Did Kathleen make up her story for an insurance scam?

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Other Possible Zodiac Victims: Kathleen Johns: Did Kathleen make up her story for an insurance scam?

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 11:36 am:

I hate to admit this, but I was a claims examiner for both Triple A and Fireman's fund insurance companies, for many years back in the 1980's.
I was "programmed" to spot an insurance scam when I see one! If Kathleen received or attempted to receive an insurance settlement for her car being torched, I would immediately suspect fraud!
Why was that car torched?
Why after riding around with the Zodiac for hours
does she keep changing her picks on suspect photos? One day it's Kane the next it's Davis.
You would be amazed at the elaborate scams I saw in my day!
If insurance is involved here, I think the entire story was made up, reported to the police, picked up by the media, and taken credit for by Zodiac, just like he did the "pig in the park" in SF.
If insurance is not involved, then we are back to square one and I owe Kathleen's name an apology.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:11 pm:

Tom, I've always thought that Johns' story had the ring of "the bloody hook left on the car doorhandle", fodder for late night campfires. Of course, Z took credit for it, but most of us agree he took credit for everything. Anybody who made a positive ID from those god awful one diminsional composites is suspect in my book.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 02:23 pm:

Hungry babies can't eat a car.
Now a Total loss cash settlement on your car's insurance policy for thousands of dollars?
That will work!

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 04:04 pm:

Again, if there was no insurance involved my apologies to Kathleen's name.
The scenario is not stupid or far fetched in the least. Claims examiners see this type of thing all the time. I just read on another post that no insurance settlement was involved.
Has that been confirmed?
Where was Kathleen's departure point? I know she was headed to Petaluma.
How did she end up on hwy 132?
It seems like an odd route to get to Petaluma.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 04:11 pm:

As a Claims Examiner, I have handled hundreds of claims where people torch their car only to find they didn't have comprehensive coverage.
Kathleen may have never collected any settlement, does any one know if she tried to?

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 04:35 pm:

"Where was Kathleen's departure point? I know she was headed to Petaluma. How did she end up on hwy 132?"

That info is widely available. Click around...

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 05:22 pm:

Doesn't matter. If you're coming from So.Calif traveling north bound to Petaluma why would you take Hwy 132? Punch in mapquest and it's not going to route you that way! The only legitimate reason to be on Hwy 132 would be in error or, there was another motive.
Or is all this known as well? I didn't see these facts under the possible victims list.
If it's common knowledge as to why she was on HWY 132 please excuse.
Something's not right here!
To be continued with much more evidence in the offering.

By Law123 (Law123) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 06:00 pm:

Tom Voight's point is right on target. How did she torch her car then get her and her baby to the location where the truck driver found her which I believe was off the highway in the grass.

I would take it a step further. She would have to hide in the grass next to the highway waiting for someone to stop and find her??? No way. As I recall the only reason the trucker stopped was that he saw either a car stopped or a flashlight beam in the grass (who would be the kidnapper shining his light looking for her). The woman and the baby werent readily visible. So whose car did the trucker see? Or is the trucker in on the insurance scam? How much is this car worth, this trailer park mom's car. How do you know she even had anything more than liability insurance which doesnt cover kidnappers who torch your car. Seems way to wild of a theory without any facts to support it.

Investigation means follow the facts and that builds a theory,dont imagine a theory then look for tidbits here and there, coupled with assumptions.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 06:29 pm:

Again, as a former claims examiner I have handled hundreds of claims where people torch their cars only to find they do not have comprehensive coverage. Wild theory? How about an eight-month-pregnant woman with a toddler outrunning the Zodiac in the middle of nowhere?

"Law123", do you think a jury would buy this scenario? I have had the privilege of recently serving as a juror on a San Francisco criminal trial, and I'd bet the house that the jury wouldn't buy her story.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (161.philadelphia04rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 06:51 pm:

Tom, that's not an implausible theory. I don't know how you'd prove it, but it might certainly sow doubt in the minds of a jury.

