True or publicity to sell a book? She said she wrote letters to Melvin Bellie for her father, so if that is the case they said her DNA would be on the letters. She also claims to have the glasses from one of the victims.
Californian Says Father Was Zodiac Killer (and She Played a Role, Too)
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LinkedinDiggFacebookMixxMySpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalinkBy JESSE McKINLEY
Published: April 29, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO — In the pantheon of unsolved mysteries, few can top the Zodiac, the shadowy killer blamed for five Bay Area murders in the late 1960s and untold numbers of stranger-than-fiction theories ever since.
Add to that roster the tale told Wednesday by Deborah Perez, who announced to a skeptical crowd of reporters and Zodiac aficionados here not only that the killer was her adoptive and long-dead father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, but that she had been present at at least one killing and had even scribbled some of the taunting notes the Zodiac sent to the press and the police.
“I was a child and just thought I was helping my dad,” said Ms. Perez, a 47-year-old real-estate agent from Southern California. “I didn’t know.”
Neither did the San Francisco police, apparently, until Wednesday morning when Ms. Perez’s lawyer, Kevin McLean, called to announce their claims, which were also splashed across the front of Wednesday’s San Francisco Examiner.
“We’ll listen,” Sgt. Lynn Tomioka, a police spokeswoman. “Just like everybody else.”
Claims about the Zodiac’s identity are a regular occurrence around the Bay Area, which is still fascinated by a case whose last confirmed murder, of a San Francisco taxi driver, was in 1969, though coded letters apparently from the killer continued to turn up for several years after.
On Wednesday, several Zodiac enthusiasts, some toting astrological maps, others with snapshots of their favorite suspects, shouted pointed questions at Ms. Perez. “The police will just laugh at this,” said Sandy Betts, an amateur sleuth, who did not buy the story. Ms. Perez said she had been oblivious to the Zodiac case until 2007, when she saw an episode of “America’s Most Wanted” about it and started to think her father was involved. But she offered little concrete evidence on Wednesday.
Mr. McLean said that Ms. Perez had passed psychological exams — “I know that everybody’s going to say she’s nuts,” he said — and that her handwriting claims had been confirmed by Bart Baggett, an “expert document examiner” from Los Angeles, who, as it happens, is also an executive producer and narrator of a coming documentary about the case.
Mr. Baggett did not return calls for comment, but Robert Graysmith, a former San Francisco Chronicle reporter who has written two books about the Zodiac case, said he was doubtful of an “entirely new suspect” like Mr. Hendrickson, who Ms. Perez said died in 1983.
Mr. Graysmith said he thought he and other Zodiac investigators had come close to pinpointing the killer. “I believe the case is probably already solved, but I never say never,” he said via e-mail. “That’s what last chapters are for.”