The Car Door Message Board: Theories: The Car Door

By Joe (Joe) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 09:20 am:

Re: the car door at LB, Lapumo asked why Zodiac wrote "Sept" instead of the number "9" to indicate the month of the attack. My theory is that in his haste to get the message on the door he couldn't remember that September was 9 in the progression of months and chose to write it the way he did rather than take the few seconds to figure it out right there. I sometimes have to count myself to remember when filling out a check.
This might steer one away from Ted K as a suspect, Ted's head for numbers being what it was.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 10:29 am:

Joe, how could I have been so dumb? I guess I'll have to give up on Kaczynski now! :-)

More realistically, Kaczynski at times could prove remarkably obtuse when it came to dates. For instance, he headed one journal entry as "July 31 (if it exists--otherwise August 1)." This is inexplicable coming from any adult, but incredible coming from a Harvard-trained academic.

Looking at the car door, it might simply be that Zodiac wished to lend emphasis to the most current killing, i.e., the one he had just committed. Or it could be that the older dates had already been catalogued in his mind in numerical fashion.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 10:38 am:

Just as an afterthought, I was looking at the photo of the car door and noticed something very peculiar: the Zodiac symbol (top line) is perfectly centered underneath the Sept. 27 line, and not under the first two lines giving the earlier dates, approximately so:

Sept 27-69-6:30
by knife

As a former typesetter, I used to get grief from my clients when centering a main heading under a short body of text with lines of varying length. If the longest line wasn't directly under the heading my customers would complain that the heading wasn't "centered." I'd have to point out that headings get centered over the longest line in the body text, not necessarily over the lines which give the optical appearance of centering.

Zodiac seems to have had the foresight to place his crosshair symbol in precisely the point that would allow it to be centered on a line he had yet to compose. Either that or the text went on first; the symbol last.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 11:11 am:

Joe,I raised those points initially because I believe there MAY be more to the information on the car door,besides the obvious.You have a guy who uses numbers in most of his written communications.Dates and anniversaries are important to him.His letters are numbered.He does some things in "THREE'S".His 7th letter is seven pages long claiming seven victims.There are countless examples.
The date of the LB therefore attack becomes significant it's September 27th 69 at 6:30
ie 27/9/69 @6:30 all these are divisible by 3.Is this a coincidence?
I think the general consensus is that Zodiac was meticulous,while he would take a risk his murders were well planned and prepared for.
I thought the combination of the 3 questions raised may point to something.
By the time Zodiac got back to the car one would assume he would have "lost" the hood.Was he therefore taking a chance writing on the car door?
Is it possible that Zodiac wrote Sept to make the Date a little less obvious!Why did he feel it necessary to include the time? Makes no sense unless there's something more to it.His later phone call to police would have established the approx time of the murder.I do not know if I am correct in this instance,but I believe there's something to it.It's hardly a stretch to believe
Zodiac would use dates of previous murders to point to some future event or place!

By Boojum (Boojum) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 02:54 pm:

And this leads us directly to the realm of the obnoxious Gareth Penn. Just because he's very rude and is obviously lying about the origins of his theory does not necessarily mean the theory (if, in fact, it is a theory) is wrong. I'm still very much inclined toward Penn's general idea, and I wouldn't entirely rule him out as being somehow complicit in the whole thing.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 03:54 pm:

To date I have not read his book.It's not available over here and I did not try very hard given the poor reviews.However it is hard to ignore the "math"that seems to be behind these letters.But is it that deep?

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 08:17 pm:

Douglas: To my knowledge, there have always been 31 days in July. Am I somehow misinterpreting what you were trying to say?

In my opinion, Z wrote "Sept" to emphasize the current murder at LB. Furthermore, is there not still daylight at 6:30pm in September? I believe Z was letting it be known that couples were not only at risk during the night, but during the day as well. Shepherd's autopsy wouldn't have indicated her time of death as 9/27/69 at 6:30pm because she didn't die at Queen of the Valley hospital until September 29, 1969 at 3:45pm. Furthermore, even if she had died at the time indicated on the car door, this is not information that would have been made public from an autopsy report alone; hence Z's need to write it on the door. Z, I don't believe, would have known this; nor would he have known when Bryan and Cecilia were going to be found. For all he would have known, they could have laid there for hours before being discovered. Additionally, I believe that Z was under the impression that Bryan was dead or would be dead very soon, so he probably figured that there wouldn't be any testimony concerning the crime, and therefore wrote the time for the reason I stated above.

Just a few thoughts.


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 08:21 pm:

Douglas: Oops! I did misread what you had posted with regard to the 31 days in July. Sorry about that.


By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 09:55 pm:

I have a theory on the "Sept". I think it may have been a play on words for Z. Sept means seven in french. So if reasonably assumed both his L.B. victims would die, he could have meant this makes 7 (as well as being the abbreviation for September).

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 10:08 pm:

Sylvie, Zodiac's "score" never included surviving victims. Even if it did, he hadn't acknowledged the Cheri Jo Bates murder.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 10:41 pm:

I did mean the dead victims. It adds up. He clearly would not have expected Hartnell to live. Then when he found he did survive, Stine became for him the 7th (the dripping pen letter soon after Stine's murder). He obviously was counting other victims, Cheri Jo?? Who knows.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 10:48 pm:

Scott, the "31 days in July" line was written by Kaczynski (according to his neighbor, Chris Waites, to whom the FBI gave an unusual level of access to the records in return for his cooperation). It's just odd that he wouldn't know by rote that July has 31 days.

In their Exhibits to the Sentencing Memorandum, the government included a 7-page collection of quotes from Kaczynski's dated bomb experiments. In the entire seven pages he abbreviated only two months, November (Nov) and September (Sept.). All other months were fully spelled out.

In other places he abbreviates August (Aug), December (Dec), and January (Jan.)

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 01:58 am:

Sylvie, even if Zodiac had expected Hartnell to die it wouldn't have made seven victims, as Z didn't acknowledge Cheri Jo Bates until 1971.

Gosh, maybe Z just happened to abbreviate the month of September. You know, those serial killers do crazy things like that once in a while. I hear Ted Bundy once even greeted someone with "Bonjour." Maybe Ted was the Zodiac, after all!

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 08:44 am:


I agree with you about the daylight angle to the time as the reason to write it on the door.

On 27 Sep 69 at Napa the sun set at 6:59 PM. I figure by the time the bodies would be discovered no-one would know he did it during light and he wanted to make sure that point was made.

Furthermore, remember that Hartnell described details of Z that could only have been done with some light on the subject. For one thing he said he could see brown hair INSIDE the hood through the eye holes and around the glasses. I am remembering that correctly, am I not? He could tell that the scabbard was wooden. He saw the rivets in the knife -- lots of details.

Tom F

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 09:41 am:

It makes me wonder if Zodiac setout to commit a murder in broad daylight? If so, this would explain the hood in practical terms pertaining to MO -- the need for concealment to successfully escape from the crime scene. Additionally, LB has many isolated areas where a daylight attack would have been possible; something that would have been practically impossible to find in Vallejo or SF. I also doubt that he would have elected to wear the hood at night. It simply wouldn't have been practical. Furthermore, at all of the other known Zodiac crimes, with the exception of LHR, we know that Z didn't wear the hood. Perhaps the hood had less "ceremonial" significance than some people tend to believe. On the other hand, the hood did bear an emblem, which would pertain to signature rather than MO, so perhaps it did have significance to Z other than simply concealing his identity. It seems that the hood is an example of something that pertains to both MO and signature.

Anyway, I've drifted off topic. It definitely seems to me that Z's writing on the car door was meant to call attention to two specific details: the perpetrator(Z), and the fact that the crime was committed in broad daylight. I wonder if Z was antsy about the daylight attack? After all, he waited until half an hour before sundown before making his move. Or did it just take him that long to "troll" for his two victims?


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 10:26 am:

Good analysis, Scott. I've postulated that the reason Hartnell got off with fewer stab wounds than Shepard was because Zodiac was hoping to leave a survivor who could relate the incident. Hence the elaborate disguise, as opposed to a simple ski mask or some other device.

Based on your observations we might reasonably postulate that at LB Zodiac wished it to be known that he could strike in broad daylight; at PH the idea was to convince the public that he could strike even in the quietest, most affluent areas, right under the noses of the police.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 01:42 pm:

Douglas if you are right,then Zodiac did not have to leave the time on the car door.
Scott,I do not know the area in question,however it seems the murder scene was some distance from the road.Maybe it's not well lit and would be hard to navigate in the dark.I would think it was a "given" this murder would have had to take place in daylight hours.So Zodiac does not HAVE to write the time on the door to make this point!
Furthermore,Zodiac phoned the police at 7.40 ,twenty seven miles from the scene and left the phone off the hook.Again I do not think the police would have any difficulty determining the time of the murder.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 02:25 pm:

Zodiac Island is about 500 yards (about 3/10 mile) from Knoxville Road. Today, as then, there is no direct access to the road (one must wind their way along a narrow one-way road to get to the parking lot at Twin Oak Ridge, and wind their way along a narrow one-way road to get back to the main road), so Z would have had to pick his way along the hillside. The going isn't all that rough, but I would much rather drive! If he had a flashlight, he could still have made his way back to the road without much difficulty.

