Kathleen Johns was lured into the abductor's car on the ruse that her car wheel was actually coming loose, so he could subsequently offer her a lift to the nearest service station, but on the contrary took her on a two hour mystery tour through the outskirts of Tracy, California, before she managed to escape across a field with her young daughter, Jennifer.
In the Lake Herman Road, Blue Rock Springs Park, Lake Berryessa and Presidio Heights attacks, the Zodiac Killer seemed to have chosen his locations specifically, but here, if it was the Zodiac Killer, he appeared to have just happened upon his victim, and extremely unlikely that he trailed her for the best part of six hours from San Bernadino. So what was he doing in Modesto between 11 pm and midnight? Was he just cruising around in search of another victim or was he on his way home and the abduction of Kathleen Johns was just an opportunistic encounter?
This is where her observations, if correct, may be crucial in giving us the most likely scenario of how Kathleen Johns and the Zodiac Killer's paths inevitably crossed that night.
Previously, it has been suggested that the Zodiac Killer may have been a former or present member of the military service and as a pastime may have been a hiker, hunter or fisherman, due to the ten and one half Wing Walker boot impressions found approaching and leaving the crime scene at Lake Berryessa, his part inference to 'Man is the most dangerous game' in the 408 cipher, the ever changing firearms in his attacks, the murder locations and his apparent knowledge of radians, not a common term used in everyday life. So what were the observations of Kathleen Johns?
A windbreaker is a thin outer garment usually worn in outdoor pursuits to cheat the wind and keep the wearer dry, often elasticated at the waist and arms - and a garment that may have come in handy in the month of March in Northern California, when the night temperatures would be hovering around the five degrees mark. A lanyard, such as elasticated glasses are often used in outdoor pursuits such as hiking, fishing and hunting for obvious reasons, especially if the wearer is interchanging between objects, such as binoculars or using other sighting instruments like a rifle scope, where the removal of glasses can become a necessity, depending on the eye relief afforded by the rifle or indeed binoculars.
'The eye relief of an optical instrument (such as a telescope, a microscope, or binoculars) is the distance from the last surface of an eyepiece at which the user's eye can obtain the full viewing angle. If a viewer's eye is outside this distance, a reduced field of view will be obtained. The calculation of eye relief is complex, though generally, the higher the magnification and the larger the intended field-of-view, the shorter the eye relief.
Eye relief distance can be particularly important for eyeglass wearers and shooters. The eye of an eyeglass wearer is typically further from the eyepiece so needs a longer eye relief in order to still see the entire field of view. For a shooter, eye relief is also a safety consideration. If the eye relief of a telescopic sight is too short, leaving the eye close to the sight, the firearm's recoil can force the optic to strike the skin around the shooter's eye, leaving a cut'.Taken from Wikipedia.
Hence, the wearing of appropriate glasses will become a consideration, if the user is constantly interchanging them with other
objects - in this case - a hunting rifle and binoculars. Did the abductor of Kathleen Johns wear elasticated glasses for such a reason, as routine driving would not ordinarily necessitate their use. Or were his future plans for Kathleen Johns, similar to the Lake Berryessa attack, where secured glasses may have been a priority. But this takes us back to the question;, if this was a chance encounter, where had the Zodiac come from and where was he traveling to at this late hour?
The Great Valley Grasslands State Park and San Luis National Wildlife Refuge would have satisfied any one of these needs and if we assume he was a resident of Vallejo or Benicia, then the route through Modesto back to the Bay Area was his equal quickest route. He could have taken the California State Route 140, but the distance is virtually the same. Great Valley Grasslands State Park is only 18 minutes drive along State Route 165 to Highway 99, which leads to Highway 132.Modesto. San Luis National Wildlife Refuge is approximately 21 minutes drive to Highway 99. If the Zodiac Killer had left either of these recreation areas, then his path would have crossed that of Kathleen Johns in roughly 20 minutes time. He was presumably armed and quite possibly his days hunting had not completely satisfied his needs.
Kathleen Johns had traveled from San Bernadino via Highway 99 for safety reasons, before turning west onto Highway 132 - and it is here her abductor was to strike.
If he was a regular visitor to both Great Valley Grasslands State Park and San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, then it would follow that on his route back to the Bay Area, he would pass through or near to the city of Tracy, California, which is ultimately where he drove Kathleen Johns after abducting her.