Deborah Perez and the Zodiac/JFK Nexus or: Debbie Perez IS Forrest Gump


Guy Ward Hendrickson vs. the Zodiac suspect sketch. Do not use without permission. Hendrickson photos courtesy M. William Phelps.

Deborah Perez’s claims that her adoptive father Guy Ward Hendrickson was the Zodiac Killer are probably part of a rather sad pattern of behavior. What she surely may not want anyone to know at this point is the famous American whom she claims was her real father. Perez made these claims to more than one reputable, reliable source.

Like M. William Phelps:

I was extremely interested Debbie’s story, for obvious reasons. It sounded good. Seemed to add up. I had a handwriting expert friend of mine working on samples she sent me (he has since died). I was going through all of the paperwork she had sent me. I checked her out as much as I could and she seemed to have a good standing. Then she called one day and told me she was JFK’s illegitimate child and was with Robert and Rose Kennedy the day before Robert was murdered. And that’s when I stopped talking to her. I felt duped at that point. The chances of her being the Zodiac’s daughter are a million to one–the chances of her being both JFK’s daughter and the Zodiac’s daughter are a gazillion to none. I feel sorry for Debbie. I really do. That’s why I never went public with her story. I just simply moved on. I get calls like that a few times a year from people claiming to be all sorts of things. I hardly take them as far or as serious as I did with Debbie.

Phelps had informed me of this privately. I decided (and Phelps agreed) to go ahead and publicize Ms. Perez’s claim to Kennedy blood after I spotted the following comment on the first SF Weekly “Snitch” post about Perez’s claims:

Chris Sorensen says:

This lady used to work for me in Corona California! Last year she told me she was Jack Kennedy’s daughter!! I promise, true stroy. My wife told me I’m no longer aloud to do interviews!!!!

Posted On: Thursday, Apr. 30 2009 @ 2:45PM

Chris Sorensen is the former mayor of Norco, CA and is currently a member of the Corona, CA Chamber of Commerce. Reached by phone, the amiable real estate and banking expert told me that about a month before they parted ways business-wise, Deborah Perez warned him of some kind of impending media circus.

She then told him that she was the illegitimate daughter of President John F. Kennedy. 

In a conversation she began with Sorensen at the office around closing time, Perez went into a “diatribe” describing her memories of the Kennedy compound. She even told Chris Sorensen that she had memories of being with Robert Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel where he was assassinated. Sorensen says Perez took a half-hour to tell him all about her relationship with the Kennedy family. Basically, she told him the same story that prompted true crime author Phelps to not pursue the Zodiac angle any further.

Sorensen wrote her off as a kook. When he saw the kind of coverage regional and then national media had afforded Perez’s claims, Sorensen says he was shocked. Like me, he wondered “how legitimate news agencies could run with this story without doing any background checking into the source.” 

Sorensen also assured me he could recommend more than one other Corona resident who had been subjected to Perez’s stories of her presidential parentage.

For the optimistic or credulous reader who badly wants to give Deborah Perez the benefit of the doubt, this ought to be a deal-breaker. Matt Phelps said it best above: “The chances of her being the Zodiac’s daughter are a million to one–the chances of her being both JFK’s daughter and the Zodiac’s daughter are a gazillion to none.”

Deborah Perez’s claims that her father was the Zodiac amount to fruit from a poison tree, as far as I’m concerned. They are just as ludicrous as the claims she made to two credible sources of being the love-child of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I agree with message board poster ‘davidmm’ on this one: “I think that I’d be more likely to believe her if she said her real father was Barron M√ľnchhausen.”

For possible further insight into what is really going on, check out this comment left on the same blog post where Chris Sorensen outed Perez as a possible pretender to American “royalty.” The comment came from “J. Hendrickson”:

From SF Weekly’s “The Snitch”

Deborah Perez’s story is really an age-old American tale of mixed families and extreme dysfunction. Her fantasies of a famous father are a kind of escape. And they’re pitiful.

Almost as pitiful as the way her story was covered and blithely reported by multiple media organizations. But that sort of idiocy doesn’t really fall within the scope of this blog. Unfortunately, Ms. Perez’s idiocy does.

ETA: Janice Hendrickson also talked to Kevin Fagan at the San Francisco Chronicle, giving him the same story found in the comment in the screen capture above.

ETA II: Chris Sorensen also spoke to Joe Eskenazi of SF Weekly’s “The Snitch.”