However, Z was equipped to kill, and may not have had a flashlight. Maybe it took all afternoon to find the appropriate victims, or maybe his intention was to kill them close to sunset, with the approaching night to cover his escape.

I don't agree that Z intended to leave any victims; one stab wound in the right place (in the aorta) is more than enough to ensure that a victim dies. According to Hartnell in Zodiac, p. 72, Shepard's "was cut in several places," but Z's knife missed his. I've expressed my opinion about this before anyway in other threads, so I won't go into it here.

As far as the car door goes, it's still light at 6:30 PM on 9-27-1969 at LB; 7:40 PM is essentially dark in Napa. The most direct way to the Napa Car Wash (south along Knoxville, then along Monticello to Napa, continue west on Trancas, take a left (south) on Soscol, turn right (west) on Clinton then left on Main, and the car wash (now a parking lot) is immediately to your right. It takes only 45 minutes to drive those 27 miles, so what was Z doing for the other 25 minutes?

The time Z wrote on the car door is therefore a most important clue: did he take another route (ie, north along Knoxville, through Pope Valley to Howell Mountain Road, past Pacific Union College, along Deer Park Road, then onto Silverado Trail and south to Napa), or did he live/own property somewhere between LB and Napa, where he may have stopped to dump his (presumably) bloody costume and switch cars? If he took the long way around to Napa, it would take approximately 65 minutes to drive; if he stopped at his place on the way to Napa, it might have taken 25 minutes to drive there, switch clothes and cars, and make it to Napa.

Of course, a third possibility is that maybe Z spent 25 minutes driving around Napa looking for the "right" phone to call from. Considering that he took the time to prepare for his stabbing (sewing the costume, etc), I suspect that he had already chosen the phone he would call from after the crime was committed.

Either way, no matter what his reason was in leaving the time on the door, it is an important clue as to what Z could have done with those extra 25 minutes.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 03:22 pm:

The actual murder might have taken place at 6.30
Then getting back to the road and writing on the
car door would have eaten into that 25 minutes.
Makes you wonder,when Zodiac actually picked his victims?If they could not be seen from the road how did he know they were there and where exactly
they were.He must have been in the area for some time.Again one would have to assume he was "hunting" a couple!

By Joe (Joe) ( - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 06:53 pm:

Doug. I think you're on the right track: Zodiac probably had the other dates engrained in his mind already. As far as Ted...?
Ed. I think your questions are right on the mark about Zodiac changing his clothes after the LB attack. It's hard to believe he would have risked being seen at the car wash in bloody clothing.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 07:58 pm:

Lapumo: you're quite right. Maybe Z glanced at his watch as he walked back toward the road and noted the time, but I've always thought that he checked the time as he was finishing his note on the door, and perhaps included it as an afterthought. With Z, however, it's kinda hard to tell, especially since BRS occurred on July 5th, but he insisted it was on the 4th, and Stine was shot at Washington and Cherry, but Z insisted it was Maple.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 12:16 am:

I have a thought concerning "those extra 25 minutes" that it took for Zodiac to get to Napa. Is it not possible (though admittedly, very risky) that Z discarded the bloody clothing, the knife, and the gun, into his trunk, and then drove north along Knoxville Road approximately 6-7 miles to either Putah Creek Park or Camp Berryessa, then turned around and drove south, passing the murder site to see if there was any activity around there, and finally drove to Napa to make the phone call?

This certainly would have accounted for that extra 25 minutes, and probably would have appealed to Zodiac in a couple of ways. First of all, there would have been the inherent risk of hanging around the area. But it seems that Z was ready for such risks, as evidenced in the Stine murder only two weeks later. Secondly, perhaps he wanted to know if taking another risk -- driving to Napa -- would have been worth his time. Why report a murder if the victims had already been discovered? Finally, since this had been his most "intimate" attack, perhaps he desired to "savor" his deed one last time by driving -- slowly -- past the spot where it had occurred. Then, after seeing that the crime had not yet been discovered,* Z continued south to Napa to make the phone call.

*I believe that, if the above scenario is true, Z would have discovered that Bryan and Cecilia had not yet been discovered, at least not to his knowledge. I'm not sure when the scene was discovered by the fisherman and his son, but they apparently rowed their boat 2 miles to Rancho Monticello Resort before they were able to report the incident. Then a radio call was placed to the Reclamation Headquarters, which in turn was radioed to Rangers Land and White who were 3 miles away. Land drove White to Rancho Monticello where White went to the scene by boat while Land drove to the scene. This, compounded with the fact that Hartnell had had time to untie himself and crawl some 300 yards toward the road while bleeding profusely before being discovered by Ranger Land, leads me to believe that 25 minutes would have been the bare minimum amount of time that would have elapsed before anyone else would have arrived at the scene. In all likelihood, it was probably much longer than 25 minutes. After all, Hartnell believed that his hands had been bound for approximately 30 minutes before Cecilia was able to successfully untie them, and then he had crawled the 300 yards before being found.

Here is a possible timeline for the aforementioned events:

1. 6:30pm -- Probably the time when Zodiac wrote on the car door.

2. 6:30 - 6:55pm -- Zodiac makes his "roundabout" at LB, then drives south towards Napa. Fisherman and son discover grisly scene and head towards Rancho Monticello Resort to report it.

3. 7:13pm -- Cecilia and Bryan have, by this time, been discovered, and the report of the double stabbing has been logged by the Napa Sheriff's office. Zodiac is approximately 25 minutes from Napa.

4. 7:40pm -- Zodiac makes his phone call to the Napa Sheriff's Office.

In conclusion, I feel that it is possible that Zodiac spent the "lost 25 minutes" lingering around Lake Berryessa, for the reasons I stated above, left the area about 6:50 - 6:55pm, and still had time to make it to Napa by 7:40pm to make the phone call.

Does this scenario seem possible to anyone else? Am I overlooking something here? Is my logic flawed? What do you think, folks?


By Bruce (Bruce_D) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 12:40 am:

Also,wasn't a man who was described by witnesses as very nervous- lost ,and was trying to find his way out of the LB area. This would have accounted for some of the lost time. Also, the composite of the man had a "head" that was the same shape as Allen's. This was not true of the perp that killed Stine though.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 01:36 am:

Scott: it's entirely possible that Z did hang around at LB for those extra 25 minutes; anything's possible with him. As for Ronald Fong, the man who spotted Hartnell and Shepard and raised the alarm, the only reason he even heard their cries for help was because he cut his engine to fish nearby, heard them, and saw Hartnell with blood on his back. He wasn't sure if it was a "trick" or something, but he took off anyway to alert the authorities just in case. So I don't think he rowed to Rancho Monticello Resort. But I do agree that 6:30 was the time he wrote on the door, not the actual time of the stabbing.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 02:24 am:

Perhaps at the outset he thought it might be some time before the victims' bodies were discovered, and that's why he felt constrained to indicate the time. Of course that would mean that he made the phone call as an afterthought.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 02:29 am:

I was wondering about that "rowing" concept myself. It would have taken a heck of a lot longer than 15-20 minutes to get to RMR from "Zodiac Island" if simply relying on "human power," I would think. (I've never actually rowed 2 miles before, so I could be wrong.) But how likely is it that Zodiac would have drove around the park for awhile before heading to Napa?

I'm starting to believe that, coupled with the Stine murder that followed shortly after, Z was starting to take certain risks that he hadn't previously demonstrated. Was he taunting the police, or making himself available for capture? It just seems that during his last two known murders he was going out of his way to take unnecessary risks; killing in broad daylight being just one of them. Did he desire to be caught? Was he unintentionally beginning to slip-up? Or had his obsessions and a sense of morbid curiosity compelled him to take these risks? It seems rather obvious that he was taking risks, especially at LB and PH. I'm just wondering if they were calculated risks as opposed to risks derived from uncontrollable obsessions and/or compulsions? Where is John Douglas when you need him? LOL.


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 03:00 am:

Doug: I believe that Zodiac wanted to make that phone call in Napa. However, it would have been a redundant thing to do if he knew that the bodies had been discovered. Hence, he drove around LB for a time to see if immediate attention might have been drawn, and perhaps waited for the "aura phase"* to wear off a bit, then drove to Napa. If the scene had drawn immediate attention, I believe that, because he'd already tagged the car door, he would have bailed on the phone call idea.