By Roger Redding (Roger_Redding) (sdn-ap-008txhousp0099.dialsprint.net - on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 12:03 am:

Tom, did you ever know anyone to make up such an elaborate story as this for an insurance scam? Wouldn't it have been simpler just to have a friend "steal" the car?

By Esau (Esau) (12-246-187-137.client.attbi.com - on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 05:05 am:

I will admit that I've never talked with Ms. Johns and have seen her only on video but I got the impression that she was the histrionic type. I didn't believe her story.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 06:09 am:


Unless there is a professional "chop shop" involved, it is very difficult to hide a car that has been reported stolen. If you have limited resources, it would be much easier to total out your car by burning it. You just need an explanation as to how the fire started.

Please scroll up a few postings for the answer to your other question.

Board Members: I will be away from the board for a few days. When I return, I will open up a new thread to expose this absurd lie in further detail.

By Linda (Linda) (208-59-124-51.s51.tnt1.frdr.md.dialup.rcn.com - on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 04:27 am:

There was a truck driver who was said to have come upon the scene after Kathleen had jumped out of the car and was lying in the field with the baby, evidently scaring the kidnapper and sending him on his way. Did the truck driver ever come forward or did the police even try to find him for any info he may have been able to provide?

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 06:49 am:

Odd how the truck driver never turned up anywhere!
Yet this was reported in the SF media the next day!
Kathleen would have been better off claiming she was abducted by a UFO.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc2f820.ipt.aol.com - on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 01:22 pm:

Tom S: sometimes people just don't want to get involved. Sometimes it takes decades for them to come forward, if they ever do. Being a truck driver, he might have been 500 miles from Patterson by the time the newspaper was available. In any case, the Modesto Bee story mentioned it was something like a farmer and his two sons who picked her up, as I recall (I don't have it handy, sorry).

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc29702.ipt.aol.com - on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 01:55 pm:

The thing is, people often look at things through the bias of their profession/background. It's not therefore surprising that you'd smell an insurance scam, Tom. While there's a slim possibility at best, how many scams have you heard of where someone 7 or 8 months pregnant with a 10 month old daughter will drive otherwise alone 300+ miles from home, burn her car and everything in it in the wee hours in the early spring when it's really cold, and then tool around in the dark along deserted country roads in an unfamiliar place looking for a ride to a police station where she could concoct a bizarre kidnapping story, and then blame it on a well-known mass murderer whose composite just happens to be on the board right behind the desk sergeant? When you consider that she ended up in redneck Patterson (little better than a one-horse town in 1970), and was forced by the law to sit alone in a darkened diner, it sure sounds like a very elaborate plan to really put herself out to make the "scam" seem legit. Granted, she had little control over where she'd end up, but one would think she'd do the deed closer to Modesto, Stockton or Tracy to ensure that a potential ride would take her there rather than Patterson.

In any case, if it was a scam, she wouldn't have had much left over from the couple of hundred she might have gotten from the claim, if she had any left at all. As I recall, she was stuck in Patterson a few days, and food and lodging will chew up lots of money really fast. Plus, she'd have to replace the car and kid's clothes as well. Doesn't sound like a very well thought-out scam, especially when you take into account that she doesn't come across as a rocket scientist. Personally, I think that it was way beyond her capability to have concocted such an elaborate scam.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (241.philadelphia06rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 04:09 pm:

Good points, Ed, although we might want to remember that the point where she was kidnapped supposedly wasn't too far from her mother's home. I'll keep an open mind. I've spoken with Johns and while I don't think she was necessarily "kooky," I believe her accounts of the story over the years were heavily colored by the pride she took at being involved in the case--an obscure person getting her fifteen minutes of fame.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbfba57.ipt.aol.com - on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 09:31 pm:

