Mary Elizabeth Grant -- May 24, 1971 Message Board: Other Possible Zodiac Victims: Mary Elizabeth Grant -- May 24, 1971

By Tom Voigt (Admin) ( - on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 02:58 pm:

San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, May 25, 1971


A woman motorist escaped uninjured early
yesterday after he car was hit by 17 bullets fired
by a "horribly insane looking" gunman.

Mary Elizabeth Grant, 36, of Flagstaff, Ariz.,
said the shooting took place about 3 a.m. during
a high-speed chase on the Cabrillo Highway, five
miles north of Watsonville.

The bullets were .22 caliber causing police
to speculate that the gunman could be the same man
who killed Karen Ann Signore, 21, a hitchhiker in
Santa Barbara two weeks ago.

Mrs. Grant said she was driving to the home of
friends in Watsonville when she passed an old, light
colored Ford sedan parked along the highway. The car started up
and followed her, almost bumper-to-bumper, she said. It
occurred to her that the driver might be in trouble, she said, and
so she stopped and rolled down the window.

"He looked in the window," she said, "and he
had the most horribly insane looking face I've ever
seen." Mrs. Grant said she gunned her car and "got out
of there."

But the man pursued her and started shooting,
she said, until she took the Watsonville turnoff.
She arrived at the police station with a flat tire
and 17 bullet holes in the back of her car.

Mrs. Grant descibed the sniper as being in his
30s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and with light brown

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 03:46 pm:

Man this guy was EVERYWHERE.
Peter, is this your Karen?

By obiwan (Obiwan) ( - on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 06:30 pm:

Is Cabrillo Highway the same as Hw. 1 here? If so, the location of this attack is amost exactly due south of Mt. Diablo.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 10:24 pm:

Hmm... 17 bullets, a .22, and Santa Barbara. Sounds like it could have been Z to me (especially considering "the most horribly insane looking face" bit).

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 11:06 am:




For years, I thought so,too. I have had a pretty thorough discussion of this with Bill Baker, who I believe is convinced of the 1963 beach killing as Z, but not Karen.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 01:57 pm:

Peter, how about fill in the blanks if you're going to refer to something? Karen? Maybe details are elsewhere on the board 'cause they sure aren't here.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 04:15 pm:


In the summer of 1968, Karen Anne-Marie Signore (mentioned in Tom's lead article above) and I drove from Westport, Connecticut, where we had graduated High School in the spring, to California, where we were going to college. She at UCSB, I at Pomona, in Claremont. We were very close in High School. We remained close, hitching up and down the coast highway together, reading about Z, and Kerouac, seeing much of what was going on in that strange part of the world at the time, until sometime in 1970, I don't know exactly when.

On May 10, 1971, Karen left her apartment in Isla Vista to hitch to a friend's house in Santa Barbara, up in the hills, I believe Coyote Canyon.
She got a ride somewhere in the lower area of the canyon road. Whoever picked her up shot her eight times, .22 lr, and left her in the road. No sexual contact. Her purse, intact, was found on the road a little farther up the canyon.

She was found soon after she was shot by someone who transported her to the hospital in Santa Barbara. She was partially conscious, able to say "He shot me". But not to give a description. Her rescuer I believe got a description on the probable perp car, which he observed just before finding Karen. I am trying to find some old email from Det Baker on this, to confirm details, but I believe the description would match the "old, light colored ford sedan" in the related story above.

Karen died in surgery.

Det. Bill Baker investigated the case. Despite what I know to be his dedicated and concerted professional efforts, it was never solved.

For years, I was sure this was a Z crime, since it matched some others -- right down to physical profile of the victims -- that were being attributed to Z at the time. Perhaps the Santa Rosa coeds? In any event, I started researching Z a couple of years ago specifically to find out if Karen was really a Z victim. Since conferring with Det Baker a couple of years a go, I do not believe she was.

By obiwan (Obiwan) ( - on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 09:54 pm:

Peter that is extremely moving & sad; thank you for sharing that.

Tom: Any chance you would be interested in tracking down Mrs. Grant & showing her photos of the suspects?

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, August 26, 2002 - 10:55 am:

Thanks, Obiwan. I hope det. Baker still visits the site occassionally, as I believe his email link is no longer active. I wonder if a ballistics match was ever done between Karen and Ms. Grant's car.

