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Cheri Jo Bates: Wikis


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Cheri Jo Bates (1948 - 1966) was a freshman student at Riverside Community College who was murdered on the campus of the educational institution, on the day before Halloween, October 30, 1966. She was a graduate of Ramona High School, formerly a varsity cheerleader,[1] and an honor student there.[2] Bates' slaying has been linked to the Zodiac killer murders, which occurred in northern California in the late 1960s. Steve Hodell, in his book Most Evil, claims that his father, George Hodel, killed Bates.[3]


Crime Scene

An autopsy on Bates' body revealed that she had given quite a struggle to escape from her killer. A janitor found her body at approximately 6 a.m. She had been stabbed numerous times in the lungs, arms, throat, and face. Her corpse was lying sprawled face down on a dirt driveway, adjacent to a frame bungalow storage facility at the periphery of the campus quad. Bates was clothed in a print blouse and salmon colored capri pants. The clothes appeared undisturbed but were soaked in blood. Bates' yellow compact car was parked one hundred yards away. Its ignition wiring had been pulled loose but the ignition key was in place. Three library books on the subject of United States government were lying on the auto's front seat. Police theorized Bates' murderer disabled her car and then waited for her to come back from the college library on the Sunday night. He surprised her as she attempted to start her car.

Murder aftermath

Bates' father, a machinist employed at the Corona, California Naval Ordnance Laboratory, filed a missing person report. He did so after one of Bates' girlfriends told him that Bates said she was going to the library that evening. Bates resided with her father at 4195 Via San Jose. Her mother lived in Riverside also, but was separated from the father. Bates had a brother who was serving in the United States Navy.[1]

Links to Zodiac Killer

Paul Avery, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, followed the Zodiac case from the outset. In 1970 he found communications more than a year old from the Riverside police, which indicated a resemblance to the Zodiac's handwriting style. By then Zodiac claimed fourteen victims although only five were attributed to him. It was hypothesized that the Zodiac killer may have been from Riverside and later moved to the San Francisco area.[2] One of the clues was a set of lower case initials, r h, below a macabre poem which was scratched into a desk at Riverside Community College. This was found six months after Bates' murder. The handwriting carved into the desk matched that written on three letters sent to the San Francisco Chronicle. It is especially like the handwriting on the envelopes. Riverside police noted a likeness between Bates' slaying and that of a young couple murdered at Lake Berryessa.[4]


  1. ^ a b Coed Stabbed to Death on Riverside College Campus, Los Angeles Times, November 1, 1966, pg. 3.
  2. ^ a b Evidence Links Zodiac Killer to '66 Death of Riverside Coed, Los Angeles Times, November 16, 1970, pg. A1.
  3. ^ Most Evil (Avenger, Zodiac, and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hill Hodel), Steve Hodel with Ralph Pezullo, E.P. Dutton, New York, New York, September 2009, pp. 110 - 119.
  4. ^ Zodiac Tie To Riverside Slaying Confirmed, Los Angeles Times, November 17, 1970, pg. A1.


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