Patterson and Petaluma are about 105 miles apart by the most direct route along 101 south through Novato and San Rafael to I-580 through Berkeley, Oakland and Livermore to I-5 south; the intersection of Bird and Maze Roads (Highway 132) is roughly 15 miles northwest of Patterson, which still puts her some 90 miles from Petaluma. Since her mother was sick, it's not likely she would have driven to pick Johns up, and I recall reading somewhere that she had to spend a few days in Patterson waiting for someone to collect her. However, I do agree completely that she did take some pride at her involvement with the case, whether or not it was actually Z who kidnapped her and Jennifer that night.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 03:10 am:

Do you think it could be POSSIBLE that Kathleen simply had an accomplice(such as her husband)
following her in another vehicle? They pull to the side of the road, torch the car for the insurance money and then Kathleen and the kid are safely dropped off by the accomplice/husband at the "Sherrif's shack"?

A pregnant twenty two year old with a 10 month old daughter with menial income fits exactly the profile of someone who would commit a scam. Sounds to me like they needed money quick!
Kids can't eat a car so liquidate. All those personal items inside the car would have been covered under a legitimate comprehensive claim.
Why say you're kidnapped by the Zodiac? Cash in on some publicity as well? People claim they are abducted by UFO's all the time, who knows?
Of course I'm speculating. I know my explanation sounds crazy, but in my opinion, not nearly as crazy as Kathleen Johns account of what happened that evening!

By Muskogee (Muskogee) (216-19-219-89.getnet.net - on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 07:06 am:

Tom S.,
I agree with Ed that your profession colors your point of view. I am a strong believer that the truth is stranger than fiction, in most cases (just look at the rest of the Zodiac story!). I'm also inclined to believe a victim unless there is strong evidence that he/she is lying.

The fact that Mws. Johns was poor does not, in my mind, mean she would automatically defraud her insurance. Is there any evidence that she ever defrauded anyone else or committed other crimes for money? If there were, I'd be more inclined to believe Tom S.'s expanation for this case.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 07:30 am:

It's only another possible scenario.
Thanks for your opinion.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) (216-19-219-89.getnet.net - on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 07:37 am:

Thank you, Tom, for bringing it up in the first place. While I disagree with your theory, I think it's important to discuss, as it's one more possible explanation in this strange case.

By TheBlackJet (Theblackjet) (d223h169.public.uconn.edu - on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 11:13 am:

If it was an insurance scam, why do you think Johns would mention seeing baby clothes in Z's car? If it was all "made up" don't you think she would mention seeing bloody knives, guns, and black hoods? Then it would make the story seem more "real."

By Howard Davis (Howard) (host-66-81-199-103.rev.o1.com - on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 10:47 pm:

Right!I just saw your post-I touched on the clothes point too.Looking at the whole KJ possible scam(which has been brought up in past posts)scenario, I say it just doesn't fit-period.
I spoke(by phone) to KJs best friend ,at length, for many years and she told me that KJ didn't have insurance at that time(1970).They simply couldn't afford it and it just wasn't the hippy thing to do anyway.KJ wasn't even into the news and Zodiac was an unknown to her.KJ told me this also.
She and Kathleen privately talked about the 'incident' on many occasions with her friend asking Kathleen questions from various angles and she felt that her friend told the truth.
The friend told me that Kathy was well aware of the negative things being said about her and she expressed deep hurt as she just tried to convey what happened to help in some way.We agreed that this is one reason that many don't want to get involved-the kind of criticism you get is seemingly not worth the effort.To her knowledge KJ didn't make much money in connection with the Z case.This is what I found out also.
The friend feels that the police in them thar foothills were mistrustful of KJ because she had a 'hippy appearance,etc.'
I will say that I KNOW CERTAIN detectives and others didn't want the feds to come in on a kidnap and draw a lot of attention to the possibility Zodiac may have struck in their area.
They realized how they had treated KJ the night of the abduction and the next day and they didn't want this to get a lot of press.
They did NOT take notes as she spoke.They were very unprofessional to say the least.
If you read the reports one detective said he didn't know if gasoline was used to torch the Johns car as he had a cold and couldn't smell!Hot dam boy go get yer pawtner or hound dog!Oh me.
The gas can the perp used could have been kept in his trunk.I had a gas can in my trunk for a period of time-no big deal.Why would this even brought up?
I hope to point out some aspects and wording in the reports.
Enjoying the Stones on HBO?

