Deborah Perez Claims her Father was the Zodiac Killer

A California woman held a press conference yesterday claiming that her adoptive father was the Zodiac Killer, and that she was present when at least one of the murders was committed. The Zodiac Killer is one of California’s most notorious unsolved mysteries. Police were never able to capture the man responsible for at least five murders in the Bay Area during the late ’60s.

The New York Times reports, Deborah Perez spoke before a skeptical crowd of reporters and Zodiac aficionados and announced that her deceased father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, was the man everyone was looking for, and that she was present at one of the killings. She added that she even wrote one of the infamous notes sent by the Zodiac killer to the police and members of the press.

“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.”

Police listened to Perez’s claims, but they weren’t quick to buy her story. “We’ll listen,” said Sgt. Lynn Tomioka, a police spokeswoman. “Just like everybody else.”

It was the Zodiac enthusiasts, though, who really gave Perez a hard time. “The police will just laugh at this,” said Sandy Betts, an amateur sleuth, who did not buy the story. Many in the crowd just added Perez to a long list of people who often come forward with claims of knowing the real killer’s identity. 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.

However, Perez’s attorney, Kevin McLean, insists his client isn’t nuts and says her handwriting claims had been confirmed by Bart Baggett, an “expert document examiner” from Los Angeles.

Robert Graysmith, a former San Francisco Chronicle reporter who has written two books about the Zodiac case, told The Times he was doubtful of an “entirely new suspect” like Mr. Hendrickson. “I believe the case is probably already solved,” Graysmith continued, “but I never say never. That’s what last chapters are for.”