The Patricia Hautz Letter (November 1967) - Interpretation

The author of the Patricia Hautz Letter refers to a human interest story about murder victim Cheri Jo Bates, a Riverside Community College student, that had been killed in the evening of October 30, 1966. Apparently, the contents of the story inspired or provoked the author to respond to the Riverside Press Enterprise where the story had been published.
In the letter text, there is seemingly a time difference of exactly one month between the date of the letter (Nov 1, 1967) and the date of the human interest story (Oct 1, 1967). However, there has been no article to which the Patricia Hautz Letter refers in the newspaper on that date. In fact, the article had been published on the first anniversary of the Cheri Jo Bates homicide on October 30, 1967, on which the author responded rather immediately. It is unknown why the author indicated the article date in the letter as Oct 1, 1967. Possibly this has been just a simple mistake.
Zodiac Killer Patricia Hautz Letter
Reproduction of the 1967 Patricia Hautz Letter
Based on various matching definitions found on the Internet, “a human interest story is a feature story that discusses a person or persons in an interactive and/or emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest or sympathy in the reader or viewer.” Obviously, the author responds to a soft news story that apparently sympathized with the victim, her family and concerned parents.
The author starts the letter with the introduction sentence, “Your human interest story (Oct 1,1967) about Cheri, the RCC girl that was killed, was very interesting”, acknowledging the published story and its affect on the reader. However, with the next sentence, “Perhaps a story about the boy that killed her could be more rewarding”, it becomes quite obvious that the author used the introduction sentence just for the purpose of creating a platform for the actual issue that the Patricia Hautz Letter is about.
The author expresses very clearly that a (human interest) story about the killer would be “more rewarding” than a (human interest) story about the killer's victim. Indirectly, the author expresses disappointment that the victim receives more public attention and human interest than her killer. The author suggests to publish a (human interest) story about the killer instead.
Very interestingly, with the words ”the boy that killed her”, the author alleges or confirms having knowledge of the killer, indicating that the killer was male and of rather young age. The author’s boy-girl comparison of murderer and victim implies that the killer was either younger or of same or similar age, but not much older than his victim. This would roughly put the age of killer in the range of 16-20 years at the time of the crime.
The letter text continues with the sentence, “If people were to read of the life of a boy that turned killer, they might stop to think about the lives of their own children”. Looking at this sentence very carefully, we found that it veils important information. The words “their own children” at sentence end clearly identify the “people” mentioned at sentence start as “parents”. The words “the life of a boy that turned killer” do not only corroborate the previous statement of the killer being a “boy”, but also suggest that the author sees at least some of the reasons why the boy turned killer in the circumstances of the killer’s life and his direct (family) environment.
With this sentence, in context with the following words, “Are we laying the blue print for another killer?” might be one of the questions brought to mind by such story”, the author wants to inspire further thought of the reader. Furthermore, the author implies that if parents would stop thinking about (the safety of) their own children and would start thinking about the story and circumstances that caused a boy to become a killer, it might create enough awareness to avert “blueprinting” of more killers.
Before the letter is signed with, “Patricia Hautz Fellow Student”, the author expresses hope that a change of (parental) mindset might prevent new crimes from happening.
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