three of the attacks exhibit traits of the Modesto abduction, unfortunately they provide little in the way of moving the case forward, other than if these were early Zodiac crimes, an indication of his movements and possible residency.
Other crimes have been closely linked into the Zodiac case down the years, but the lines of where the killers victims start and end have become a little blurred over time, as new theories and suggestions get added to the unofficial caseload.
Another two possible victims are Robin Graham (18), who disappeared in the early hours of November 15th 1970 on the Hollywood Freeway after encountering car problems, and noticed in the company of an unidentified dark haired male driving a pale Chevrolet Corvette. Also Jeanette Kamahele (20) on April 25th 1972, who was last spotted along Highway 101, Santa Rosa, being aided by a white male driving a light brown Chevrolet pick up truck.
If we are to believe the Kathleen Johns abduction as a Zodiac crime, then these other attacks have a credible bearing on the case, if not, the further we search this topic, the further we distance ourselves from the real killer.
Thanks to Morph and his Zodiac Killer forum.
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