By J Eric (J_Eric) (1cust232.tnt1.san-fernando.ca.da.uu.net - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 12:21 am:

Howard, Z would not necessarily have had to carry his own gas can. He could have siphoned some from KJ's tank or messed with the distributor to get enough to start a fire. Or not even used gas. Most greasy ol' cars can be set ablaze with little problem. I still cannot figure out this day: Z returns to Rte. 132 after losing KJ to get KJ's car, drives it off to another road, sets the fire...and then what? Z walks back howevermany miles to Rte. 132 for his parked car? Nahh--so Z must have towed KJ's car behind his own to be able to do the quick getaway when the fire begins. Does this somehow fit into the BY ROPE BY FIRE equation?

Not to imply your theory is wrong; I'd hate to turn up in one of your future books as Eric The Garden Slug.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acacd4a8.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 12:59 am:

J Eric: in past discussions, I've opined that KJ didn't stop at Chrisman Road by the Arco like she thought, but at Bird Road where her car was burned. They're a couple of miles apart, and if Z continued driving west along Highway 132/Maze Road after abducting her and Jennifer, the first anything she would have seen would have been the Arco at Chrisman, and that's probably what stuck in her mind. I imagine it's easy to get confused about such things at night in an unfamiliar locale in a very stressful situation. So, I don't think Z went to the trouble of moving her car etc, I think it was already at Bird Road for him to torch.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar6-4-63-089-168.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 10:46 am:

Maybe it's just me, but having little or no familiarity with the area, I have a difficult time picturing locations, routes, distances, etc. It would be of considerable value to have a map/diagram/aerial photo of the area with these particulars plotted. I don't recall seeing one on this site, or elsewhere.

I tried going to a popular aerial photo site to see what's available, and by searching for Patterson, CA found 1998 coverage of the area. Problem is, without knowing what I'm looking at, it offers far more info than I can filter through. If anyone feels especially industrious, and knows the area, they can go to terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/default.aspx (I'd create a link here, but I don't know how to do it) and search for Patterson, CA. I also brought up a street map, using Yahoo, but still couldn't orient myself to the key locations spoken of here, or even pick out Hwy 132.

I realize there are far more important things to do with one's time, but it would be helpful if Tom or Ed or Howard (Howard, I'm sure that your proficiency with computers rivals my own, but one never knows), or anyone else out there able to put it together, could create a visual aid to add to the KJ file.

If that is done and it is received here with appropriate gratitude, perhaps similar visual references could be created for the other Z sites as well. I know there have been maps and other graphics offered for the LHR, BRS, LB and SF areas, but not with sufficient detail and distances for clear orientation. I appreciate the scope of such an undertaking, but I think it would be well received and quite educational.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:29 am:

