Other attacks very similar to Kathleen Johns case:1971
-I found an article in the 5/25/71 Argus newspaper,its pretty interesting.
In the town of WATSONVILLE,CA, a woman was driving late at night. She passed a car that was parked along side the road. The car started to follow her. She stopped, and the guy approached her car,but she was frightened when the man got up to her car.She drove off,and the man followed her. He started shooting at her car,and several bullets hit her car. The guy was described as 5ft9, and in his 30's. 17 bullets hit her car.SHOTS ON THE HIGHWAY -- AN 'INSANE FACE'
A woman motorist escaped uninjured early
yesterday after he car was hit by 17 bullets fired
by a "horribly insane looking" gunman.
Mary Elizabeth Grant, 36, of Flagstaff, Ariz.,
said the shooting took place about 3 a.m. during
a high-speed chase on the Cabrillo Highway, five
miles north of Watsonville.
The bullets were .22 caliber causing police
to speculate that the gunman could be the same man
who killed Karen Ann Signore, 21, a hitchhiker in
Santa Barbara two weeks ago.
Mrs. Grant said she was driving to the home of
friends in Watsonville when she passed an old, light
colored Ford sedan parked along the highway. The car started up
and followed her, almost bumper-to-bumper, she said. It
occurred to her that the driver might be in trouble, she said, and
so she stopped and rolled down the window.
"He looked in the window," she said, "and he
had the most horribly insane looking face I've ever
seen." Mrs. Grant said she gunned her car and "got out
But the man pursued her and started shooting,
she said, until she took the Watsonville turnoff.
She arrived at the police station with a flat tire
and 17 bullet holes in the back of her car.
Mrs. Grant descibed the sniper as being in his
30s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and with light brown
- This stewardess was attcked in 1970 in the Redwood City area. The article doesnt mention what was wrong with the car,only that it was disabled. Was the car sabotaged? And a 'good samaritan' comes along somehow in the right place at the right time, and offers to help,only to attack her. I have reached out to this woman to see if it was ever solved or if the car wound up being deliberately disabled. His age matches the Johns attacker.
I had spoken with this female victim, and will share some excerpts of what she told me regarding her attacker-
* He was 25-30 years old
* "not an imposing figure", he was about 5ft8
* "He was dressed the way most people did at that time which was very ordinary. He didn't seem to be a hippy but not a college student either. Just a regular unassuming looking guy"
*The car he drove was BLUE.
She got back to me regarding a few other items... including carmake, model, and if her attacker wore glasses. She said that she did see the Zodiac sketch & Lake Berryessa sketch i sent her, and she didnt think her atatcker looked alot like either of them.
She did say a couple real interesting things....first off, she remembered his license plate # and repeated it back to me. My question is, is there anyway to look up license plate numbers from so long ago, and does anybody have contacts to do it?
Also, she states that a few days after the attack, she was called in by San Mateo police to look at a lineup of suspects ,and she actually pointed somebody out. Police told her that the man she pointed out was recently out of jail, and that his girlfriend had just broken up with him. She can not recall his name, but she DOES recall the police telling her that he confessed to being her attacker. She didnt know what happened to him, she assumed he went back to jail, and that was the end of it for her.
Lastly, she did not think that her car was sabotaged. She knew that she had an issue with her alternator but drove anyhow and then it killed the battery. She doesnt think he had any part of the car breaking down.
This was the stewardess' full account:
Dear Mr. Morford,
You can imagine how surprised I was to get your letter today. When I saw the words, Zodiac Killer, my heart really started to pound. I read the letter that you wrote as well as the article about me from the San Mateo Times. Although someone had mentioned it to me I had never seen the story. All the feelings of panic came rushing back and all I could think was could it possibly be that I actually came face to face with the Zodiac Killer.
After reading your letter several times I think, probably not. The pictures that you enclosed shows a man with a bit of refinement and in the photograph, even handsome.(I Had sent her the Z sketches from SF and BERRYESSA)
The man I encountered was fairly close in age to me. Maybe mid twenties, he was not an imposing figure. I don't remember him being very tall; maybe 5'8". He was dressed the way most people did at that time which was very ordinary. He didn't seem to be a hippy but not a college student either. Just a regular unassuming looking guy
A few days following the incident the San Mateo Police department had me come in for a line up. The person I identified was a man who had recently been released from prison or jail and his girlfriend had broken up with him. I think I was probably an opportunity.
My car broke down because of my own mistake. There was an alternator problem that I had not tended to and the battery just died even as I was driving.
I do not know his name but I do remember the police told me that he confessed. I don't know what happened after that. I can only assume that he went back to jail but I could be wrong.
I remember that his car was blue, and that the car tags was CDM 825. I remembered to look at it and commit it to memory. My father bought CDM coffee from time to time so that was easy to remember.
The knife that he held next to my neck was I would later learn was probably of the switch blade variety although not really long as I have seen in movies.
I hope that I have been some help and I hope you succeed in your research. there are a lot of unexplained and unsolved mysteries. The Zodiac Killer being one of the most terrifying.
The guy I encountered did not wear glasses. I remember a regular build that I would not call stocky. The only thing I remember about the car was that it was blue but we were under fluorescent or mercury vapor light so color may not have been accurate. I do remember thinking that people in blue cars are nice but I think I reported it as red. Memory and fear produce uneven results.
He did ask me to pop the hood and that he would see if he could see anything. I said I didn't think he would but go ahead and take a look. He did put the hood back down.
When he came back to me was when he said I'll take you home. I told him no that I wanted to stay with the car when actually I was getting scared at this point. Stewardess training taught us early on never go to the second location. After a couple more pleasant offers he put his arms over the window and put the knife next to but not touching my neck and demanded that I get out of the car. When the other car passed I blew the horn, my battery was so weak that I was surprised that it actually made a sound. He got distracted and I started screaming. He fled but not before I got his tag #. This next part is not much better but funny in a twisted sort of way. The car stopped, I ran over to it and said "help I'm being accosted by a man with a knife". The driver and his cohorts were all drunk and with slurred words said come on, get in we'll take you to the police. I am now in a night mare but shortly thereafter I was rescued by a taxi driver who did take me to the police department which was a short ride away.
I was so tiny at the time I would not have had a chance with anyone determined to do harm.
Wow. I remember that I was very jumpy for a long time but eventually those feelings passed.
My event actually took place in front of the county courthouse in Redwood City which apparently is populated by would be murderers and drunks at night.