In late November 1966, police in Riverside, Cal. received a typed letter addressed to the "Homicide Squad." The anonymous author wanted his letter to be shared with both the local Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper, as well as shared with the Riverside chief of police, who at the time was a man named Lambert Kinkead.
Below: The author of the letter confessed to killing a Riverside coed named Cheri Jo Bates, who had been murdered on her local college campus the previous month:
Below: The confession letter also included the threat of killing additional Riverside girls, including one who could allegedly be found in a dark alley near a little store:.
Below: According to the anonymous author, at some point he had previously made a phone call to Police Chief Kinkead (Kinkead's home number was listed in the public phone directory at that time):
Did the call to Police Chief Kinkead happen prior to the Bates murder? If so, the taunting of police both before and after a homicide sounds an awful lot like the murder of Ray Davis.
Whether the Zodiac murdered Cheri Jo Bates, or merely took false credit for her violent death in the typed confession letter, my research might have finally discovered the exact location where the Zodiac claimed to have targeted an upcoming victim.
Below: In 1965, 1966 and 1967, this little store was located at 5410 Magnolia Ave., at the intersection of Bandini Ave. in Riverside, and about six blocks from the Bates crime scene. As you can see, the store had a phone booth outside. And while inside the booth, an alley would have been clearly visible. (This area of Riverside is called Wood Streets and is the only part of Riverside where alleys are prevalent.) I believe this was the little store mentioned in the Bates confession letter. And while calling Police Chief Kinkead from that pay phone, the Zodiac got the idea for his "beautiful babysitter in the dark alley" mention. Over the years the store was called Andrew's Market, Jan's Ranch Market, and finally, Kawa Market:
Below: The alley entrance at lower right. The small red "x" at the upper left is where the phone booth was. The Bates crime scene was about six blocks away.
Below: The red "X" at the upper right is the approximate Bates crime scene. The red pin at the lower left is where the phone booth was located at the little store. The little red "x" next to the pin is where the alley begins.
Below: Looking down Zodiac's dark alley in broad daylight...
Conclusion: In 1966, Magnolia Ave. was the main route through town and was lined with motels, restaurants, and just about everything else that Riverside had to offer. Cheri's college campus (the location of her murder) was also on Magnolia Ave.
To get away with murder, the person responsible for killing Cheri Jo Bates did not need to be familiar with the Riverside area. Sticking close to Magnolia Ave. would have been enough to accomplish everything involved, from the actual murder of Cheri Jo Bates, to the phone call to Police Chief Kinkead, to the mailing of the typed confession letter. And of course, to either seeing -- or inventing -- the beautiful blonde babysitter in the dark alley near the little store.
If you know of any suspicious occurrences in the area of Magnolia Ave. and Bandini Ave., please contact me.
It is unknown if Riverside police ever searched for a little store near an alley, perhaps to stakeout in the event the killer decided to strike again. Today, while the alley remains, the little store is long gone. See video below.