Cheri Jo Bates, 37 Years Later Message Board: Possible Zodiac Victim Cheri Jo Bates: Cheri Jo Bates, 37 Years Later

By Tom Voigt (Admin) ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 12:53 am:

Here's the update.

(If you have any information regarding Cheri Jo Bates or "Bob Barnett," please send an e-mail to

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 07:34 am:

Absolutely great update, Tom. Great reporting job and fine pursuit of the key questions. Does it sound like they have done the DNA and prints and are replaying everything but the ultimate conclusion -- not the same guy -- close to the vest? That's what it sounds like to me.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 07:34 am:

Good work, Tom. Maybe it'll shame the donut-eaters into getting off their butts and doing something for a change.

By ScottDC61 ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 07:47 am:

Hi Tom, Riverside Scott here.

It's interesting, Barnett's statements seems to me that he's trying to distance himself a little too far. Doesn't seem to fit in with ANYTHING authorities here have been saying for years. How many boyfriends develop crushes on their girlfriends friends???? And Barnett seems to be running. Seems to me if he had nothing to hide he would come out and do a lot of talking about this. It just doesn't feel right. On the Other hand, I too have found it curious why we haven't heard anything about matching DNA from Cheri's hand and the watch found at the scene to suspected Zodiac DNA. What about prints from the desk top and from her car?? I know there is something here that can/will connect. Life has certain threads that weave through an event and ties things together. They just haven't found that thread yet.

I do find it interesting that Bryan Hartnell became a lawyer and is now living in the very place where Zodiac may have claimed his first victim (suggesting Zodiac hads strong ties to this area). I haven't run into Bryan again yet (I changed jobs), but I do hope to one day.

Thought...why IS/WAS RPD so hot on Barnett? They must have stronger reasons why, to the point of excluding all others.

By Warren (Warren) ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 07:53 am:

What a great update! Having that newspaper come straight up really gets your attention.

Have hope. Here in Houston a serial killer, who killed at least four women from 1988 to 1996 was just arrested. New state of the art DNA test. His DNA was on file due to a sex-offender law (unrelated offense).

BTW, wasn't there a serial killer in Riverside in the 80's?

By jonathan ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 08:10 am:

Great job Tom, that's why this site is always number 1, because of all the work you make to remember these events. Cheri jo's murder will always be my " favorite ", because it seem that this murder was the precursor of the Zodiac killings. Cheri jo was a girl with a bright futur and its a shame that she was kill at this age. too young to die, that what they said. at least, because of you Tom, her murder will never be forgotten and that's great, because Cheri jo deserve to be never forgotten. thanks again buddy!!!

By Tom Voigt (Admin) ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 12:49 pm:

Thanks everyone. I hope to be adding more detail soon.

I'm sure the Riverside police have plenty of (what they consider to be) incriminating info on Barnett that has never been revealed. Still, a comparison with the Zodiac evidence seems to definitely be in order.

By Warren (Warren) ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 02:39 pm:

Why wouldn't someone close to Barnett know whether he had that watch? And assuming a competent DNA analysis, especially of hair that she ripped out, doesn't that rule him completely out?

By J Eric Freedner (J_Eric) ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 06:48 pm:

Very interesting article, and thanks for this Halloween "treat." Tom, I have mentioned to you privately that I believe Bates' killer MAY have been someone other than the Zodiac, at least THE "Zodiac" as we tend to think of him. I wonder if police can get DNA from that other person.

While it is always a "good first guess" to pin a murder rap on a former lover/boyfriend, that can often be jumping to an erroneous conclusion. For my part, I think Barnett is being truthful. Please look elsewhere for the killer.

An aside: October 30, 1938 was the date of the infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast, where Orson Welles gave everyone the jitters by saying "BOO!" in a most unusual and believable way. Wonder if Zodiac/Bates' killer was aware of this and decided to "do something nasty?"

By Ann (Ann) ( - on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 11:00 pm:

Based on the detectives statement, I would say it sounds as if they have made the DNA comparison, and probably have checked the prints. He's said, without question, it seems, that Zodiac is ruled out in this case. How do you completely rule someone out who has been under suspicion for over thirty years if you haven't checked the evidence? I know they focused heavily on Barnett, but whenever I've read anything having to do with the Zodiac case, Cheri's murder has always been mentioned.

By Joyce ( - on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 05:49 am:

At least they should compare the DNA collected in Riverside to the DNA that came from the Zodiac letters envelope.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 06:15 pm:

When I was speaking to a Riverside detective many years ago about B.B., he referred me to Cheris' diary and that supposedly there were references to B.B. in there-some of them were quite negative.I think that they may be-if true-clinging on to those purported diary references.
If he wasn't lying,then B.B. needs to explain that.
Tom may have a contact that could get a copy of the diary.Right Tom?
He is the same detective that actually pushed away a police fingerprint card I tried to give him!
He said he wanted me to bring in the Royal typewriter and military shoes and then he would look at everything I had! A real professional!
I don't think he would want to see anything I had-he believed B.B. was the killer and it didn't take the original typewriter and shoes to prove it in his mind.

