Results of the May 2002 Riverside expedition Message Board: Possible Zodiac Victim Cheri Jo Bates: Results of the May 2002 Riverside expedition

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Friday, May 10, 2002 - 01:01 pm:

As Sandy posted in another thread, Ed, Sandy, Howard and I have returned from our few days in Riverside.

IMHO, the highlight was exploring the interior of Cheri Jo's house at 4195 Via San Jose. I can't believe it has changed at all since 1966, right down to the paint. It was like going back in time.

By Judy (Judy) ( - on Friday, May 10, 2002 - 01:46 pm:

Tom, any new developments?


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 12:04 am:

Sandy and I left the Bay Area early Tuesday afternoon and drove past Highway 132/Maze Road, where I pointed out the Arco at Chrisman Road (now a Unocal) that figured in Kathleen Johns' abduction, then drove over to Bird Road where her car was found burned. We continued on to Riverside and stopped in the San Fernando Valley to gas up for the last leg of the journey, and watched in passing a scene from Terminator III being filmed (no, Arnie wasn't there, or at least was not apparent when we drove by).

We arrived in Riverside in the early evening and met Howard at the Budget Inn on University Avenue. Tom arrived later that night, and we discussed the case into the wee hours; I was the last to hit the sack (it was after 2 AM). Surprisingly, I was the second one up on Wednesday. We stopped at the Chamber of Commerce to locate Hardman Center and Sandy's (5200 Arlington Avenue), the place where Cheri Jo Bates ate her last breakfast; it became a Denny's in later years, but has since closed and is now vacant. We had hoped to have breakfast there, but had to locate another restaurant. Sandy's was just a few blocks from the Bates' residence at 4195 Via San Jose, and also a short distance from Ramona High School. We ended up having brunch at the Outlaw Coffee Shop (3607 10th Street if anyone ever gets there; the Outlaw Burger is awesome, almost as good as Geezer's Burger Mess).

Afterwards, we headed towards Riverside Community College and I showed the others where I figured CJB's body was found, between the A.G. Paul Quadrangle and the new building being constructed by Terracina and Magnolia. Shortly after we got there, we were interviewed by a reporter from the Press Enterprise, but I don't know when the story will be out. After that, Tom spoke with a librarian who was at RCC in 1966, who was positive that the library annex always closed at 6 PM and not 9 PM. If it was not open late the evening of 10-30-1966, then the supposed hour and a half between it's closing and CJB's murder grows to at least four and a half hours. We're not sure what to make of that yet; perhaps it was open three hours later just that one day for students studying for an exam or something similar.

Meanwhile, Howard and I spotted an elderly gentleman who looked like he might have worked there for a while. We spoke with him, and discovered that he started at RCC in 1966, around the time that CJB did, and he remembered it like it happened yesterday; he remarked that he went to school at Ramona too, like CJB. He told us the police had roped the whole area off when he arrived that morning, and indicated that her body was found just beyond the quadrangle, where some years back I figured it was. He pointed out where the old library annex was; it's located in the quadrangle, in the art area (right around room 144). It appears to have had a wall added, and the western part of the old annex is now an art gallery. He also mentioned that the Black Student Union used one of the abandoned buildings near where CJB's body was found, a little detail that no one else seems to have discovered.

Sandy perused the old Tiger Times and yearbooks and turned up two pictures of Dennis Highland, Cheri Jo's boyfriend. She also located an aerial photograph of RCC from ca. 1966.

Howard and I rounded up Tom and Sandy, and headed to the old annex. We probably weren't supposed to, but we turned on the lights and stepped inside the gallery; it was eerie being inside part of the old library where CJB was shortly before her murder.

We drove back towards the Bates' residence, but it was getting late, and so we drove to the southern end of Riverside where Howard had discovered the existence of a Zodiac Drive! There are eleven other streets there, all named after the signs of the zodiac, except for (obviously) cancer. Who'd want to live in Cancer Court? The homes looked relatively new, and had not yet been built in 1966. We drove back to 4195 Via San Jose, but it was too dark to take any pictures.

That evening, we stopped by Art's Bar & Grill (3357 University Avenue) for drinks, and retired to the Budget Inn. We didn't stay up as late that night, and continued talking about various aspects of the case. Howard, Tom and I even talked about graphology and reverse speech, and that got interesting!

Howard had to leave early the next morning, but we all had breakfast at Art's before he left. Tom, Sandy and I drove back out to the Bates' residence, and Tom spoke with one of the people who lived there, who invited us in to look around. He and his father rented the house, and mentioned that he'd received a letter with no return address some six months ago, and the author had written about how someone who once lived there was murdered by the Zodiac. He hadn't really heard about the case or CJB at the time, and figured it was addressed to the wrong place, and so threw it away! Oh, well. It was weird being in that house, and I'm glad we had the chance to go inside and check it out.

