Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zodiac Killer

Bates Had To Die

On the six-month anniversary of Bates' death, the Riverside Press, the police, and the victim's father (whose name and address had appeared in the local newspaper the day after the murder) were each sent nearly identical copies of another letter, this one written in pencil on lined notepaper. 

Instead of a signature, two of the letters bore a symbol that resembled a letter Z joined with a numeral 3.  In what would become a hallmark of the Zodiac's epistolary style, the envelopes were franked with excessive postage: in this case, they each carried two of the necessary four-cent stamps.  The letters sent to the police and Press read as follows:

BATES HAD
TO DIE
THERE WILL
BE MORE

The copy without the hieroglyph signature, sent to Joseph Bates, substituted "Bates" with "She."  One latent fingerprint was developed on the letter sent to the Riverside Police Department, but its origins are not known, and it has never been matched to a suspect. 

In mid-April 1967, a janitor at the RCC Library discovered a poem written on the underside of a folding school desk.  The desk had been in storage for an unknown period of time, but the contemporary receipt of the "Bates had to die" letters led many investigators to believe that the poem described Bates' murder and was written by her killer.

Some amateurs, however, have noted that the style and tone of the letter indicate otherwise: one compelling theory is that that an unrelated student penned it following an unsuccessful suicide attempt.  The handwriting is of debatable resemblance to the three "Bates" notes or any other Zodiac printing and the date of its origin is unclear, so the entire issue remains open to interpretation.  The poem read:

Sick of living/unwilling to die
cut.
clean.
if red /
clean.
blood spurting,
dripping,
spilling;
all over her new
dress
oh well
it was red
anyway.
life draining into an
uncertain death.
she won't
die.
this time
someone ll find her.
just wait till
next time.
rh    

The cryptic signature, "rh," may have been a reference to RCC's President at the time, R. H. Bradshaw.

 

Categories
Advertisement