Estate agent: 'My father was the Zodiac Killer'

Deborah Perez says that she was fooled into helping 1960s serial murderer who terrorised San Francisco and fascinated Hollywood

It is one of the most grisly murder mysteries of modern times, which inspired countless films and television dramas, terrorised a generation of hormonal teenagers, and has stumped detectives and amateur sleuths for more than 40 years. Now a middle-aged estate agent from California has stepped forward to claim she is the daughter of the famous "Zodiac killer".

Deborah Perez says her late father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, was responsible for at least two of the five deaths formally attributed to the notorious figure, who shot or stabbed courting couples as they canoodled in cars.

She said she was going public to "right his wrongs," and claimed to have witnessed two of the frenzied murders. She also announced that she has a pair of spectacles taken from the Zodiac killer's final victim, Paul Lee Stine.

In a further unique twist, Ms Perez even said she had helped her father scribble some of the killer's infamous confession notes, in which he taunted police, newspapers and amateur sleuths with elaborate ciphers and riddles, claiming responsibility for 37 deaths.

"I was a child and just thought I was helping my dad," claimed Ms Perez, 47, one of six children adopted by Hendrickson, who died in the 1980s. "I didn't know. He told me he was sick, and all I wanted to do was help my dad ... He kept telling me he was sick and he killed many, many people. I had no idea."

She was speaking at a surreal press conference outside the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle, one of the newspapers that received several of the letters, on Wednesday afternoon. It was attended by journalists and Zodiac enthusiasts holding photos of suspects.

Local police, who have never closed their investigation, said: "We get a significant number of calls a year," said Sergeant Lyn Tomioka. "We look into whatever evidence is presented to us."

The development will open yet another chapter in a case which has fascinated Hollywood for decades, providing the loose inspiration for the Clint Eastwood hit Dirty Harry and the hit 2007 thriller Zodiac, among others.

The "Zodiac killer" first struck in 1968, when he shot high-school students Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday in a "lovers lane" in the city of Benicia. He was blamed for a string of further attacks, and became famous for sending cryptograms to newspapers which allegedly contained his identity.

Until now, most people have believed the self-styled serial killer was Arthur Leigh Allen, a convicted child molester who died in 1992. Police were never able to find conclusive evidence.

However Ms Perez says she was with her father when he carried out the second attack in the early hours of 5 July 1969. That saw Darlene Ferrin, 22, and Michael Maggeau killed by shots into their car, parked at a golf course in Vallejo, north of San Francisco.

"My father grabs his gun, goes to the passenger side and I hear shots, I hear moans, I hear screams," Ms Perez said. "We leave and we're pulled over by police. My father takes the gun and puts it into a bag and sticks it into my pants and says, 'Don't move. The police will not understand if they find this gun.' "

Ms Perez explained her failure to previously come forward by saying that she had been oblivious to the case until 2007, when she saw a sketch of the killer on America's Most Wanted and started to think her father was involved.

But others at the press conference suggested it had more to do with a documentary about her that is in the works. Ms Perez denied it, saying: "I am just coming forward to tell the truth."

However, a local man has stepped forward to claim his stepfather was the Zodiac killer – and a documentary is set to appear about him.

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker