Kathleen Johns Police Report

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Other Possible Zodiac Victims: Kathleen Johns: Kathleen Johns Police Report

By Aubrey Jackson (Aubrey) (spider-mtc-te071.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 12:52 pm:

I just got an email from Tom saying that he has all three police reports on the Kathleen Johns episode. He says that only one is posted on this site because the others are almost unreadable, though they are all contradictory.

Tom, I was wondering, if the police reports contradict each other, this certainly casts suspicion on the various police departments involved. But what makes you suspicious of Kathleen herself?

By Aubrey Jackson (Aubrey) (spider-mtc-te071.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 12:56 pm:

Sorry, re-reading Tom's section on Johns, I now see the answer. But I am confused by police reports referenced by Jake on his site which, according to him, state that KJ was threatened by her abductor.

By Jake (Jake) (spider-tm061.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 02:26 pm:

Aubrey, forgive my laziness in reproducing my response to your email:

My site quotes a San Joaquin County Sheriff-Coroner's Office report as saying that Johns was frightened by the man, not threatened. There's a difference in terms of whether the man committed a crime: threatening someone is against the law, and constitutes a form of assault, but frightening someone is a lot more subjective and can be done innocently.

I have two of the reports -- from San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties -- and they describe pretty much the same sequence of events. Johns herself has made some contradictory statements over the years, which is probably where the confusion came from.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Tom Wescott (Tom_Wescott) (ip68-0-93-225.tu.ok.cox.net - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 09:05 pm:

Hello all,

In considering the events as related by Kathleen Johns we must look first at her original relation of the incident in which her abductor was in no way threatening. In fact, it was only until well into their drive that she became alarmed. She also describes her break from her captor as occuring when he came to a stop sign, enabling her to jump free. In later re-tellings she states that he NEVER came to a stop and she was only able to escape when he went wrong-way up an exit.
Referring once again to the police report we find Johns' abductor merely closing the door after her and driving away, this followed by Johns stopping a motorist and explaining the incident, they then taking her to a local precinct. In later renditions her escape is dramatised considerably with her 'attacker' leaving his vehicle to pursue her, only to give up when a trucker stops. Johns then allegedly waits with the trucker until a female motorist passes by.
Unfortunately, the report made available to us by Tom does not detail the damage done to her car, so we do not have that to consider.
What becomes obvious here is that, at some point, Kathleen Johns was not telling the truth. Perhaps she never was. And if Johns was lying, we have to ask ourselves 'why'. The first thing I would look at is her financial situation at the time and how much she stood to gain from the insurance on her car. But would she create such an elaborate lie, and possibly invoke the wrath of the Zodiac killer to meet this end? What disturbs me most is her report that the attacker coaxed her into coming with him by cunningly disabling her car. If Johns did fabricate her story, then she was quite familiar with the details of Cheri Jo Bates' murder and the killer's M.O.. But if that is the case, then HOW is she familiar? And if we come to the conclusion that she fabricated the story, what would she stand to gain, if not money? She certainly did not seem interested in public attention. We must also consider that if the incident never happened why did the author of the Zodiac letters make mention of it? It is very unlikely that he came across the obscure newspaper article on it.
Weighing everything of what little we presently know in the balance, we cannot dismiss the possibility that Kathleen Johns knows more about the Zodiac killings than she is letting on.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-ntc-ta073.proxy.aol.com - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 10:31 pm:

Very interesting post, you've touched upon many things I've pondered as well. Johns came from San Bernadino, about 15 minutes from Riverside, so she certainly could have read about the Bates murder.
Frankly one thing I've always thought bizarre is the heavy connection between the Riverside area and the Bay area. CJB, Cecilia, KJ all come from the Riverside area, Mageau winds up just streets away from the Shepard family years later.
I don't know what the odds of all this are but they have to be slim.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc21d5e.ipt.aol.com - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 11:10 pm:

Tom W: there was a story that appeared in the Examiner the next day, which I copied and which appears on Jake's site (at least it used to if it's not there now). While the Modesto Bee story was certainly obscure except to the locals, the Examiner story was read by many in the Bay Area.

