A Southern California woman claimed her father was the infamous Zodiac killer who terrorized the Bay Area in the 1960s and 1970s and said she helped him write and mail the letters that earned him the sensational nickname.
Deborah Perez, 47, said Wednesday that she saw a composite sketch of the Zodiac killer in August 2007 and recognized the man as her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, who died in 1983. She said she had never heard of the Zodiac killer prior to seeing the composite sketch.
"He told me he was sick and all I wanted to do was help my dad," said Perez, who came to her conclusion about two years ago. "He kept telling me he was sick and he killed many, many people.
"I had no idea."
The Zodiac killer is believed to have murdered at least five people and possibly as many as 36. He sent letters to local newspapers including The San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner that were splashed across the front pages, taunting reporters, police and the public with codes and clues to find his identity.
Nevertheless, his true identity has never been confirmed by police.
Perez said she was 7-years-old when she helped her father write some of the letters.
While speaking to reporters this afternoon in downtown San Francisco, she also claimed to have the glasses belonging to Paul Stine, a San Francisco cab driver the Zodiac killer fatally shot. She said her father took the glasses off of Stine's face and she kept them all these years and only recently realized they belonged to a murder victim and not her father.
Kevin McLean, also in attendance at the news conference, said he worked with attorney Melvin Belli who the Zodiac killer contacted pleading for help. McLean, acting as Perez's spokesperson, said handwriting tests show Perez did write some of the letters, and they hope DNA testing can be done on the glasses believed to belong to Stine.
San Francisco police Sgt. Lyn Tomioka said detectives continue to follow leads and treat all claims equally but emphasized there was only one known murder that took place in San Francisco linked to the Zodiac.
McLean said Perez decided to reveal her father's identity in response to a Sacramento man who reportedly claims a relative of his was the Zodiac killer.