That was pretty much all we had planned to do, and so we headed to Tuxies (6030 Magnolia Avenue), a burger place that was established in 1951 that we had passed several times by then. Tom opined that Cheri Jo almost certainly had to have eaten there, and I had to agree. It looked like it hadn't changed all that much since the 50's. While Tom got a rental car, Sandy and I went to the assessor's office, where I got ahold of some maps which showed the old property lines on Terracina to see if I could pinpoint exactly where 3680 and 3692 Terracina was, between which CJB's body was found.

We met up with Tom again and said our goodbyes, and he headed for home. Sandy and I stopped by the library for some book-oriented research for an hour and a half, and finally headed back to the Bay Area after the library closed at 6 PM.

All in all, it was a most productive weekend, and I know we all had a blast. Tom, Howard and I took a lot of photographs, and I'll be posting some of those I took. I ran out of room on my digital camera, and got a disposable camera to record the rest of the trip. I used the low resolution setting to take as many pictures as possible, so some of them are not as sharp as I'd like, but the other camera's pictures should be OK.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 12:08 am:

P.S. Since I work weekends, Tuesday through Thursday is my "weekend." I meant to say, "It was a most productive two days."

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 07:41 am:

Ed, my understanding is that Cheri did her studying at the main library; the "annex" was the building in whose driveway her body was found. There's nothing to my knowledge that would indicate she spent any time at all in that building.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 08:28 am:

One of the things Sandy ran across in the 1966 Tiger Times was a story about the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, where it was estimated to be completed in the next year or so. It was finally finished in 1968, according to the plaque by the entrance. Thus, CJB could not have studied in a building that was still under construction.

Also, I discovered that the A.G. Paul Quadrangle was built in two stages: the eastern section, which was built in 1950, and the western section, completed in 1970. The older section was where the library annex was; both the librarian that Tom spoke with, and the elderly gentleman Howard and I spoke with, told us that independently of each other. There were also a number of mostly abandoned houses along Terracina and Fairfax which were torn down shortly thereafter to make room for a parking lot; the newspaper accounts specifically state that she was found between 3680 and 3692 Terracina, and her death certificate states she was found at 3680. As far as I can determine, 3680 was the first of the abandoned houses, right by the quadrangle, so she was murdered a couple of hundred feet west of the library.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 04:39 pm:


You are absolutely one of the best Z "documentarians" in the world. It would certainly behoove the next writer who attempts to pen a book about this case to contact you as a technical advisor. Obviously, you probably already know that I’ll hire you if I ever get the funds to visually tell the story myself. For my part, I'll guarantee all the heart pounding, emotional, and psychological drama/horror that I can muster.

If I were able to make this story into a film, preferably a "docudrama," I'd want to capture the sheer terror that I felt the first time that I read Graysmith's Zodiac. Personally, if done correctly, I feel that it would be one of the most frightening films of all time; right up there with Jaws and The Exorcist.

Anyway, job well done my friends. I can't wait to see the pictures and hear/discuss all of your findings in more detail. One of these days, you'll be forced to rent a bigger car because you'll have a 6'10", 280lb., lug sittin' along side you!


By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 04:43 pm:

Ed(our in- house historian)that was an excellent account of the trip!
Getting into the same area that CJB spent her last night on earth was an unusual experience.Tom is an excellent locksmith!The door was unlocked,in spite of a security sign nearby!
As Ed mentioned,a Mr.Bushman, told us that Cheri was killed right next to the Black Student Union building.I asked a question of the Zroup-and it was only a question.Was the killer(if he was Zodiac,as I believe)trying to throw the blame on a black student by attacking Bates right next to the black Union building?Of course,it was found early on in the investigation,that due to analysis of the skin/hair from the killer found under Bates' nails, this would have been an impossible deduction!No need for 'Southern expressions'as Tom joked, in the 11/29/66 typed letter!Certainly the killer wasn't planning on leaving hair and skin samples behind that night.It was only a question stimulated by the discovery of the fact about the proximity of the Union house to her murder and where her body was found.
We discussed the fact that there were two sets of footprints leading from Cheri's car, both of which, continued in a parallel pattern right up to the "plowed dirt" area of her final sruggle for life.This could indicate that she was not forced or dragged in some manner into the alley.Since the killers car was probably parked on Riverside Dr.,he was leading her away from his car and offer of a "lift"home and ,to me, his goal was to get into that alley to kill her(the writer of the typed letter was obsessed with 'alleys')as he supposedly said"It's about time"while they were walking in the alley.
The fact it was nearing Halloween,a holiday,the military ,the 'water connections'-Riverside College/city and Riverside Dr.,was Zodiac.See past posts on Cheri Jo.It was great to see and talk to the Z group about this complicated and mysterious case-great fellowship too.It has renewed my interest in the case.I have been on it since '87 -I need revival now and Zen!