*Dr. Joel Norris, in his book Serial Killers, claims that the "aura phase" is the first of the seven "phases of serial murder." However, he also claims that "once (serial killers) enter the aura phase they do not reemerge until after the crime has been committed." (p. 24, Serial Killers, Joel Norris, 1989, Anchor Books/Doubleday, NY, NY.)


By Mark Coombs (Mark) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 03:17 am:

Scott-good questions, I've often wondered the same thing-to what degree are his actions calculated and how much by the obsessive/compulsive while he commmitted the murders? (Also before and after the crime obviously) Also how close to his pre-crime fantasy did the murders come in reality? No matter how meticulous they're planned there have to be instances where things don't exactly the way they're supposed to. This is when the uncontrollable side would come to the forefront and slip-ups could be made. How quickly could he recover? This would be a good new thread. -Mark

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 08:33 am:

Scott, et al.,

Concerning rowing to the resort. I thought I just read that Ed said that Mr. Fong cut his engine to fish. I would have got back into my boat, restarted the engine and high tailed it. I wouldn't have rowed anywhere.

Tom F

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 12:37 pm:

Fife: Ed did say that Mr. Fong had cut his engine, and I acknowledged that in my next post. Yes, we are now in agreement that Mr. Fong didn't row to the resort.

But what did Zodiac do with that extra 25 minutes? I'm starting to feel pretty adamant that he remained in the park for the reasons that I've stated above. What does everyone else think?


By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 01:12 pm:

Like you said,hanging around would have been very risky.Zodiac was prepared to take risks
to kill,however I think it would be a bit too much
to hang around after this particular murder.This was an isolated area,not much activity at that time therefore any activity would probably stand out and be remembered!.One has to believe the phone call was always intended,he was repeating the events of the previous murder.Again the area and the time would probably mean it would be unlikely the victims would have been discovered in a hurry,despite what happened.
I'll bet he drove around the block after the Stine murder though :)

I don't know why but the time still bugs me.
Ed,you hit on my thinking.Why did Zodiac insist
on different times and dates unless they were important on some level.More later....

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 02:07 pm:


I see your msg now and how you were continuing off of Ed. You didn't explicitly mention the engine there and I didn't pick up on your intent.


I am not too sure how big a deal to make of Z's insistence on dates. Of course, I think he timed events to dates, but I have seen the murder assigned to anywhere from 11:55 on the 4th to 12:10 on the 5th. That's not something to squabble over. And concerning the Maple street to Cherry street thing, my memory is that he had Stine stop at Maple and that was the intended site, but there was some sort of commotion so he had him pull up a half a block or so, and to my understand not quite to Cherry. Of course, there are as many versions to these stories as there are tellers. Tom in his telling pulls up short of saying how he got up a block. I think Graysmith gave (invented?) a lot more detail.

Lost 25 minutes: I am wondering one thing about this part of the discussion. What do we think we are discovering by understanding what Z did in those 25 minutes? I wanted to get a sense of what this is up to, about, etc.

Concerning the time on the door: from the time I first read an account of this event I was under the impression that this was a time in his head. I had no sense that he stopped and checked his watch and then wrote it down. In fact, that makes zero sense to me as I try to get into Z’s mentations. If I were Z, I would have looked at my watch when I was behind the tree and putting on my hood (or perhaps before as I was starting out on the peninsula). I would have wanted to have the feel of the time in my bones when I came out to kill. I just get the sense all the time that Z was into time and having the right time. Hartnell said he tried to keep him talking, and Z kept saying he didn’t have the time to talk. It is as though he had in his mind the time and he wasn’t going to get deviated from that.

I think it is the same thing with the 4th or the 5th. He went there to kill on the 4th and if it spilled over to the 5th, well that didn’t matter. He was conscious of the time as he was doing it. He was killing on the 4th.

The same thing for Stine. He was conscious of the place: Maple street. The fact that it spilled over to Cherry didn’t matter. He had it in his mind that he was killing at Maple.

I have had a passing thought at times that perhaps Z got himself over the hump to kill by putting a deadline such as a specific time to himself and forcing himself to act accordingly. Otherwise, it would all be spoiled. The stars wouldn’t be right any more.

That is my reading of how his mind was working.

Tom F

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 05:24 pm:

Tom F: Z had a thing for time. Despite the tripe Gareth Penn wrote in Times 17, and despite the fact that it's only use is for a birdcage, he actually did discover something useful, believe it or not. On page 320, he points out that in the Badlands letter, Z wrote the word "time" first (on line 10), then the preceding words afterward. When you look at it, you can see that it's the only word that is out of kilter with the rest of the composition. Z also mentioned the word "time" three times in quick succession in the Confession letter:


When we look closely, we can see that he actually references time at least four more times:





Maybe the above is a stretch, but since Z seemed to harp on that concept, it must have been important to him in some way. Personally, I majored in history, so I tend to have a thing for dates and time, and my senior thesis was about ancient calendars. What about Z? Why was it apparently so important that he even wrote the time as well as the date on the car door?

As for those lost 25 minutes, the reason it's important is because it could give us an indication about something regarding Z. For instance, one suspect, who I am not at liberty to name (and he's NOT Robert Hunter!!!), owned property about a half hours' drive from the LB attack site.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:03 pm:

Ed, Zodiac could have went to McDonalds after LB and then went home. So perhaps he spent 15 in McD's and 10 ride home. What else is there on that one suspect who lives around 30 minutes away?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:08 pm:

Another point to consider is that once you hit city streets your pace is slowed down considerably. So if it's 25 minutes to Napa, consider the five to ten minutes it took him to get to his car, get out of his bloody clothes, write on Hartnell's car door, get away from the scene without getting a speeding ticket (ha ha), get to Napa, and then navigate the inevitable traffic lights and other obstructions until he reached the phone booth.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:09 pm:

Of course if it was Kaczynski he was probably camping somewhere near Berryessa, as he had no fixed abode in the area at the time, and he and his brother were notorious for taking long camping trips, actually living out of their car.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:46 pm:

Douglas: the 45 minutes via Monticello Road, and the 65 minutes via Pope Valley/PUC takes the slower city driving pace into account. I've driven both ways several times, and that's the approximate time. We're still left with 25 minutes (and if Z did get a traffic ticket, that might very well have taken 25 minutes, especially if the cop gave Z a sobriety test)...

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:49 pm:

Ryan: had Z driven farther and taken Jefferson instead of Soscol to the car wash, he would have driven through heartburn alley (although I don't know offhand if the Mickey D's that's there today was there 32 years ago). He'd still have the bloody clothing to change out of however...

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 08:18 pm:

Tom F. wrote: "Lost 25 minutes: I am wondering one thing about this part of the discussion. What do we think we are discovering by understanding what Z did in those 25 minutes? I wanted to get a sense of what this is up to, about, etc."

And that's all I'm trying to do. I'm hypothesizing that Zodiac had finally reached a point where he was taking unusual risks; risks that were also evident at the PH murder. If certain parallels can be drawn between LB and PH then perhaps we can gain an understanding as to the root of these risks. If it can be shown that Zodiac spent some time at LB before leaving for Napa, this could be regarded as another unnecessary risk. Then the question becomes one of motive and, perhaps, signature. Therefore, if we were able to discover what happened during those 25 minutes, we would be attempting to "try to get into Z’s mentations" as you so eloquently put it.


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 08:41 pm:

Scott, let me bring up Kaczynski one more time, not simply because I'm keen on him as a suspect, but because he's a known killer with a similar if not identical criminal signature, and we can use our knowledge of him to gain insight into Zodiac's possible state of mind.

In his writings, especially those relating to the events of 1966, Kaczynski was always torn between the desire to go out in a blaze of glory by "shooting it out with the cops" (as he put it) or killing in such a way that he could live to kill again. Zodiac's dalliance at PH and (possibly) at LB might have been the result of his simply tempting fate, and seeing how far he could take things without actually bringing them to a fatal denouement.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 09:02 pm:

Doug: I couldn't agree more. There are other possibilities: He could have subconsciously desired to be caught, or to "go out in a blaze of glory" as you suggested. But he might have also been "wallowing in the high," so to speak, and drifting in and out of the "aura phase." However, I'm inclined to believe that you were right when you said that he was tempting fate. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that he did want to have a shootout with the cops. It seems that his actions at LB(?) and PH demonstrate a certain recklessness; almost as if he were daring the police to catch him. Perhaps he was contemplating suicide and hoped that the police would take care of it for him.

Still pondering.


By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 10:52 pm:

"Suicide by cop" as they say nowadays.