By Oddball (Oddball) ( - on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 06:33 pm:

Tom, thanks for the update. I hope Riverside PD gets to work on this soon!

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 06:34 pm:

Forgot to mention that we spoke to Dennis Highland ,Cheris' boyfriend at the time(she even flew to see him just two weeks before her death)and he said that from all he could find out he did not believe B.B was the perp.
He castigated the RPD in no uncertain terms for their pride and arrogance and for their fixation on B.B. and their rejecting all other leads in this area of suspects.
He recognized how close- minded and stubborn they were/are.I saw this attitude first hand and it startled me.Just amazing.
He had no faith in them and this attitude remains to this day.Joseph Bates,till his dying day, had a deep antipathy for the RSPDs posture and intransigence.He had good cause.Bless him as he and the family really suffered.He 'died' the day Cheri did.
Murder is a vicious terrible crime and the perps should be heavily punished for cutting off an entire line of possible descendants and emotionally 'killing' the parents and loved ones.Years later they continue to suffer greatly.I have met them -I know.
Poor Joseph grieved and wept for his only daughter for many years-he was never the same.There would be no grandchildren and he could never see or speak to Cheri again.She was the apple of his eye as they say.
I have NO sympathy for murderers at all-zero.

By Mike_Cole (Mike_Cole) ( - on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 08:55 pm:


You said: "How do you completely rule someone out who has been under suspicion for over thirty years..."

I can think of at least two possibilities. (1) Invalid assumption(s). (2) Invalid conclusion(s). I sincerely doubt that RPD has done either of the suggested comparisons. If they had and the results had come back as conclusive non-matches, there would be very little downside to making the information public. The results would directly validate their position without compromising any aspect of it.

Personally, I am troubled by Shumway making a seemingly incontrovertible statement like "They are two different people" without giving any indication for the basis of the statement.

By Ann (Ann) ( - on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 11:44 pm:

Mike, maybe you're right, but note the date of this article. 1999, and at that time, they were awaiting the DNA results which would rule Zodiac in or out in this case.

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 11:53 pm:

Ann, there was nothing in that story to indicate the Riverside police ever intended to compare the DNA to that of the Zodiac. In fact, Det. Shumway's own words indicated otherwise.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, November 01, 2003 - 12:44 am:

Shumway is operating on a 1950s type tired false assumption.
First,since there was so much trauma to her body(RS detective/s said 42 stab wounds-see Cheris' autopsy report-this statement is false) it must have been done by someone she knew and he was so enraged the perp went berserk and was 'paying her back' for rejecting him.
We now know,based on countless forensic serial killer studies(which Shumway doesn't seem to be aware of because of his fixation with B.B. as the local perp-another assumption-it must be a local boy-but it was just the start of the roaming serial killer, Z being an early pioneer)that many of these,well, monsters(for lack of a worse word!),in many cases, repeatedly stab and/ or and beat their victims scores of times and yet, they had NEVER seen or known them before until the abduction!When they fought back the rage only intensified.
Cheri FOUGHT BACK with fury and strength(the ground looked like a plowed field!)and no telling what she said to the prep - he must have become enraged when she clawed him and pulled at his hair,hence,the overkill,as found in her autopsy,etc.
The second erroneous statement was that in the 60's you didn't go anywhere with a stranger,therefore, Cheri Jo had to had to have known her killer.
There are cases then and,of course,later,that prove this assumption(again it is motivated by his theory and obsession it was B.B.)to be wrong.
Many a young woman left with a stranger who appeared 'nice' and wished to 'help,'only to find the decision to go with the person resulted in her death.Yes,in the 60s.
Lots of statements like 'she never went with strangers'-'she would not leave without calling home first'-'she knew better',etc.,yet, they left willingly!
Then there were those,then and now,that were simply forced at gunpoint or by a knife, to go with the killer.
The Confession indicates he knew CB and had attempted to flirt with her(as did many males and even construction workers in '66 as per CBs old friend-they were working on a massive RCC project)but she gave him the "brush off(during the years(pl.) prior in 65/66.
When this same male approached her-whom she had seen before, offering to 'help' her and it was dark -which she had a "great fear" of- and since she couldn't reach her father,she went.
He could have indicted he was an off duty MP at the local AFB (he was wearing military dress shoes)and even made some effort to start the car to show sincerity.She may have seen him talking to that young blonde female in the library ,so this would raise some kind of trust level too.
Kathleen Johns told me she was afraid of strangers,but the man who offered to "help" her 3/22/70'smiled and spoke kindly' to her and even made an attempt to fix her rear wheel,so she went.She had,in her mind,little choice, since her wagon was disabled.
I think CB felt the same way.He used 'gentle coaxing' saying that it was OK as he was going her way too.He looked like a 'young 26-30,clean cut, military man' and this assisted in her trusting him too.
No,CB didn't have to know her killer that well.She was alone and she needed to get a ride home.She "went willingly"the killer typed,down the alley of death.
It happened in the 60s more than once and I posted about a case in S.F. where the perp sabotaged a female students car and came up to offer help and got in the car and attacked her for some two hours!It was in the Shumway 60s!
Their case has been turned down by the RS DAs Office not once ,but twice.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Saturday, November 01, 2003 - 09:03 am:

