UPDATED: Deborah Perez: Making Her Story Fit Her Zodiac Fantasy?
The true crime author who sought my help with researching Deborah Perez's story has given me the okay to publish his name.
Ms. Perez was trying to sell her strange tale to no less than M. William Phelps. I got the feeling at the time that Phelps was intrigued (initially I was, too) but his journalistic instincts would never let him just buy into what Perez was saying.
Original post made 4/30/09
Deborah Perez has come forward to claim that her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, was the Zodiac Killer. You can read what I've already had to say about that here.
I am amazed that Ms. Perez's ludicrous story has gotten some traction from the media. It seems like no one outside of perhaps a handful of San Francisco-based reporters really wants to poke around and see if her claims really track.
I decided I needed to dig into emails my author friend forwarded to me last year when he requested my help researching Ms. Perez's claims - she approached him hoping he might consider writing her story - and give you an example of how Deborah Perez plays fast and loose with her claims.
In one email to my friend, Ms. Perez wrote the following regarding a certain pair of glasses - I've added emphasis:
My goal is to obtain enough compelling evidence to eventually motivate a DNA testing of my father's items which I possess--his glasses which have all the original smudges from his use--and which had been placed locked away until now in a suitcase he gave to me when I was only 15 years of age, letters, and/or his camera about 1960's I have in my possesion with film in it that has not been processed. Today's Forensic DNA has such abilities. Also, something in my detailed statements will show that only a person with firsthand knowledge could possibly know certain information.
Now read this quote from an article published earlier today by the San Francisco NBC affiliate - again, with added emphasis:
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.
If she just realized those were Paul Stine's glasses, then why did she add the detail in the 2008 email to a true crime author about "the smudges?"
Why? Because she's making it up as she goes along.
This is nothing but a media circus manufactured around a fabricated association with one of the most high profile unsolved American crime sprees of the last 100 years and many in the so-called mainstream media seem to have credulously fallen for the thing and reported it as if it might be true.
It isn't. Deborah Perez's story is sad, that's all.
The Zodiac's victims weren't just characters in some deluded person's psychodrama; they were real young people who had their own hopes and dreams. Idiocy like many of the current outstanding
desperate bids for attention claims as to the real identity of the killer only craps on the memories of the Zodiac's victims. Deborah Perez and people like her deserve - at the very least - to be treated with extreme, open skepticism. At the most, they deserve our disgust.
Additional link - I talked with SF Weekly's (a Village Voice Media paper) Joe Eskenazi earlier this afternoon. Read Joe's blog post here.