A woman is claiming that her late father was the Zodiac Killer, and that she accompanied him on two of the murders and wrote one of his letters. Not surprisingly, many Zodiac buffs are skeptical.
Deborah Perez, a 47-year-old real estate agent from Southern California, gave a press conference on Wednesday in front of the headquarters of The San Francisco Chronicle. Perez said her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, committed at least two of the murders attributed to the "Zodiac killer" who is believed to have committed at least five murders in the San Francisco area in the late 1960s, the Chronicle reports.
Perez says she first saw a sketch of the Zodiac Killer while watching a 2007 episode of America's Most Wanted. "I recognized the individual as my father," said Perez. She did not provide a photo of her father, an Orange County carpenter who died of cancer in 1983. She said after working with a forensic psychologist she made sense of some of her childhood memories, "but remembering what happened really wasn't a problem. I just had no idea what they all meant."
Perez's claims include that her father took her along on some of the murders and had her wait in the car. (She says heard gunshots but at the time he told her they were "just firecrackers.") Perez also says she has a pair of glasses taken from Paul Stine, a cab driver shot on October 11, 1969, which she is turning over to police. She also wants police to test her DNA against stamps on letters from the Zodiac killer, but experts say the DNA evidence may not be reliable.
She also claims that, as a child, she wrote a letter as the killer to San Francisco attorney Melvin Belli. The letter contains erratic punctuation and misspellings and starts, "Dear Melvin This is the Zodiac speaking I wish you a happy Christmass. ... please help me." She says she wrote the letter when she was 7 becase she wanted to get help for her father, and that she saw a scrapbook with mementos from more than 30 killings, but she can't find it now. "I was a child and just thought I was helping my father," Perez said. "He kept telling me he was sick and he killed many, many people. I had no idea."
Many people believe that the Zodiac Killer was Arthur Leigh Allen, a convicted child molester who died in 1992. San Francisco Police Sergeant Lyn Tomioka told the Associated Press, "We get a significant number of calls a year. We will look into whatever evidence that is presented to us." The timing of Perez's announcement is suspect, since there is a documentary being filmed about her that is close to being finished. Also, her press conference was publicized by Hollywood public relations agent Edward Lozzi, who is known for having dated Anna Nicole Smith. Perez's attorney, Kevin McLean, who was present at the press conference, said that they came forward because another man is selling his own documentary in which he claims his late stepfather was the Zodiac and, "We want to set the record straight."
Dad Was the Zodiac, And I Can Prove It [The San Francisco Chronicle]
Woman: My Father Was The Zodiac Killer [The Associated Press]
Police Say Man, 72, Tied to SoCal Serial Killings [The Associated Press]