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 11:51 pm:

It's hard to tell some times what is really going on inside someone's head.

Sometimes people get a sense of euphoria and feel invincible. Not that they are suicidal, but they have gotten away with murder (literally) so far. You start to feel like superman -- maybe in some sense, the invisible man. You just do what you want and walk away.

We have to remember that for all the risks he took. He did just walk away. And thirty years later we're still sitting here and talking about it all.

Tom F

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 12:42 am:

you seem to know a whole lot--you don't happen to be Zodiac do you??

By Mark Coombs (Mark) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 03:24 am:

I used to think that subconsciously he did want to be caught, but now I really think he had attained a feeling of invincibility. As far as a shootout with the cops, what better time than after the Stine murder? (I'm playing a bit of the Devil's advocate here) Did he have to be "cornered" first? If he'd wanted to do the "suicide by cop" all he would've had to do was to pull his gun then and there. I think that Zodiac was far too "evolved" to want to die at that point. He was getting closer to the immortal status he wanted. Maybe he did want to be mentioned alongside Jack the Ripper-and as Fife said 30 years later we're still talking about him!

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 03:46 am:

Any interest Z had in getting caught was simply so he could take credit for the "mastermind" crimes he had pulled off. Some criminals want to get caught because they can't take care of themselves outside. They get free meals and housing and to associate with other criminals, their kind of people. I doubt Z wanted to be in prison, or suicide by cop. If Z could have taken the credit but avoided the incarceration and the public backlash then he would have taken revealed himself.

By Mark Coombs (Mark) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 05:31 am:

Ryan-I'm not following you here-he was getting all of the credit for the "mastermind" crimes without being caught. Why would he have any interest IN being caught? The revealing of his true name even if he was hiding out underground overseas I doubt was something he was interested in! It would seem to me that he would want nothing to do with his "real" self being entered into the mix, it would tinge the "mystique" oriented personna he wanted for Zodiac. The two "selves" should never meet inotherwards.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 05:58 am:

What I meant is that his Zodiac persona was getting the credit, but in real life he was probably just some loser John Doe. He probably had horrible love life, didn't have many friends, and the people that knew him probably didn't think much of him. His Zodiac persona has this fear, celebrity, mystique about it, but the real life Zodiac was a loser. His desire to reveal his name, in his mind would have attached the infamous legacy that the Zodiac persona had, so then he would be feared, the center of attention, and he would finally somebody.

Thats why some of these people get caught. They've pulled of this big scam, and they want everyone to know how smart they are for pulling it off so they brag to a few people. But then get caught. Some have this unconscious desire to get caught so they can finally enjoy the fame.

Look at Manson. He knows he'll never get out, he's even said he has no place outside. He feeds off the attention he gets, the fear he spreads everytime he does an interview.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 07:18 am:

One of the things that make me believe there was more to the time on the door was the fact that it
MAY NOT be right at all and therefore holds some
Working back from the time the Stabbings were logged at the police station--7.13.
There are surely some time before that call by the Rangers to establish what exactly had occurred and what they were dealing with.
How long does it take someone in Hartnell's condition to "crawl" 300 yards.Before that he says
he had been tied for at least half an hour plus the time it took them to untie each other in their condition.Hartnell says that Cecelia regained consciousness and they both began yelling
This in turn would have had to be some time after Zodiac left.It's late afternoon,it's an isolated spot,one would imagine sound would carry some distance.Zodiac would surely have returned to finish the job had he heard screams.
The police say both were slipping in and out of
consciousness,it's also possible Hartnell did so earlier despite claiming he did not---he does admit a "slight haze in my memory".It would all certainly seem to rule out the stabbings taken place at 6:30 at least.
Maybe in conjunction with this we should consider
the phone call at 7.40 from Napa.Zodiac does something he did not do at BRS,he leaves the connection open(after BRS he hung up and then took the phone off the hook).Is it possible he wanted the call traced?.I think it may be a little week to suggest there,s some feeble attempt at Alibi here but who knows.
Then of course Ed's suspect with the property nearby comes into the equation.

By Mark Coombs (Mark) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 10:26 am:

Ryan-OK, I see what you were getting at and I agree he probably was some loser John Doe in real life. I think you're unclear on what I was saying.
Everything that you're describing-the fame, fear, the mystique, etc. he already had. It was much more than a garden variety "big scam" he was onto, he was into a real mind game. I think it's possible that he was such an introvert that as long as he was winning this psychological battle with the authorities it was enough. He'd been able to manifest most of his fantasies in real life (possibly more!) and I doubt he would've been the type to want to go to prison. Does this make any sense? Anyway, this is off topic-how about another thread? -Mark

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 11:34 am:


I am having problems getting onto a site that I know has some details I was looking for, but here goes.

I am having a little problem with the timing of events and the time on the door and this missing 25 minutes.

Here is a timeline I pieced together.

Time on door 6:30 PM
Sgt White told by park rangers at 6:55 PM
Sunset at 6:59 PM
reported at 7:10 PM
Civil Twilight ends and Night begins at 7:29 PM
Phone call at 7:40 PM
Narlow and Lonergan notified at 8:20 PM

First of all, between 6:30 and the discovery and radio call to Sgt. White was 25 minutes. How in the world did Hartnell struggle for a half hour and then crawl 300 yards (three football fields) in 25 minutes?

Second of all, if Zodiac mentally logged the time at 6:30 as he started down the path to the couple, then you have to back out the time it took to talk to them, tie them up and then to actually kill them, and the missing twenty-five minutes evaporates.

There is something wrong here. What am I missing?

I am inclined to dismiss the 6:30 as a real time and say that it is a magic time in his head.

Tom F

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 12:22 pm:

To anyone who knows where Zodiac Island really is.

If you know where Zodica Island is, could you take this URL and look at the topographical map there? I have placed a Red Cross on the peninsula that I think is the murder cite. Could you tell me if this it correct?


Tom F

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 12:50 pm:

Go to

Ed took pictures of the site during my last visit to the area.

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 01:52 pm:


I did and I was still confused. That's why I added the link to the map. I was comparing this photo you have here:
with the map. In the photo that spot where the car is parked does not look like it can be that spit of land spoken of and shown in Ed's site. Also, I am not seeing where that island-looking piece of land to the right in the picture can be.

Is there a loop in the drive at the base of the Zodiac peninsula like there is in the marked one on the map?

I am having trouble matching up the photos and the descriptions with the map and I was thinking that someone that has been there could identify the peninsula on the map.

Tom F

By Bruce (Bruce_D) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 03:11 pm:

LAPUNO, The reason Z left the phone off the hook in Napa is that he didn't want to get caught. If he left the phone off of the hook(like he did), nothing would happen. But if he hung it up like he did after BRS, the police would dial the number back that Z was calling from and the phone would star ringing just like it did in Vallejo after BRS and a black man looked over at him in the phone booth.
Bruce D

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 06:46 pm:

Scott, referencing your post above, here are two quotes from Kaczynski's journals that might be helpful:


For these reasons, I want to get my revenge in one big blast. By accepting death as the price, I won't have to fret and worry about how to plan things so I won't get caught. Moreover, I want to release all my hatred and just go out and kill. When I see a motorcyclist tearing up the mountain meadows, instead of fretting about how I can get revenge on him safely, I just want to watch the bullet rip through his flesh and I want to kick him in the face while he is dying. ... However, it would have been very temping to just hang on to my job at Prince Castle indefinitely, even though I have nothing to look forward to. The truth is, I don't want to die! [1979]


My first thought was to kill somebody I hated and then kill myself before the cops could get me. ... But, since I now had new hope, I was not ready to relinquish life so easily. So I thought, "I will kill, but I will make at least some effort to avoid detection, so that I can kill again." Then I thought, "Well, as long as I am going to throw everything up anyway, instead of having to shoot it out with the cops or something, I will do what I've always wanted to do, namely, I will go up to Canada, take off into the woods with a rifle, and try to live off the country. If that doesn't work out, and if I can get back to civilization before I starve, then I will come back here and kill someone I hate. [1966]

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 07:24 pm:

Tom F: the place you have marked is a little ways north of Zodiac Island. It's hard to tell how accurate the map is, because it doesn't appear to show the actual "island" (it's an island only when we've had a lot of rain, and we haven't had that much lately). Look for "Oak Shores Park" written in purple, and the peninsula immediately under the second "s" in "Shores" is Twin Oak Ridge. The peninsula immediately under that is McKenzie Ridge, and the next one south is Shale Point, the spot that Graysmith lead everyone to believe was the actual attack site (by description and map, but not by name). You can thank Ken Narlow for identifying the correct site! Immediately south of Shale Point is Foxtail Flat, a point of interest for Howard...