By Tom Wescott (Tom_Wescott) (ip68-0-93-225.tu.ok.cox.net - on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 11:38 pm:


Thank you for bringing the Examiner article to my attention. I will seek that out.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott

By Jake (Jake) (spider-mtc-tg031.proxy.aol.com - on Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 08:43 am:

Oh, it's still there -- linked from the "Photo Album" page.


By Tom Wescott (Tom_Wescott) (ip68-0-93-225.tu.ok.cox.net - on Monday, May 13, 2002 - 05:31 pm:

Jake and Ed,

I went and checked out the Examiner story on Jake's impressive site. This version seems to be a hybrid between her original story to the police as detailed in the report on this site, and the story she told years later. However, my numerous experiences comparing newspaper reports to known facts has taught me that such articles aren't always to be trusted, although newspapers are a valuable source of new information since competitive papers, in their eagerness to show the other up, are often able to unearth information that the police had overlooked.
The significance of this Examiner article, though, as I'm sure you're already aware, is not in what it reports but that it proves the Johns incident/story was not so secret after all.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-43.linkline.com - on Friday, May 17, 2002 - 12:05 am:

Tom W.,
The real point is that Zodiac did NOT acknowledge the "interesting ride" until about four months later!
When I and a detective interviewed Johns ,she said that she was 'overwrought with emotion' by the time she reached that little hick station.When she gazed up and saw the Zodiac composite she "screamed" that he was the man who abducted them!McNatt told her it was the Zodiac killer,but it meant nothing to her as she did not know about his "Thing".She became really fearful because of the old guys fearful reaction and his fear Zodiac might come to the station!Brave guy!She was seven months pregnant(many times hormonal factors can accenuate emotion due to serotonin/dopamine response,etc.) with a baby,tired and hungry and left by the cowardly old red neck lawman in a darkened deserted restaurant a good part of the night.She had no food for herself or the baby or diapers for the infant as they were left in the car.
These dullard oakies didn't want the Fed boys millin' around on a kidnap.They wanted the kidnap to be down ticked to just a young 'hippy' woman (and that's what they thought of her)that took a ride with a so-called 'stranger.'Read ol' boy Lovett's wordage about whether or not it was a kidnap!McNatt is a little more direct as he saw Johns in hysterics at the station.
They showed her nothing but disrespect (big shock!)and were very unprofessional, to say the least.I got info on these guys from a detective that knew them.She tried to tell them later about the drivers threats and how he kept repeating that he was 'going to kill her' and that he wanted 'to throw her baby out the window.'And his statement-after she sarcastically told him sometime into the drive 'do you always go around helping people like this?'-that when he is finished,he said in a monotone, with people that he helped they don't need any more help!
She told me that she was young and didn't read the papers or watched/listened to the news ,so she knew nothing about the Zodiac -or Cheri Bates for that matter!
I blame the police reporting and the fact that she ,no doubt ,was filled with emotion and did not remember every detail or sequence of events,as is demanded by some cold hardcore Zodiac researcher sitting in a stuffed chair behind the computer!Picture perfect testimony they demand.Well,many are not, due to mental/emotional trauma,etc.At one point in our interview ,she had to stop when she was describing the abduction ,as her eyes were filled with tears and her voice was choked with emotion.
As for the car ,it was found about two miles from where she was stopped and the interior had been burned.It was still smoldering when the cops found it.The zokie that went to the car or station wagon,said that he 'had a cold",so he could not tell if gasoline was used to torch the car!Oh me!One of the hubcaps(the one from the right rear tire) was found and latents were supposedly taken,but I have not been successful in obtaining them.
Johns said that she lost a lot of baby clothes and other items,etc.I believe she was abducted by Zodiac,but that is only my opinion.
The full moon,military dress shoes and appearance, short dark brown hair as seen by Harnell in daylight,horn rimmed glasses,resemblance to the poster,Zs public acknowledgment,monotone voice,around the time of the Vernal Equinox,etc.,leads me to conclude that it was Zodiac.My opinion only.
I believe that if the Halloween card she was sent in Oct.'70 by the abductor, was preserved ,it may have assisted her account,but doubts would still remain.
Toss your hat with the red necks -I prefer not to!

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - on Friday, May 17, 2002 - 03:25 pm:

Tom W.,
Also,some people did pick KJ up that night and took her to the so-called run down police station.The trucker never gave her a ride so he wasn't mentioned.They evidently didn't want to report the short 'chase' into the field as this would make it a kidnap for sure!KJ told us she was too busy running and clutching Jennifer and she was too filled with fear to know exactly what the stranger was doing,but she knew he was not far behind and he called out to her as she was on the gound.She was trying to keep the baby quiet.
What was amazing to her as she looked back, was the fact that the child would normally cry at anything.She felt 'Someone was looking out for her and the child' that night.She said this with great emotion.
I spoke to her friend,a nurse, some time later and she told me she and Johns have discussed the episode in detail over the years.She feels that her friend has told the truth.She has never tried to make a lot of money from the case and has spent countless hours with people that had questions about the event and never(as she told us)expected any money.She was just trying to help as she wants the case solved.Her friend told us that KJ knows some don't believe her, but it did happen.

By Tom Wescott (Tom_Wescott) (ip68-0-93-225.tu.ok.cox.net - on Friday, May 17, 2002 - 08:09 pm:


I appreciate all of the information, and I'm sure everyone appreciates the vast amount of work you've put into this case. However, you degrade the value of her 'Zodiac' identification by saying that she was hysterical when she saw the portrait. Do you mean to say that she retracts that original identification? Also, I simply don't see it as possible that a woman of her age, living in that area at that time had never heard of Zodiac.
As far as the evidence, if forced to choose between police reports taken when the event was fresh or Johns' impressions 25 years later, I'm sure you can understand why people would be concerned about the discrepancies and prefer to accept the police reports as fact. You do make a compelling argument, however. Nevertheless, from what I understand, Johns has 'identified' at least two different men as her abductor, including your favored suspect (yes, I have your book and enjoyed it much!). To my mind this not only renders her 'identification' at this point worthless, which would generally be the case for any witness after this length of time; but this must cast a little doubt on her all-around credibility. That being said, I haven't spoken with the woman face to face, and you have, which puts you at an advantage. It certainly is a shame that those latents from the hubcaps haven't survived.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott

By Tom Wescott (Tom_Wescott) (ip68-0-93-225.tu.ok.cox.net - on Friday, May 17, 2002 - 08:11 pm:


I also wanted to draw your attention to a post I made a few days ago regarding an observation of mine as to the Gaul 'Zodiac' letter. It's under the Gaul/Sharp threat in 'Other Victims'. Since you're the expert on this aspect of the case, I'd like to get your take on it.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-150.linkline.com - on Friday, May 17, 2002 - 11:27 pm:

Tom W.,
I still affirm that KJ saw the wanted Z poster and even though she was upset she was able to ID the man who abducted her and Jennifer(who now has her own child-it was a thrill to meet her)and state to the old"officer"that the face on the poster matched that of the stranger who was driving the terror car.The officer had asked her what the man looked like and she was amazed to see his likeness on the wanted poster!
She told me she did not watch or read the news as she had no interest in the news.I knew people that had no interest in such things-especially serial killers!As a mater of fact,I am constantly amazed at the complete lack of knowledge displayed by people on the street when asked even simple questions about some news event or famous person.She may have heard of Z,but was just trying to survive at the time.She was a hippy of sorts and I am certain those red necks could not stand her (as she has told her friend)and believed the guy or suspect,'picked her up' and things got ugly ,in their narrow view,so he dropped her off,etc.
Kathy told me they were not really interested in what she had to say and besides, they certainly did not want the public to find out how badly they treated her that evening and most of the next day.Today it would have been a big law suit.
Thank you for the nice comments,but I am sure you know we are all working together to make some difference in the case.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-150.linkline.com - on Friday, May 17, 2002 - 11:32 pm:

Tom W.,
I will check out the Gaul/Sharp post.My schedule is pretty erratic at times and I miss posts.Sorry.The hubcap latents did survive,but I can't find out anything about them.A detective friend of mine could not find out anything either.

By Zander Kite (Zk) (a010-0010.stbg.splitrock.net - on Saturday, May 18, 2002 - 08:14 am:

I'd like to know more about the "deadpan" eyes description. "Deadpan" eyes or "shark" eyes are noticed in some serial killers, though not necessarily noticeable in most, and does not seem to be a detail that someone faking a serial killer abduction would include. The best "shark" eyes I have seen are T. Kaczynski and R. Woodfield.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-88.linkline.com - on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 - 12:28 am:

KJ indicated that when the driver looked at her(which was a few times) he had a blank stare or that his eyes were lifeless.His voice was flat with no real animation-it sounded automatic or mechanistic,no highs or lows.Theres that Zodiac monotone.He kept repeating the same statement over and over,which was 'you know I am going to kill you' or 'I want to toss the baby out' or words to this effect.
All of this, coupled with the driver pulling over to the side of the road at times and then driving on,it became a terrifying ordeal.Kathleen had to think of her baby and the fact she was seven months pregnant-jumping out at the dead of night in the middle of a strange and lonely area, was a difficult decision;but when he had stopped at one point she told him that she was "going to be sick"and this gave her some precious seconds ,as he knew she was pregnant and probably was "sick," or had to expectorate right there,so he hesitated at first as she got out of the car.
As she looked back she told me that he was somewhat taken aback after seeing that she was pregant and holding a child!He couldn't see her condition or the baby while she was in the car and she noted his reaction-if it could be called that,when she got out and picked the baby up from the wagon.
She will never forget those eyes though!For some deadpan eyes see Davis in the suspect section.
That was one of the things that caused her to say he looked like the man who was driving.It was the first guy she picked since Kane and this after seeing many mug shots of suspects!She 'officially' has selected Larry Kanes photo as the man who drove that night;so to have her show a positive response to our guy was interesting.

By Tony (Mahalo) (hnllhi1-ar1-4-65-051-246.hnllhi1.dsl-verizon.net - on Thursday, May 23, 2002 - 10:10 pm:

Dead-pan eyes & mono tone while threating someone with their life must be a terrifying experience. One you would not forget. So abnormal to the kind of normal anger or threats we may have seen from a volatile situation in our lives. I've met a couple individuals with these characteristics in my life & was always left with a chill not easily forgotten. Patterson, Ca. is in the middle of NOWHERE as you dip into the Central Valley on I-5 going south(Riverside?) and reeks of aggies & rednecks. Some of them turn out to be cops. I love Calif. but for all its hipness & cutting edge tech, the state is full of people with raciest, old school beliefs. Did you know that Santa Rosa was a recluse for many civil war confederate war criminals after the war? It's in the towns history if you care to research. Kinda like So. America was for the Nazis. I went to school with many offspring to this type and was continually disgusted.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (87.philadelphia08rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 03:36 am:

I love Calif. but for all its hipness & cutting edge tech, the state is full of people with raciest, old school beliefs.

You mean liberals, right?

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-110.bos.east.verizon.net - on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 07:21 am:

Doug: I don't think so. In the American dialect "Raciest" means "most racy", i.e. an obvious reference to those loose Hollywood/USC/UCLA/Pomona College morals.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 07:50 am:

Similarly, "old school beliefs" no doubt means antiquated beliefs from one's school.

By Tom Wescott (Tom_Wescott) (ip68-0-93-225.tu.ok.cox.net - on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 07:38 pm:

'Old School Beliefs'? What's wrong with that? Hopefully, the old adage is true that 'everything old is new again', because the only place the new school' seems to be getting us is in trouble.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott

P.S. It looks like we've ventured a bit off topic. :)

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (158.philadelphia08rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Friday, May 24, 2002 - 08:10 pm:

Agreed, Tom, on both points.