J Eric,
I don't have a theory per se.I was only referring to a past post if KJ saw a gas can in the car of her abductor.
Your propositions are good.We just don't know for certain,but he did torch her car.
Perhaps his original idea (for added publicity and occult purposes?)was to place his victim-in this case KJ in her car and set it ablaze -"By Fire"(keep in mind By Rope,By Gun, By Knife,etc. all refer to murder)as the 10/27/70 Halloween card indicated.This could also hark back to Bill Bakers case in S.B. too.One wonders if that perps(probably Z)intent wasn't to subdue his victims and burn them alive,but it got out of hand(like with KJ)and he had to kill them by gun!
If Z was into the dark side of the occult,as I firmly believe, this would be possible.Some of the Celts and others burned people alive.Even the KKK ,as we heard on the news recently,tried this method.
Some in the Manson group placed two men in a car truck and set the car afire.One survived.Paul Watkins, of this same group, fell asleep in his van one evening and it was set ablaze.He was barely able to escape,but not without serious injuries.It is known that he was turning states evidence against them at that time.This was near the end of March of 1970.Bruce Davis and Steve Grogan are the chief suspects.
There have been a lot of posts on this basic subject.
I am bringing this out as I know these cases well and to show possibilities.It happens.
It is strange that the perp would go to the trouble to move her car(the hub cap was laying on the ground near the wagon!)but, if KJ was right and she did pull over next to the 5 and near the station ,then to burn her wagon, he needed a more secure area.He was probably filled with rage and on drugs,possibly speed is my guess.
Interesting, that Z placed KJ at the TOP of his revenge"little list"in his 1970 terror letter.
If he had an accomplace ,then it would have been a lot easier.There was another man trying to flag down two motorists at that same time and in that same general area.The police did seem to want to question him.He was never found.
There were two men in an old Plymouth trying to chase a young couple the night (12/20/68 )of the LH 187 and right near the same area.
Ed brought out that one of two men actually went over to Zs car on LH at the pumping station and found it empty before the attack on BLJ and DF.See his very interesting posts.
Was that driver, of the then vacant car,with the man giving chase to that young couple?The timing is excellent.
We assume it was only one man.Even GS,det.Balwart and others, have kept open the possibility Z had an 'assistant' as it were.
I am reminded that Zodiac must have parked his car some distance away near the Stine scene and he had to walk some distance there too.That's IF he had a car that night!He could have gone to a safe house of sorts.No problem.We ASSUME Z had a car then.

I know all of this is contraversial-the whole Zodiac case is!KJ did tell me she KEPT driving when the stranger told her that something was wrong with her car,as she wanted to get NEXT to the 5 to be a 'little safer' and see what was wrong with the car.It was a dark lonely road and she was fearful of the mans intentions.It was that polite and neat military clean shaven appearence that set her mind at ease though.
The wheel later falling off was the final inducement to go with him!
She could clearly see what was then the ARCO station.
She told me she was surprised when they told her the car or wagon was found some distance away from 5 and the station.She was certain she didn't pull over in that remote area.
All of the above FYI!

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 02:59 pm:


Bill, I tried to explain how to create a link on Tom's board, but no matter what I did I either ended up creating a link or getting a format error. I'll have to defer to Tom or Ed.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (34.philadelphia06rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 09:48 pm:

Try this one

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar6-4-63-089-168.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:16 pm:

Doug, that's the one I referred to above, but without plotting specific locations, directions of travel and distances, it is meaningless.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbf7a8a.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:19 pm:

I scanned the relevant section of map from DeLorme's Northern California Atlas & Gazeteer, p. 106: Highway132. Patterson is 10-15 miles southeast of Bird Road/Highway 132. I hope this helps.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbf7a8a.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:24 pm:

Bill: Kathleen travelled west along 132 from Modesto, and drove past I-5 to Bird Road. Z and KJ must have continued west to Chrisman Road and I-580 and on to Tracy then back south to Patterson. That triangle formed by I-5, I-580 and Highway 132 is about 3 miles on a side. Also, check out a post of mine from the Possible Zodiac Victim Kathleen Johns: Kathleen Johns thread on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 03:38 pm from when I was there last.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar6-4-63-089-168.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 07:11 am:

Ed, that's a big help. Using the same format, the entire incident could be plotted on a map that displays a slightly larger area to encompass all points, with appropriate markers to reflect key locations as you have on this one.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acad9dc2.ipt.aol.com - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 09:44 am:

I'll get on that one as soon as I can, Bill (unless someone else beats me to it).