BTW, Det. Baker assures me that although the ammo type i Karen's killing was 22 lr, the weapon type was significantly different from Z's.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 11:48 pm:

Obiwan, the idea of finding a "Mary Grant" exhausts me...there has to be a billion of them. But maybe.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 09:58 am: lists only two in Arizona, both in Mesa. May be only one.


How about starting with Det. Baker? If law enforcement really connected Karen and Grant, there may also be ballistics comparisons and the like he would know of. His memory is impressive.

By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 03:42 pm: lists two people named Mary E. Grant in Flagstaff, AZ, both 67 years of age (it's probably only one, but with a repetition). I don't have an address or phone number because I didn't want to spend the $9.95.

I did a search over at the Arizona Daily Sun's webpage (Flagstaff's newspaper), and found an obituary of the man who may have been Mary Elizabeth Grant's son. If so, then she remarried someone with the last name Douglas. The man who may be her son was born in Salinas, California (near Watsonville), and moved to Flagstaff the year of his birth (1950). Here's a link:


By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, August 29, 2002 - 05:24 am:


Good job. The age is exactly correct. What are the odds that there is a Mary E. Grant of the right age in Flag who is not the same one in the story? Doubt the ID of the son, though: Mom would have only been 15 at his birth.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Monday, September 02, 2002 - 01:37 am:

Peter, Don't let the age of 15 fool you.I had three children by the age of 18.I was married at 15.I don't recommend doing this at 15! In the 50's this was not that unusual in some small towns in Calif.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Monday, September 02, 2002 - 02:10 am:

Z used two different 9mil. on Darlene and Stine,why not two 22's ? Even the knives he used,if he was the Riverside killer were not the same. Two men from Anarbor Mich.were on a killing spree along the cost of Calif.about the same time as Z, Diaz and John Collins.They would take one earring from the victims.The trailside killer used the same m.o.Diaz and Collins were caught long before trailside.I thought some of the Santa Rosa victims had one earring missing also? I believe Z was a copy cat killer,so some of his victims may have had earrings taken. Peter, do you know if your friend had any jewelry missing?

By J Eric (J_Eric) ( - on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 09:53 pm:

Some things do not appear to add up on this one. Cabrillo Highway runs several miles west of Watsonville in this area. How does the driver, our suspected Z, race along the highway, keeping an eye out for other traffic and still be able to fire 17 bullets into Mrs. Grant's car? I've said it before: don't even think they had 22's back then that could be loaded with more than 10 bullets at a time to be fired on auto or semi-auto mode. How does Z reload?

Time of day is not given. But there's a problem of why Mrs. Grant did not stop for help before getting to the Watsonville Police Station. Getting off Cabrillo, one must travel about a mile most likely on Beach Blvd. past warehouses ("drink your apple a day") and some homes and stores. Ever try to even FIND the Watsonville Police Station? Ain't easy!!

From someone who knows the area...

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 05:04 pm:

J Eric,It took place at 3am not too many people on the roads at that time. I for one have been on a Hy. at 3am with a car riding my bumper,I wished that someone else would see what was going on. I had to tap my breaks,to make him back off and that would only help for a minute. This went on for about 5min.and I didn 't see other cars, So it is possible no one saw this happen,and that the man shooting at Mrs. Grant had more than one 22 on his front seat to shoot,or someone sitting very low in the car (Who she did not see) reloaded for him. The MO missing in Mrs. Grants incident was the horn honking and lights flashing.

By J Eric (J_Eric) ( - on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 10:31 pm:

Sandy, thanks for the time element. Makes more sense that Mrs. Grant would not have found any phone or assistance til getting into downtown Watsonville. Maybe the perp had a customized loader for his gun that would have held more bullets--they just weren't common back then. Or maybe as you say...

I was driving past midnight on a narrow mountain road between Coalinga and Hollister when I picked up a car which began to tailgate me. Suddenly a bright light was beamed out its window into my truck and also into the surrounding woods. Acted like police but I wasn't about to stop. Figured the guy was either jacklighting deer or trying for me, in either case he had to be armed. Fooled him 'cuz I know that particular road real well: just kept speeding (35 mph!) around hairpin curves, up, down hills, etc. Finally I outran him--he suddenly seemed to stop or just vanish like a phantom, to my great satisfaction. This happened in the 90's, so probably not The Original Mr. Z.--unless you believe he is still out there haunting San Benito County. A very scary ride!!!