Tie to Oil Industry?
Peggie Your observed a dark car at the guard shack at one of the entrances to Humble Oil. They drove past the entrance roughly 5 minutes after passing the turnout. Could this have been the same dark car parked next to the Rambler? Depending on which gate they were driving by, it’s conceivable that the killer could have been driving the car observed at the gate. There may have been enough time for the killer to drive to the turnout and commit the murders.
Some people have theorized that the killer may have worked in the oil Industry. One possible clue is a strange symbol found on the Halloween Card that closely resembles the scientific symbol for 1-Pentene, a byproduct of petroleum processing. Personally, the symbol is only a close approximation. The symbol on the Halloween card has enough differences that too me it’s a stretch to say they’re the same. You never know though. The killer may have put in small clues here and there, but not obvious enough to catch him.
One of the main police suspects, Arthur Leigh Allen worked as a Junior Chemist for Union Oil in Pinole, California, not far from the Zodiac crime scenes. I personally don’t believe Allen is the Zodiac, but that’s for you to decide.
There is also a possible tie in to the 1963 Domingos/Edwards murder in Southern California.The crime scene there was only a couple miles away from the Gaviota Marine Terminal. The crime also closely matches the Zodiac MO in that the victims were a young couple, in an isolated area, shot multiple times with a .22 caliber weapon. We’ll come back to this crime scene in later episodes because there are also similarities to the Lake Berryessa attack.
Another possible tie-in is the flashing lights that William Crow reported. On March 24th, 1970, Kathleen Johns was driving with her infant daughter on Highway 132 near Patterson, CA. They were on their way to visit a sick relative in Petaluma. A car came up behind them and began flashing their lights. The vehicle then came alongside them and the man driving indicated one of her wheels was wobbling. She pulled over and he pulled up behind them. He offered to fix the problem and after they got back on the road, her wheel fell completely off. The man pulled in behind them again told her he could give them a ride to the nearest service station. Instead of stopping, he drove them around for almost 2 hours, threatening to kill them. At one point Kathleen jumped out of the moving car, holding her daughter tightly and was able to escape with their lives. When she finally got to the nearest police station to report the crime, she saw a wanted poster for the Zodiac and frantically identified him as her abductor to the police. In a later letter from the Zodiac he even referenced the abduction.
There are a number of discrepancies in the John’s case that make a lot of people question the validity of her story. Personally, I believe it was the Zodiac Killer that abducted her and her baby. I met Katheleen in Tahoe in the mid 90s when I went with my father to meet the FBI at the possible burial site of Donna Lass, another potential Zodiac victim. Kathleen seemed like a sane person and I don’t have any reason to doubt her story after meeting her.
If the car William Crow reported was the killer, then it seems less likely the car Peggie saw at the entrance to Humble Oil was the same car. Unless the killer had flashed the lights at Crow sometime around 10, then drove to Humble Oil, then back to the crime scene. It’s certainly possible it could have been and that the killer stopped by work to pick up or drop off something before committing the crimes.
To add to the credibility of Kathleen’s story, Carol, the sister of victim Paul Stine reported a similar incident on the same night. This took place a few months after her brother’s death. After her brother was murdered, Carol’s other brother Joe challenged the Zodiac during an interview with a reporter. He said:
“Come and get me! I don’t carry weapon. I don’t feel I need any. I was very close to Paul, and now I want a chance at his killer.”
What she reported was just like the Kathleen John’s report, a man driving a car and flashed his lights that pulled up beside her, indicating that something was wrong with her car. Because of what she had already been through with her brother’s brutal murder, she didn’t pull over and was able to speed away and avoid the other driver. Apparently after she lost the driver, he moved on to another target, Kathleen Johns.