When you look closely at the peninsula, you'll see that it's rounded. On the northern side, there is actually a small inlet, with a low, narrow spit between the island and the mainland. Hartnell and Shepard were at the northern end of Z Island when Z attacked them.

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 09:16 pm:


Thanks a lot. I think I have it now. I compared this area of the map with Graysmith and it matches. This map has the red relocated to the tip of the larger, broaded peninsula:

It sounds like you are saying that the detail of that little piece of land at the point that is a sometimes island is lost on the scale of the map.

But this is only one half mile north of the park headquarters! I thought I read somewhere that it was 2 miles. And I have heard something about being 2 miles south of the resort. Those reported distances must be off then.


Tom F

By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 09:22 pm:

Tom F. wrote:
"First of all, between 6:30 and the discovery and radio call to Sgt. White was 25 minutes. How in the world did Hartnell struggle for a half hour and then crawl 300 yards (three football fields) in 25 minutes?

Second of all, if Zodiac mentally logged the time at 6:30 as he started down the path to the couple, then you have to back out the time it took to talk to them, tie them up and then to actually kill them, and the missing twenty-five minutes evaporates.

There is something wrong here. What am I missing?

I am inclined to dismiss the 6:30 as a real time and say that it is a magic time in his head."

I was at the Vallejo Library today looking up articles that appeared in the Vallejo Times-Herald regarding the Z crimes, and found an article which sheds some light on the LB timeframe. It appeared on the front page of the Times-Herald on Wednesday, October 6, 1969 (with an accompanying photo of Hartnell), with the headline "Victim Of Attack Better, Tells His Story In Hospital" and was written by Jane Smith.

-----beginning of excerpt-----
Hartnell said he believes the attack came in the late afternoon, maybe around 4:30 . . .

As the couple lay in agony Hartnell was finally able to untie Miss Shepard's hands with his teeth. She then freed him. A fisherman saw them from his boat and sent aid from park headquarters.

It was about 1 1/2 hours from the time they were stabbed until park rangers arrived. There was another hour's wait for an ambulance.
-----end of excerpt-----


By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 09:38 pm:

Tom F. wrote:
"But this is only one half mile north of the park headquarters! I thought I read somewhere that it was 2 miles. And I have heard something about being 2 miles south of the resort. Those reported distances must be off then."

More from my day of research (it was quite productive). From the article, "Girl Stabbing Victim Dies In Napa Hospital," written by Jane Smith and appearing on the front page of the Vallejo Times-Herald on Tuesday, September 30, 1969 comes the following:

"Celia [sic] Sheperd [sic], the 22-year old coed stabbed by a hooded killer at lake [sic] Berryessa Saturday, lost her fight for life at 3:45 p.m. Monday in Queen of the Valley Hospital. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sheperd [sic] of Riverside, were at her side when she succumbed to multiple stab wounds in flicted by an unknown assailant who attacked the girl and her boyfriend, Bryan Hartnell, 20, as they sat by the lakeside one-fourth of a mile north of park headquarters at an evening picnic.

Later in the same article was an interesting passage:

"'When he [the killer] stabbed the girl he laughed in a frenzy,' White said Hartnell told him."

This is the same article in which Ranger White attributes the following comment to Hartnell:

"Hartnell said, 'Please stab me first, I'm chicken, I couldn't stand to see her stabbed.'"


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 09:57 pm:

Doug: Thanks for the post. It may be that Kazinski and Zodiac had very similar states of mind prior to, and during, their killing sprees. (That is, assuming that they are not one in the same. Still pondering this possibility.) It certainly seems that they/he were/was not a serial killer except in the strictest definition of the term. At this point (though I still lean toward ALA), I'm still keeping ALL possibilities open for interpretation.

Tom F: Graysmith was simply (or intentionally) wrong in his book. Ken Narlow has said that "Zodiac Island" is only 7/10 of a mile north of the Reclamation Headquarters. This puts you right at the spot that Ed N described in his post. I was there this past April, and if it hadn't been for the assistance of a park ranger, I never would have found it. In fact, I still wasn't sure that I had found the right spot until Tom and Ed confirmed it for me while Tom was in the area this past May(?).

Spencer: That certainly is very interesting information that you posted. It would appear, from what you have posted, that it was approximately 6:00pm when Ranger Land came upon Bryan and Cecilia. This information throws everything out of whack. Somebody is obviously mistaken somewhere. Back to the drawing boards . . .


By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 09:57 pm:

Sorry to post a third time in a row, but I'm doing this to add to the point made in my previous e-mail regarding the distance Hartnell and Shepard were from LB HQ.

According to an article appearing on September 29, 1969 on the front page of the Vallejo Times-Herald:

"Capt. Townsend [of the Napa Sheriff's Department] gave this account of the stabbings from his interview with Hartnell:

"The couple drove to a point about one and one quarter miles north of the Lake Berryessa Park Headquarters and then walked toward the lake shore, about one quarter mile from the car."

In an article appearing on the front page of the Sunday Times-Herald the day after the attack, Sunday, September 28, 1969, entitled, "Young Couple Bound, Stabbed At Berryessa," the following was written regarding the distance:

"Victims of Saturday's bizarre knife attack, which occurred on the lakefront, about a mile-and-a-half from Lake Berryessa Park Headquarters, were Celia [sic] Shepherd [sic], 21 [sic], a junior at the University of California at Riverside, and Bryan Hartnell, also 21 [sic], and a junior at Pacific Union College, Angwin."

From the number of errors in the above passage, it is no wonder that so much false information about the Zodiac exists and continues to be spread.


By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 10:07 pm:


Thank you very much. I always say in research go back to source meterial!

That means all bets are off about the missing 25 minutes. It's a missing couple of hours.

That 6:30 was a magic time in his head? Sounds like it now.

Any other conflicting source material to this?

When I went back to Tom's posting of the police report on pages 9 and 10 we have the witness of those sunbathing girls. If that was him, then he would have left them and found Shepard and Harnell and done it right then. They say they saw him around 3:30 and he hung around for about 45 minutes or so and left, but they didn't notice just when.

Hmmm, could he have been psychic? :-) As it turns out 6:30 was not too far from the time they were discovered and a couple of hours beyond his activity.

But while we are at this lingering idea. What if he lingered waiting for them to get discovered and he didn't go and write on the door until Fong left for help!

Of course, that would have given him plenty of chances to finish them off, but maybe he didn't mind, on second thought, the idea of witnesses -- the way he was in costume and all. Maybe it would be good press for people to describe him doing his thing.

Tom F

By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 10:10 pm:

Scott wrote:
"Spencer: That certainly is very interesting information that you posted. It would appear, from what you have posted, that it was approximately 6:00pm when Ranger Land came upon Bryan and Cecilia. This information throws everything out of whack. Somebody is obviously mistaken somewhere. Back to the drawing boards . . . "

Unfortunately nothing about this case's timeline seems to add up. In one of the stories previously mentioned above, "Girl Stabbing Victim Dies In Napa Hospital," is the following account of Ronald Fong's discovery of Hartnell and Shepard and the initial arrival of Rangers at the scene:

"Berryessa Park Ranger Sgt. William White was the first to reach the young couple after park headquarters was notified of their plight.

"Fisherman Ronald Fong of San Francisco, with his 9-year old son, pulled his boat into an inlet near the isolated shore line about 6:30 p.m.

"He cut his motor and in the silence heard cries from Hartnell. He pulled his boat to within 20 yards of the shore and saw the couple, bloodied and crying out that they had been stabbed and robbed. Fearing trickery, Fong headed for Rancho Monticello to alert authorities. Park Rangers Dennis Landd [sic] and White were summoned.

"White said when he arrived at the scene Hartnell had freed himself from a rope which bound his hands and had crawled about 100 yards. Ranger Dennis Land brought him back to where Miss Shepherd [sic] lay 'writhing in agony.'"

So, the endless search for an accurate account of the events at LB on September 27, 1969 continues . . .


By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 10:13 pm:


By the topo map that I have it looks to be just about one half mile. The scale is on the bottom for reference.

look at this:

Tom F

By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 10:20 pm:

More fun with inaccuracies:

In "Lake Attacks Linked To Vallejo Slayings," Monday, September 29, 1969, on page one of the Vallejo Times-Herald appears the following:

"The sheriff's captain [Townsend] said the assailant wore a hood and left a note scribbled on paper in the couple's car, but the contents of the note were not revealed to newsmen."

So, contrary to the title of this part of the Message Board, we aren't talking about a "Car Door", but rather a paper note.


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 10:26 pm:

Spencer wrote: "So, the endless search for an accurate account of the events at LB on September 27, 1969 continues . . ."