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbe15ab.ipt.aol.com - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 01:41 pm:

Bill, check out this larger area map. The red arrows indicate KJ's direction of travel along Highway 99 north to Modesto, then west along Highway 132/Maze Road to the scene of her abduction. Highlighted are Modesto, Tracy and Patterson.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar6-4-63-089-168.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 02:20 pm:

Ed, that does put things in perspective, however, I guess what I'm looking for is a more localized map of the area in which KJ came into contact with her abductor, where she left her car, the area they rode around, and where the car was set ablaze. Sorry to be so picky, but I'm sure you understand what can be gained by a diagram of that evening's activities, as they are reportedly known. I, and probably others, appreciate your efforts.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbe15ab.ipt.aol.com - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 03:44 pm:

Bill, then the first map is what you want (and the best I have at the moment in any of my atlases and/or road maps). The intersection of Bird Road and Highway 132/Maze Road is where her car was torched, and I suspect that's also the spot where she was abducted. The Arco (now a Unocal) is 2 miles west of that intersection. Other than the perp indicating that they were in Tracy at one point, I don't know if anyone has any idea where they drove. I would imagine the place she escaped from him was somewhere north of Patterson.

By J Eric (J_Eric) (dsl081-238-156.lax1.dsl.speakeasy.net - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 04:09 pm:

William: I take it you have never seen the Route 132 location--perhaps you are out of Calif.? For the benefit of all: the general terrain there is flat, with, as I recall, a slight rise toward the west (I-5) which in that area traverses low foothills. Looking toward the west at night, one can see lights of cars along I-5 and the service stations quite some miles away-an "optical illusion" of sorts. There are orchards planted in the area now, but in the 60's, I believe the area was more open land. I-5 was built there only in the late 60's, hence it was somewhat a "new" road when Z/whoever encountered the freeway ramp. An aside: nowadays, ARCO stations do not make repairs (self-serve gas only) but back then they did have mechanics. Posted not to clutter up the site but to better explain things that a mere aerial/road map might not make clear.

PS to Howard, 1/20 posting: Interesting ideas, all. Burning a corpse in the KJ car would be spooky, to say the least. I've heard about the Watson incident. I still think Z (let's say that was him anyway) lacked a weapon at the time--other than his trusty tire iron--or he would have whacked KJ without driving all over. Unless of course, he wanted a fellow evildoer--"Clem" Grogan?--to catch up with him and Clem, true to form, couldn't figure out where Z had gone. Maybe this partner had the needed gun/knife/rope?

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar6-4-63-089-168.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 06:16 pm:

J Eric, I've been a resident of CA for over 50 years, and have been along I-5 and Hwy 99 many times, within spitting distance of the KJ locale, around and through Vallejo and surrounding environs, and a resident for several years in SF, but as with most of the Z-crime locations, such as LHR, BRS, LB, PH or Riverside CC, unless one has had occasion to specifically visit, a clear contextual appreciation is difficult. This is why I had suggested similar plotting of key aspects of each scene to afford unfamiliar posters an enhanced visial aid to gain this context. Your description certainly is valuable towards gaining a greater feel for the area which, as you said, goes beyond maps or aerials.

Ed, yes, the smaller map you presented is what I'm looking for, and if much of the route is unknown, then anything larger would be of little value. Thank you.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 11:25 pm:

Did Kathleen contrive her situation for an insurance scam? We'll never know for sure, but I believe the consensus is this: the likelihood is very low.

Now what? Unless someone has something extremely significant to add, I doubt this thread will ever evolve.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (host-66-81-29-147.rev.o1.com - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 01:27 am:

One last thing from me.I think the timing dress or appearance, was a fit to Zodiac.
It was the Vernal Equinox which is "around the 21st of March' or the attack time.It was near midnight or so and it was a weekend.There was a full moon.
There was water or canals as Ed brought in a past post.I photographed them the last time I went to 132.
The perp spoke in a monotone(and 'reluctantly' said Johns just like BH said)and had on Navy type garb and dress shoes(like the same kind identified at the Bates 187-this includes car sabotage too),including that ol' wind breaker,and was clean shaven with a crew or military type cut and wore black plastic glasses(albeit with a black elastic strap holding the glasses on-one profession that wears these is a welder)all very much like the 10/11/69 scenario and looked like the poster(but with pock marks on his chin area).
The weight estimate of 166 or so doesn't give us a match,but no one had seen Zodiac since 10/11/69, so he could have lost weight.She did say he wasn't a 'weak type person' so he seemed 'well built.'Taking speed ,I am told, can bring your weight down fast!He seemd to be living out of his car so this could contribute to a leaner frame.
But did he use padding in S.F.?Was this part of his disguise?A flak jacket under a jacket could do it.He may have not seen fit to wear padding that night due to the isolated area and the style or mode of attack.He didn't plan on her surviving to ID him!The about 5'9'isn't against other height estimates(MM,BH,teens).
I would like to go out to 132 soon and look things over again and check out Patterson/Modesto and try and follow the possible route the perp took with KJ.
Maybe we can get some of you out there too!Lots of great one star towering hotels, party spots-white Russians all night!June seems like a good time or better yet 3/22/03!

