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MY DAD, THE ZODIAC KILLER; Woman claims she aided her father's murder spree.

Byline: Kevan Christie

A WOMAN claiming to be the daughter of the 1960s Zodiac serial killer says she aided him in his crimes.

Deborah Perez, a 47-yearold estate agent, says she was present when her father Guy Ward Hendrickson, who is long dead, killed one of the five Zodiac victims in San Francisco.

And she claims she helped him to taunt police in the aftermath of his crimes, writing one of his notes herself.

Her lawyer Kevin McLean, who contacted newspapers to publicise her claims, says a handwriting analysis backs up her claim and she has passed psychological tests.

Ciphers

The Zodiac, who coined his name in a series of letters sent to newspapers, murdered at least five known victims between December 1968 and October 1969.

His letters included four ciphers - three of which have yet to be solved - and boasted his true murder toll was 37.

Perez said of her claim to have aided her father in the murders: "I didn't know. I was a child and just thought I was helping my dad." The identity of the Zodiac has remained a fascination for 40 years in the area where he claimed his victims.

And the case formed the basis of the Hollywood film Zodiac, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, in 2007.

Coded letters apparently from the killer continued to turn up for several years after the last confirmed killing, of San Francisco taxi driver Paul Stine on October 11 1969.

The first victims were David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16, who he shot and killed in their car on December 20, 1968.

He went on to shoot another couple Michael Renault Mageau, 19, and Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, 22, on July 4, 1969.

Ferrin was dead on arrival at hospital, while Mageau survived.

Bryan Calvin Hartnell, 20, and Cecelia Ann Shepard, 22, were stabbed on September 27, 1969, at Lake Berryessa in Napa County.

Hartnell survived six stab wounds to the back but Shepard died of her injuries.

Amateur Zodiac investiga- tor Sandy Betts poured scorn on Perez's claim as enthusiasts of the case hurled questions at her yesterday.

He said: "The police will just laugh at this." Police spokeswoman Sergeant Lynn Tomioka said: "We'll listen just like everybody else."

Perez said she had been unaware of the Zodiac case until 2007, when she saw an episode of America's Most Wanted about it and started to think her father, a carpenter who had six children, was involved.

Nuts

Her lawyer said her handwriting claims had been confirmed by expert document examiner Bart Baggett - who is about to make a documentary about the case.

He added: "I know everybody's going to say she's nuts."

Robert Graysmith, a former reporter who has written two books about the case, said he was doubtful of an "entirely new suspect" like Hendrickson, who died in 1983.

The subject of his second book, Zodiac Unmasked, was convicted child molester Arthur Leigh Allen, who died in 1992 aged 59.

Allen was long seen as the prime suspect, despite having passed a lie detector test while being investigated.

Graysmith said: "I believe the case is probably already solved, but I never say never.

That's what last chapters are for."

CAPTION(S):

VICTIM: Cecelia Ann HELPING HAND: Deborah Perez during the press conference on Zodiac killer
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 1, 2009
Words:549
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