Yes, it would seem so. However, I'm not sure how much credibility can be given to these reporters. After all, Ken Narlow said that the spot they were attacked at was 7/10 of a mile north of park headquarters. Not 2 miles, not 1 1/2 miles, 7/10 of a mile. I'll believe Narlow on this one. After all, he was there that night.

Additionally, the possibility still exists that Zodiac was the only one wearing a watch that evening. All the other references to time seem to be pure speculation: "about 6:30pm", "maybe about 4:30", etc.

I don't know, I wouldn't throw the time written on the car door out the window just yet.


By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 10:34 pm:

Scott wrote:
"I'm not sure how much credibility can be given to these reporters. After all, Ken Narlow said that the spot they were attacked at was 7/10 of a mile north of park headquarters. Not 2 miles, not 1 1/2 miles, 7/10 of a mile. I'll believe Narlow on this one. After all, he was there that night."

I agree with you on this, Scott. Ken Narlow was there in an official capacity, with the intent of solving the crime and eventually testifying in court as to the pertinent details. This alone leads me to believe that Narlow's account is as accurate as we are likely to find in this matter.


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 11:03 pm:

Gentlemen, remember that the stabbing was logged at 7:13 PM that evening. Other than Fong and his son, no one else had been near Z Island since Z left, and so Land and White did not arrive until sometime after 7:13. Thus, Hartnell and Shepard could not have been discovered at 6:00 PM.

It would seem that they arrived at Z Island about 4:30 that afternoon, Z approached them about 6:00 PM, and they spoke with him for some 10-15 minutes. They were therefore stabbed about 6:15, and Z must have taken a good 10-15 minutes to hike the 500 yards back to Knoxville Road, arriving about 6:30. Fong must have arrived as Z was writing on the car door, and he therefore had probably close to an hour's lead time on the authorities by the time they arrived. He must already have been in or close to Napa at that point. This timetable assumes 6:30 was the time that Z wrote on the car door, and not the time of the actual stabbing. If it was, then everything is moved forward by about 15 minutes, and there is only 10 minutes unaccounted for (which might be explained by Z driving extra slow along Monticello Road back to Napa).

As far as park HQ goes, I'd estimated Shale Point to be about 0.5 miles north, with Twin Oak Ridge about another 0.4 miles farther on (both by road). Narlow's 0.7 mile estimate is probably more accurate, and I suspect it's as the crow flies.

As far as Hartnell and Shepard being "two miles" north of park HQ, that came from Z when he called NPD.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 11:08 pm:

Douglas: I accidentally misspelled Kaczynski as "Kazinski" in a previous post. Sorry about that.


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 11:30 pm:

Thanks Ed, that certainly clears up a few things for me. However, the stabbing was logged at the Napa Sheriff's Office at 7:13pm, not at park HQ or Rancho Monticello Resort. Land and White were probably on their way to the site at 7:13pm, but probably hadn't arrived just yet.

Also, according to Ranger Land, he was the one who initially came upon Bryan, and he (Land) is also the one who claimed that Bryan had crawled 300 yards from the murder scene. I acquired this information, which was quoted from Land, in Graysmith's book on page 74. I realize that Mr. Graysmith is prone to errors, but I doubt that even he could screw up a quote.


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 12:12 am:

Quite right that NSD logged it at 7:13. I had always assumed that once Fong raised the alarm, someone immediately contacted NSD to inform them of the incident, and probably park HQ as well (or the call was relayed to them from NSD). Look back on page 73 of Zodiac: Land and White were in their patrol car "three miles away" (from Rancho Monticello?) when they got the call from park HQ, and Land dropped White off there, who went by boat to Z Island while Land continued on in the car. So when he said he "found the boy," he wasn't the first to find him (Fong was), but found him after he had crawled up to the jeep trail.

By Mark Coombs (Mark) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 02:33 am:

Thanks for posting the map Fife and nice work on the articles Spencer, once again so many examples of eyewitnesses, reporters and law enforcement conflicting on everything. Distance is in the eye of the beholder it appears! I certainly loved Townsend's account of "note scribbled on paper in the couple's car"-simply amazing! It looks like Narlow had his hands full sifting through everything. It's actually a little strange that Hartnell and Shepard's cries for help weren't heard at the park headquarters with sound carrying so well over water. -Mark

By Zoe Glass (Zoe_Glass) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 08:07 am:

Fife , Is "magic time" possibly a result of a corrected calendar? If so could the compass
also have been corrected?

Lampumo, There surely seems to be more information than the obvious, and such is the whirlwind of this case.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 04:23 pm:

Mark: I doubt that Bryan and Cecilia's cries for help would have been heard at the Reclamation Headquarters. First of all, HQ was over a half mile from their position. Secondly, there are many peninsulas, inlets, and hills, that could have easily "trapped" the sound of their voices. Finally, although I could be wrong about this, I believe it is possible that nobody would have been at LB HQ after 5:00pm that evening. After all, I'm quite certain that September 27th would be considered "off season" at LB. Therefore, it is possible that park HQ would have been closed at the time. This could be the reason that Mr. Fong went to Rancho Monticello Resort -- which is substantially farther away -- instead of park HQ. Perhaps ED N, who is familiar with the area, could verify this information.

Spencer: I also appreciate the articles that you posted. They are filled with food for thought, despite the many inaccuracies.

Tom F: The topographical maps are great! Thanks for posting them. Now everybody can get an idea of how huge Lake Berryessa is. It probably took Zodiac a considerable amount of time to "troll" for his victims. It makes me wonder if Z had been there "trolling" for a few consecutive days before finally finding his intended targets? When I was there this past April, I only saw a handful of people in the entire day, and all of them were fisherman and boaters -- NO COUPLES! (Except for my wife and I.)

I'm still hypothesizing that Zodiac was wearing a watch that day. I'm going to find out if Hartnell ever mentioned this in any of his statements. Perhaps it was something that he remembered. How strange would it be if he recalled Z wearing a Zodiac watch? However, I'm sure that such a detail would have been discussed before. We'll see.

Ed N: As always, your contributions to this discussion are informative and greatly appreciated. I'm positive that the time discrepancies can, and will, be figured out eventually.


By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 05:51 pm:


Were Shepard and Harnell Jewish?

It is recorded that they went to worship on Saturday morning 27 Sep 69.
This day was Sukkot [Feast of Tabernacles]
This holiday officially ends at sundown.

What holiday was he killing on? Sukkot? Was he killing Jews on a Jewish holiday?

This begs two issues:
Was this the reason for him to want to get it done and record a time before sundown? While it was still the holiday?
Also, does this show that he really did know all of his victims?

So does anyone know if they were Jewish or not?

Tom F

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 06:56 pm:

I doubt that they're Jewish. Pacific Union College is a Seventh Day Adventist college.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 07:30 pm:

The appellation "Seventh Day Adventist" itself refers to the preservation of the celebration of the the Sabbath on Saturday, as in the Judaic tradition, and that faith observes some other aspects of Judaism, perhaps including Sukkot. The importance of that time of the year in the Adventist calendar and history is certainly on a par with that of Judaism. Interesting 7ynchronicity.

By Zoe Glass (Zoe_Glass) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 07:57 pm:

Fife, Thought provoking question.I don't know what their faith was, that's not always determined
by school . How ever Sept 27 ,1969 was a Coptic holiday Link at Orthodox old calendar, but first take notice of October 12.....zcyncronite....but only 2 of 4.
Its also interesting to compare the calendar corrections of old and new world Coptic calendars.

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 08:59 pm:


I am familiar with the Orthodox Julian feast days, but I passed over the Old Calendar Elevation of the Cross as on the unaccessible side to the average Joe. I could see Sukkot if the guy had been around Jews, particularly Jewish children growing up.

But there are a lot of conservative Russian Orthodox in the Bay area, though.

Seventh Day Adventist college, huh?

What is it that Winnie the Pooh says? Think, Think, Think... :-)

Tom F

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 09:12 pm:

This is a quote from the Seventh Day Adventist web site.

"Time Frame of the Sabbath. Biblical Data: The Sabbath starts at the end of the sixth day of the week and lasts one day, from evening to evening (Gen 1; Mark 1:32). This time coincides with the time of sunset. Wherever a clear delineation of the time of sunset is difficult to ascertain, the Sabbath keeper will begin the Sabbath at the end of the day as marked by the diminishing light."

I think we might be onto something here, if we want to pursue the idea that Z knew his victims in some manner and it was more like stalking than trolling.

Tom F

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 09:57 pm:

This is getting way off topic.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 10:56 pm:

Tom F wrote: "I think we might be onto something here, if we want to pursue the idea that Z knew his victims in some manner and it was more like stalking than trolling."