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 - 06:52 am:

I believe the "consensus" would have been the opposite in a court room, in front of a jury, with Kathleen subject to cross examination.
I don't know of ANY attorney who would disagree.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbe5c8b.ipt.aol.com - on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 - 11:41 am:

Tom S: that's dependent on whether she had insurance on her car. That piece of information would have been the most important in a trial, and probably the first to be uncovered in an investigation. As Howard mentioned above in his post on 1-18-2003, 10:47 pm, KJ didn't have insurance, and I don't believe the law required every motorist to have insurance until the 1980's anyway, and so quite a few people never bothered. Even if she did have insurance, torched her own car but didn't file a claim, there's still no crime. How can you be charged for destroying your own property? Without the insurance claim, there's no way she could possibly have been found guilty.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 01:31 pm:

You are correct.
I meant that I believe Kathleen's story would be proved a fabrication, whether the motive was a scam, hoax or a combination of both.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 07:21 pm:

Tom Stout,
Her testimony has NOT been 'proved a fabrication."Tom,you jumped right in not knowing or fully understanding this case.I don't see how you can make statements like you do.They are very brash and lack substance.You have professional(in this case a claims adjuster)bias and interpret this episode with very narrow and biased mindset.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 09:45 pm:

I concede I may be colored by my background. My mind would search for a reasonable explanation as to why that car was torched.
I never said anything was proved.

Also, admitting to being a Claims Examiner is like spraying human repellent on yourself.
I believe the bias goes both ways. No one(Including myself) likes a Claims Examiner.

I don't happen to have my copy of Zodiac Unmasked handy at the moment but I do recall a law enforcement official involved with the case, who didn't believe Kathleen was abducted by anyone either.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 09:53 pm:

Tom, using the yellow and blue books for factual reference won't get you very far.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 07:11 am:

Well in any case it was Vallejo Police Captain Roy Conway.
Quote: "..I don't believe what she described even happened, let alone that the Zodiac did it."

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-122-212-147.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 12:13 pm:

Tom S,Have you ever spoken to Roy Conway? I have, and I felt he was a poor excuse for a Captin. He had on the blinders that "his" suspect was the Z and no one else. Just like the Utah Pd. thought Elizabeth Smart was taken by the suspect who died,and was most likely dead. I believe Kathleen Johns saw the real Z and was lucky enough to get away. Conway didn't believe her because it fit his suspect. May she like the others R.I.P. and hope they know we will not give up until he is caught,and he will in this life time!

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-122-212-147.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 12:18 pm:

I left out, thanks to Tom V. and his Z web site for making it happen.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 07:10 pm:

No, I have never spoken to Captain Roy Conway.
Gosh he sounds terrible! I wonder how he made Captain? I can't for the life of me figure out why Zodiac would go to the trouble to torch her car? Why not write the cross circle SFPD scorecard? Now that's Zodiac!
It appears to me that many people use Kathleen John's story to spin an explanation toward their favorite suspects guilt.
I agree, let's never forget about the victims!

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-112-27-243.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 01:16 pm:

Tom, Tourching a car gets rid of any evidence like prints. Zodiac was crazy not stupid,do you think he would want to let the police know for sure it was he who took Kathleen? After all she did see him. He waited until he felt he was safe to claim that one. About 13 yrs ago a woman and her baby were taken in Berkeley. The baby was thrown into the S.F. bay,the mother was found killed up north. I couldn't help but think how much it was like Kathleen and her baby, if she hadn't gotten away. Didn't the man tell Kathleen to throw her baby out the window? To me that was so Z like, that one is still unsolved.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 11:27 pm:

Save your post breath- he ain't gonna listen!