Based on what I've seen in autopsies, and speaking with the homicide detectives involved with these autopsies, I agree with Howard. There are a myriad of reasons people engage in "overkill." Of course, an emotional attachment to an individual is one of them, but there are others. The influence of certain stimlulant drugs, emotional "triggers" (ie. a victim who "looks" like someone the perpetrator knows), taunting behavior on the part of the victim, the victim refusing perpetrator's advances...

I'd like to see what Bill Baker thinks, as he is the guru on this stuff!

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Saturday, November 01, 2003 - 02:17 pm:

I believe there are already threads discussing "overkill" and everything else with regard to the Bates crime scene.

By Ann (Ann) ( - on Saturday, November 01, 2003 - 06:07 pm:

Well then, the headline seems misleading. I still would have thought that by now they would have made the comparison. I would think there would be pressure to do it. oh well, I hope they get around to it

By A good friend ( - on Sunday, November 02, 2003 - 05:42 pm:

Hello there
I just happen to be best friends with the son of the person you call "Barnett." His son was with him at the time that Barnett was taken into custody at the airport upon returning to the states for the holidays. The assumptions that you people make are completely absurd!!! First of all, hair, saliva, DNA, all that were tested. THEY DID NOT MATCH!!!! How's that for proof. I understand that this women's family wants closure but trying to pin this on an innocent man only causes pain and suffering on another family as well. As far as the comment posted by Riverside Scott, a bit of some more research. He isn't running, he has successful businesses overseas. He lives overseas for business purposes. And as far as talking more, give me a break, he's been cleared of the incident...what more does he need to say? Would you want to continue talking about an incident that nearly ruined your life and caused pain to your family due to comments from people like yourself who did not have all the facts? You have to understand, this was over thirty years ago. They did not have the technology they do today. They wanted to solve the crime. All they had was hear-say. Thank god for today's technology. Hopefully, people like you will stop making assumtions and start looking at the facts so "Barnett" and his family can live in peace.

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Sunday, November 02, 2003 - 06:01 pm:

"A good friend" wrote:

"The assumptions that you people make are completely absurd!!! First of all, hair, saliva, DNA, all that were tested. THEY DID NOT MATCH!!!!"

We are quite aware the DNA did not match. If you would read what is provided at this website, including my latest update on the situation, you would know that I've made that information abundantly clear.

Instead of shooting the messenger, it might be more logical to direct your frustration at the Riverside Police Department. After all, they are the agency focusing on "Barnett."

By Reward ( on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 02:41 am:

Great update Tom!

By Confederate ( - on Monday, November 17, 2003 - 09:12 pm:

A very well-written story Tom. Hope RPD compares the prints and DNA. Please keep us updated.

By NORA O WEST ( - on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 05:03 am:

I sent a tip to the Riverside police and have not received any answer. I also talked to San Francisco police who told me the books I got my information from for my theory were fiction, one of which was Graysmith's Zodiac. I don't wonder that people do not give tips because they will not acknowledge having receive them. My greatest dream would be for the Bates murder to be solved, as a parent my heart breaks for Cheri's dad.

By ( - on Monday, December 01, 2003 - 02:14 pm:

According to, Bob Barnett' was dating a woman named Donna, who was a good friend of Cheri Jo Bates. Howard Davis tells us that the Riverside PD focused on 'Barnett' because they found a number of negative comments about him in Cheri's diary.

It occurs to me that teenage girls tend to vent to their friends. It also seems to me that a lot of that venting has to do with the frustrating quirks and annoying habits of teenage boys. It also occurs to me that I - having dated extensively throughout my teenage years - only rarely got along with my girlfriend's friends.

I suppose that it's possible that 'Barnett's' only crime lay in being a crummy boyfriend, and that Cheri was only taking Donna's side?