Before we go on with this Jewish* angle, has anybody considered that the probability that Z knew Bryan and Cecilia are probably say, 1 in a 1,000,000. A few factors to consider:

Aren't chances pretty good that an intelligent fellow like Bryan Hartnell would have recognized the guy's voice if he had known him? Even if Zodiac was just an acquaintance? I think I would.

Bryan and Cecilia had only intended to go to LB as an after thought, right? Do you really think either one of them stopped to tell anybody where they were going? Even if they had spoken to somebody about going to Lake Berryessa (Which I doubt. IMHO, going out with a girl is something you tell the fellas about after the date, not while the date is in progress.), do you realize how large that park is? You could spend a tremendous amount of time trying to locate somebody, even if you found their parked car.

Granted, some of this is just my opinion. But if you take a hard look at Harnell's testimony, you'll discover that there is no getting around the fact that at no time did he ever discuss the possibility of knowing the suspect. Furthermore, because a good majority of homicides occur between people who are familiar with one another, you have to believe that a smart cop like Ken Narlow would have asked Bryan if he recognized the suspect's voice. Am I right?

All "Zynchronisms"** aside here, it seems to me that Lake Berryessa serves as the perfect example of a crime committed by Zodiac in which in can be rationally concluded that Z did not know his intended victims.

For what it's worth.


*No slang use was intended here.
**Sorry Ed, I couldn't remember how to spell that coolly coined word of yours.

By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 11:16 pm:

Scott wrote:
"Bryan and Cecilia had only intended to go to LB as an after thought, right? Do you really think either one of them stopped to tell anybody where they were going? Even if they had spoken to somebody about going to Lake Berryessa (Which I doubt. IMHO, going out with a girl is something you tell the fellas about after the date, not while the date is in progress.), do you realize how large that park is?"

I agree that Bryan and Cecilia probably represent Z's most random victims. I'll pass along the following account of their day which I found in a Vallejo Times-Herald article:

"Friends of Miss Shepherd [sic] said she and Hartnell dated when both attended Pacific Union College last year, and Saturday's meeting was a sort of reunion 'for old times' sake.'

"The Shepherd [sic] girl came to Angwin over the weekend to visit coeds with whom she had been friends while in college.

"Friends of Hartnell and Miss Shepherd [sic] said the pair drove around Napa in the morning and early afternoon, then went to St. Helena. The friends said they saw the couple last around 3:30 p.m."

("Young Couple Bound, Stabbed At Berryessa," Vallejo Times-Herald, 28 September 1969, 1.)

So, what we have here appears to be a random "reunion" occurring during a random weekend visit, in a random location.


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 11:59 pm:

Spencer wrote: "So, what we have here appears to be a random "reunion" occurring during a random weekend visit, in a random location."

Yep, that's my take on the situation.


By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 01:40 am:


First of all, I don't consider this as way off topic because it is directly concerning the meaning of the 6:30 writing on the car door. But if you feel strongly about it, then we can start a parallel sub-thread just about the meaning of 6:30 on the door.

I don't know if you caught the fact that I dropped the Jewish angle and kept the Seventh Day Adventist.

Also, I in no wise consider Hartnell as knowing the perp, but Shepard. And it might not be so much that she knew him as he knew her. You know how un-requited love is. [I personally know a guy that hunted down and tried to kill a girl that jilted him from 10 years in the past!] You must remember that she was from the Riverside area. If we are still keeping alive the coal that Z was the killer in the Bates killing, then how can we ignore these coincidences?

BTW, I want one and all to realize that I am not emotionally married to any of this. I am casting about for meanings in this morass of what seems to be half-pursued investigations.

Right now I think so many personal theories seem to focus on 6:30. I agree that this is a singular clue. But also right now I am extremely keen to investigating this SDA connection. Folk, do you realize that there is a page on the SDA web site to accurately calculate sunset at any lat and long so they can accurately determine the beginning and end of Sabbath?

We have a perp here that insisted that he didn’t have time to talk. This is the only time I know of that Z insisted on the time of day. This is also the only time that it made a difference because they would have quickly passed their holy day within a half hour. Actually, I’ll retract that a little: 7:00 was to Shepard as 12:00 was to Ferrin – as far as timing and holidays.

If you want to talk about probabilities, then what of the probability that a woman is murdered and connected with Z 4-5 hundred miles away from another woman who was murdered who lived just a few miles from the first woman and also possibly linked to Z?

That is a little more astronomical probability.

Like I said, if this is true or likely, then we are talking about stalking and not trolling -- that the victims were not accidents. These are two different animals. And it makes all the difference in the world in how we look at the evidence.

I would say if anyone has input to show that this is a dead end investigation and it’s old ground and cold and dry, then let’s hear it.

Like I said. I am a scientist and I look for cold, hard facts and not moon glow hypotheses. There is no hypothesis that I might advance that I might equally quickly stomp into the dust if the facts direct otherwise.

Tom Fife

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 02:44 am:

Tom Fife wrote: "Like I said. I am a scientist and I look for cold, hard facts and not moon glow hypotheses. There is no hypothesis that I might advance that I might equally quickly stomp into the dust if the facts direct otherwise."

You honestly don't consider the "SDA" angle a "moon glow" hypothesis? Where are the facts to support this claim? Because she attended a school that was affiliated with SDA and Zodiac wrote 6:30pm on the car door? Seems like a coincidence to me; especially if you take into consideration that sunset on that evening was, as you said, at 6:59 that particular evening. Why didn't Zodiac write 6:58pm on the car door then? Especially if this information is as known to SDA members as you claim it is? The time of sunset could have been easily obtained from the Farmer's Almanac, right? So why would Z go through the trouble of trying to make a correlation between the murders at LB and the SDA and then screw it up?

Honestly, I'm not trying to be derisive. Actually, I find it pretty interesting. However, the facts, as I see them, suggest that LB was a random incident. I'm all for unearthing new facts, but I simply don't find any known facts that suggest that Cecilia knew her killer.

I'm willing to adjourn to a new thread on this subject. Every hypothesis has its share of Devil's advocates. I'm man enough to stand corrected if proven wrong.


By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 07:48 am:


Well, it comes down to a question of stalking or trolling.

What evidence, what facts do we have on each side of that line?

Tom F.

By Zoe Glass (Zoe_Glass) ( - on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 08:02 am:

Fife, Interesting findings. It's time to start a new thread or ten. Keep in mind Tom has nicely organized that which could easily be lost in what must be nearly equivalent to a 50,000 page document.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 09:07 am:

This is all very interesting. Let me just recount an experience I had. Just recently, I served on a jury for a murder case, and on that jury was a wise older SDA woman from Loma Linda. She noticed I had Graysmith's book one day in the lunchroom and she told me how she had known Cecilia Shephard, how the murder devastated the small tight knit SDA community of Loma Linda, she said that Dr. Bailey (remember the great SDA Dr. who transplanted the Babboon heart??) spoke at the funeral, she remembered so very much. Then she mentioned the murder of Cheri Jo, and she recounted how many believed Cecilia may have known Cheri, (they only lived 10 minutes away from each other and were about the same age), she said people in her community were drawing a connection between Cheri and Shephard long before the Police ever had!
Scott: I found it interesting you kept looking at the connection from Hartnell's point of view, of course the familiarity would have been from Shephard's side if it were to have been a stalking situation and it would not have been hard to have followed them up there, watched where they parked and found them without having previous knowledge of their plans -- that is what stalking is all about -- finding out one's plans.
It also is in no means necessary for Shephard to have "known" him by voice, another aspect of stalking -- that the victim often only remotely knows of the stalker. There was a case in the news last year where a man back East killed a girl he'd had in 1 high school class, they had never spoken to each other, but he knew everything about her, even had a web site dedicated to her.
As has been mentioned Law Enforcement stats will tell you that there is always a much higher chance the victim knew his/her perp in some way, so putting it all together, I doubt Zodiac was "trolling" for victims.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 09:46 am:

Sylvie, in a large urban area such as we see in southern California, it's a sure bet that millions of people live within ten minutes of each other.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 11:16 am:

Let's take this to the new thread I've created in the "General Discussion" section entitled, Did Zodiac Stalk His Victims Or Troll For Them?

See y'all there . . .

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 12:52 pm:

Yeah, but they are not ALL Zodiac victims.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 01:02 pm:

We are also talking about the late 60's, at that time Loma Linda was tiny (it still is a small SDA enclave),
and Riverside way back then was very sparsely populated. I remember it well. This is not L.A. we are talking about here, miles from it.
It also should be noted that Riverside itself is permeated with the SDA religion--there La Sierra SDA college in S. Riverside as well as many, many churches. This area is to the SDA's what Provo-Salt Lake is to the Mormons.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 07:42 pm:

Sylvie: Please e me.Thanks. Howard

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, July 27, 2001 - 11:16 pm:

Sylvie:Since I can't seem to get a response from you on your e I will try here again. I had some papers scanned to your e -please view.