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 05:03 pm:

"We discussed the fact that there were two sets of footprints leading from Cheri's car, both of which, continued in a parallel pattern right up to the 'plowed dirt' area . . ."

Excellent, Howard. What were the sizes of these footprints?

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, May 14, 2002 - 10:17 am:

Douglas: The story is entitled "RCC Library Plans Near Completion" by Cheryl Halterman (Tiger Times, late 1966; we didn't get the exact date, I guess that means another trip to Riverside!). It states that the library would begin construction in the spring of 1967 with the approval of the Riverside Junior District Board of trustees, estimated to be completed within 1.5 to 2 years. Since the plaque by the entrance to the Martin Luther King Jr. library states it was completed in 1968, they must have finished construction on schedule.

Since that appears to be the case, the only thing I can figure is that the 1966 library in the A.G. Paul Quadrangle was referred to as the "library annex" only after the MLKJr library was finished two years later (since it was no longer the main library), and eventually became the art gallery and classroom as we see it in 2002.

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Tuesday, May 14, 2002 - 01:43 pm:

Howard, I didn't notice it when I met you in person but in that picture of you with Ed in front of the Press-Enterprise your face closely resembles the Lake Berryessa composite..... I know you told me you were trippin' at a Grateful Dead concert on that date so it couldn't be you...

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, May 14, 2002 - 05:16 pm:

The shoes were a military dress shoe(beause of analysis of the heel print) or shiney in appearance such as KJ described.I have a copy of this heel print.They were "size 8-10."I think the killer wore military dress shoes to trick Bates into thinking he was a military person such as an MP.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, May 14, 2002 - 05:39 pm:

No,I told you I killed some chickens out at the Lake Tahoe 9/27/69(or was that 9/6/70-I forgot),so I was never near LB!
The photos were taken with Toms toss camera and it added pounds and the guy at the lake appearance-poor pictures!
I look like the composite only when I do my research thing the rest of the time I look entirely different-if you don't use a toss camera!
Tom stopped and asked me if I had seen anyone with a camera and I directed Tom to a guy waving cameras in the store and he peeled rubber to find them,but was unable to and I walked to my car never to be seen again.
It was only half a joke as I did direct Tom to a store so he could purchase a camera like mine-he had to have a 'good' camera like I had(Global Flash Camera-$6.95!),so I told him to go in the store and turn to the left and he would find a camera.Well, even though he is a hell of a good researcher he came back empty handed!

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 - 03:24 pm:

A couple more tidbits that we dug up in Riverside: Graysmith mentions something about an Air Force man being passed in an alley parallel to Magnolia by a light green Volkswagen, and that it was east of the "Sherri Lynn apartments" (Zodiac, p. 165). It was, in reality, called the Shelly-Lynn Apartments at 4710 Magnolia, according to the September 1966 Riverside telephone directory.

Another thing is that while The Press and The Enterprise might have been two separate newspapers in 1966, they actually shared the same physical address and phone numbers: 3512 14th Street, 684-1200. It was referred to as the "Press Enterpise Company."

Joseph Bates' name, address and phone number were all listed in the phone book as well.

By Tony (Mahalo) ( - on Saturday, May 18, 2002 - 07:05 am:

Z was good with listed phone #'s. He gave GOOD phone.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 03:27 pm:

Looking at the boyfriend or local boy connection as proposed by the RPD afresh;I still see the killer going through a lot of trouble rendering CJBs car unusable and wearing full military dress shoes,as demonstrated by the kind of shoe prints that were found as a possible added deception when ,in reality,they supposedly already knew each other!
Everything about that whole situation,shows me,in my opinion,that the perp was someone she didn't know well(perhaps he did try to get her attention in the past, but really was 'brushed off')and that he HAD to go through the steps he did to get her in the alley.
If it was someone she knew he could have easily found a way to speak with her and to kill her.He could have said that 'something very important(maybe involving someone they both knew or whatever) has come and I must talk to you meet me at the park or whatever.'I know the arguements;but it just gives the appearance of someone she hardly knew and the perp had to go hoops to get her to that death alley.
He may have told her he was an 'off-duty MP' at the local AFB base.Those shiney military dress shoes and military Timex(if it was even distinguished as one by Bates-the perp may have still tried to give some military trappings to his persona to deceive her,just as the perp did with Johns).
The Confession letter indicates(if it be accepted as being written by the actual killer) that he only tried to get to know her,but was paying her back for the "brush offs"of the past.Note also, he said that "She was THEN[in light of the disabled car and her need of help] very WILLING to TALK to me."This detail was unnecessary to relate, if the writer was only trying to take responsibility for a murder he did not commit.It does indicate she would not "talk" to him in the past, even though he tried to speak with her.The letter is full,like Zs later missives ,of excessive details.FYI.