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-122-214-145.dsl.pltn13.pacbell.net - on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 04:16 pm:

You are right Howard thanks. Even when it is black and white some turn it to grey.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 02:51 pm:

Which inconsistency in Kathleen John's story is black and which one is white?
Why would Z need to burn the car for fingerprints?
Did he enter Kathleen's vehicle?
To my knowledge he never burned any of the other victim's cars.
Strange how Z's MO and physical description in this case, don't jive at all with his other known crimes.
I'm sure it was worth it for Kathleen and her Husband to torch their own car. Forget about financial sacrafice, I could site many cases of self inflicted hoaxes. Familiar with the Amityville Horror story? The Lutz family endured great sacrafice to pull off their hoax.
Kathleen John's sure sounds like a "Lutz" to me.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 08:14 pm:

We are not saying Z burnt her car(he did write "By Fire"in his Halloween card)just to remove fingerprints.Now Johns said that he did 'lean' on her car door when he first approached her with an offer to help fix the right rear wheel.He took the chrome(great for prints)hub cap off to,as we now know,tamper with the lug nuts.
Just before they were to pull away from her car,she mentioned that her keys were still in the car and that the lights were still on,so the driver went over and shut off the lights and placed the keys in his pocket.So far, there were three times he could have left prints.
It is thought by some that Zodiac burned the car as an act of revenge.No one had ever escaped from him before and this could have enraged him.His letters indicate he had a bad temper.
The Zodiac 1970 letter said the "woeman[KJ] and her baby" were at the top of his "little list."The prints could have been a secondary,but important reason.Z did write that he wore glue covers over his finger tips.
I proposed a more evil plan he may have had.Perhaps,he wanted to place her in the car,dead,unconsious or conscious and set it afire,"By Fire"as he wrote in 1970 after the attack of 3/22/70.The perp,who some believe was the young Zodiac,attempted,in 1963 in SB, to set a shack afire that contained a young couple he had killed.If Johns' attacker was the same man,then he may have wanted to fulfill this fantasy,but failed as she was able to flee,thus angering him.
At least two members of the Manson gang set a van ablaze(some believe Davis did it)with a potential witness(March 1970) and a car with two victims still alive,locked in the trunk.One actually survived and he was rushed to the hospital.It happens with criminals-they have distorted minds.Z had a patent on being a full on sociopath!He was capable of anything authorities believed.
So he never burned anyone elses' car before you write.He said in November of 1969 he was going to "CHANGE the WAY" he collected slaves i.e murdered his victims.
Did Zodiac ever wear a hood before and stab his victims in daylight,a first?He did at LB.He had not done that before to our knowledge.Had he entered a car and shot a lone male before?We know he did at PH.
There is always a 'first' time with someone like this.Don't box him up and say he did or didn't-he showed he could!
I say the description did fit-it matched the wanted poster!
If one researchers theory is correct,Z warned in his 11/8/69 dripping pen card that the police were to get "bad news,"but not "for awhile yet."He ends the card note with "I could do my Thing."At the end he placed six exclamation marks.Under each two dots,three dots and one dot.When you turn the card upside down it could be symbolic for 132 or possibly something was going to happen on highway 132 in the future.It did- about four months later during the 3/22/70 Vernal Equinox with a full moon.This a big occult day.Look it up.Was this why they were not going to hear about another source of "bad news" or a murder, for "awhile"yet?
I contacted a history buff in Patterson,near where the attack took place.She told me,after some interviews and research,that there was a man seen in a car in the area during the time of the abduction and that he was seen by some of the residents.The police finally were able to find his general location,but he was able to drive away before they could take him in for questioning. After this close call,he was never seen again.FYI
I have already,with full on poster cramp, explained to you why I believe her account,so bye for now.