By ScottN (Scottn) ( - on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 06:35 pm:

I've been reading this thread for a year now; it's a shame that it was dropped. Thought I'd put in my two cents.

Here is what is conclusively (as least so far as the police report) known about what happened 9/27/69 at Lake Berryessa.

Note: The temperature in Santa Rosa (the closest city for which data could be found) on 9/27/69 was a high of 75 and a low of 55.

2:00 pm: Hartnell picks up Shepard in St. Helena. Police Report, p. 4

Starting at 3:00 pm: Three PUC female students see a man observing them on Knoxville Rd. two miles north of the A+W [but south of the crime scene], and on the beach below the road. The man first arrives when he approaches their parked car from the south and backs his light blue Chevrolet up to be close to their car. They go down to the beach; he comes down about 30 minutes later and walks past them. Man wears a SHORT sleeve black shirt and black pants and is about 6’0”-6’2” 200-220. At 4:20, the students return from the beach. The man’s car is gone. Report, p.p. 9-10, 28

5:15: John __ and Marylin __ see Hartnell and Shepard in Hartnell’s Ghia driving past them, going south on Knoxville Rd. about a mile south of the Marina [near to, but probably north of the crime scene]. Report, p. 11 However, Hartnell’s car ends up parked on the NORTH-BOUND (eastern) side of the road, implying that he may have driven further south and turned around. Report, p. 15

6:00 (?) According to Hartnell, Zodiac is with he and Shepard for 15 minutes between time of observation and his departure, and there is one hour between the stabbing and help arriving. Report, p. 24.

6:30: From 100 yards away, the dentist and his son observe a man 8/10’s of a mile south of the crime scene. Man was wearing a LONG sleeve black shirt [according to Hartnell, man was wearing a “light-weight windbreaker, dark blue or black”-- Report p. 23], possibly with red in it and black trousers. Man was not carrying anything. Man is about 5’10” heavy build. (Note: Hartnell described assailant as 5’8”-6’0” 200-250 pounds. Report, p. 24) The dentist-siting location is several coves away from the crime scene. Report, p.p. 5-6.

6:30: Zodiac writes on the car door.

6:55: Ranger White receives a call about the stabbing while on patrol and proceeds to crime scene. Report, p. 6.

7:40: Slaight receives the phone call from the Zodiac from a booth at Main and Clinton in Napa. Report, p. 32.

Couple of points. First, it appears beyond a doubt that there was a comparatively short time between Hartnell and Shepard’s arrival and their stabbing. If Hartnell is right; that is, if Z was there for 15 minutes, and if it was another hour until help arrived after the two were stabbed, the most likely interpretation is that Zodiac arrived at 6:00 pm and stabbed them at 6:15. Since they were still driving at 5:15 (and since they may have driven further south and turned around and since, in any event, their walk to the water would have taken ~10 minutes), they were likely there no more than 30 minutes prior to Zodiac’s approach and maybe significantly less.

There is evidence that Hartnell had used more than one condom that day. Since they had left St. Helena at 2:00 pm—and give them 45 minutes to get to the lake--what were they doing between 2:45 and 5:15? Is it possible they’d stopped somewhere else by the lake earlier in the day and had sex? Isn’t that more likely than having it twice between 5:30 and 6:00?

Second, the temperature was somewhere around 70 degrees and yet three sets of people witnessed a man dressed in ALL BLACK with the same general description of height and weight. Given the time of the year, the evident sparseness of the crowd, and the matching descriptions of suspicious behavior (girls: he looked at us and then looked away; dentist’s son: he turned and walked up the hill when he saw me), I find it hard to believe that both groups of people did not see the Zodiac.

But IF the dentist and son saw him (which was possible if the stabbing had taken place at 6:15) what was he doing 4/5 mile down the road? Looking for additional prey? Or, is it possible that the dentist had been in the same place as the girls a few hours earlier? Had Zodiac left something there? Had Shepard and Hartnell been in the same location at some point? Note that Z would still have had time to drive back to Napa.

I hope Tom and Scott and others will forgive me but I still think that something’s missing in the timeline of this case, much as you guys did two years ago.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, September 12, 2003 - 02:38 pm:

Good post and you DON'T need forgiveness-not from those guys and other Zosters,as they are always rethinking every detail of each Z crime,which is great!
It displays you are not just standing mentally pat,but are willing to reexamine the LB crime details.It is appreciated.
Whoever the stranger was the three females(the three did give varying depictions of height, weight and age when ALL the reports are compared)saw at the A&W and later at the lake- it wasn't Zodiac-or at least the car he was driving.
The students all agreed on the type of car he was driving as viewed at the A&W.As I posted in the past,the distance or inches,between wheels,of this make and year of car(I carefully checked this out)was NOT the same as the wheel to wheel measurements from the tire tracks discovered to the rear of BH's Ghia.As a mattter of fact,the distance was off by several inches!The police felt that those tracks were left behind by the perps car.
Since the tires were so worn and at least some were of different sizes-this COULD indicate it was not the car the three females saw earlier as they all described it as being in really'good condition' and conservative in appearance.One would think the tires of the perps car would be in good conditon also.FYI

By ScottN (Scottn) ( - on Friday, September 12, 2003 - 03:44 pm:

Thanks Howard. I was completely unaware that the light blue Chevy's left-right wheel width did not match the tracks found behind (south of) Hartnell's Ghia. I'm assuming you researched the specs on 2-door '67-'68 Chevys to conclude this? Quite interesting.

You are correct in your characterization of the matching girls' description of the car. It is apparent from the report that the three were interviewed separately, apparently by Townshend and Snook. Where I disagree with you a little is that the three seemed to generally agree on the man's appearance, allowing for normal ranges in height and weight. What struck me is that they agreed on his dress (including a white T-shirt possibly hanging out in back), on his facial appearance and on the curiously "neat" hair, whose part remained a statute even in the face of an afternoon breeze. Hmmm...

I continue to believe that it is unlikely that two perverts, somewhere around 30, with the same general build, dressed in black on a sunny day were stalking in the same general area of a lake with 125 miles of shoreline. When I was up there in June, such a man would have stuck out like a sore thumb.

But if the cars don't match, what does that leave us with?

Final note: in the 10/6/69 Vallejo Times-Herald story "Victim of Attack Better Tells his Story in Hospital", Hartnell says the attack came at about 4:30 pm. (See July 11, 2001 post above). Was Hartnell wrong about the time because he and CS had been somewhere else on the lake eariler in the day?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, September 12, 2003 - 09:44 pm:

Since I don't have all my papers at the office, I can give you the three female LB witnesses' age(with one weight calculation) estimates of the stranger or peeper.
Dean Cole of Pacific Union College said(prior to the Land interview) the girls "... described the subject as approximately 40 years old..."!Remember,they said in another interview he was 26 and one said 28 and another says 35.
Another report says they went as high as 230lbs(another estimate was 200lbs).
To me, 40 years old is not that close to 26 years old.
One theory would be this peeper was just that,and he just happened to be at the lake the same day Z struck later on that day.
Another very unpopular view was that this stranger was an 'associate' of the perp.
For sure, those auto tire tracks behind BHs car did NOT represnt the same car that was at the A&W.earlier in the day.I "very carefully" checked this out as I already posted.

By ScottN (Scottn) ( - on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 01:16 am:

Howard: Since I think it's an important point, I'll quote from the actual interviews in the police report (which are the best evidence of what the girls said, notwithstanding Dean Cole).

"9/29/69 - 1445 hours - The three young ladies came into the office and were interviewed by R/O Sgt. Lonnergan, Sgt. Snook and Capt. Donald Townsend."

1. Joanne Marie ___, 21 year old, stated subject was "6' tall, weighing 200/210 pounds, muscular build." No age estimate is attributed to Joanne in the report.

2. Linda ___, 22 year old, stated subject was "approximately 28 years of age, 6' to 6'2" tall, 220/225 pounds."

3. Linda Lee ___, 21, stated subject was "6 feet tall, stocky build, about 200 pounds" and "guessed his age at approximately 30 years."

These statements appear at pages 9-10 of the report and are corroborated by handwritten notes (apparently made by Townsend) on p. 28 of the report.

These separately-made statements evince a HIGH degree of uniformity-- a man somewere between 200 and 225 pounds around 30 years of age.

I just don't think that there are the kind of variations that you posit.

It is true that on p. 8 of the report, the PUC Dean is quoted as saying the girls said the subject was "approximately 40 years old." However, this is precisely why the law has a hearsay rule. Again, the fact that the two of the three girls independently put his age at 30 is far more significant. I think they saw the Zodiac.