Tags: zodiac killer | father | claim

Zodiac Killer ID'd? Man Searching for Father Claims Dad is Murderer

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 01:51 PM

By Nick Sanchez

The Zodiac Killer has never been definitively identified, but nearly half a century after his murder spree, a Louisiana man looking for his biological father claims in a new book that his father is the Zodiac Killer.

"This is the last thing I wanted to find out, believe me," 51-year-old Gary Stewart, owner of an industrial cleaning company, told People magazine. "I'm really hoping this will bring some closure to the families of my father's victims."

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Stewart was raised by adoptive parents, and began his search for his biological father after his biological mother, Judith Gilford, contacted him in 2002 for the first time ever. She told him she was 14 when she ran away from home with a 27-year-old rare book dealer named Earl Van Best Jr. Together they had Stewart, and abandoned him in 1963 while on the run from authorities looking for her.

They were eventually caught, and Best spent a few years in prison for raping a minor. He was paroled in 1965, and the first Zodiac murder turned up in 1968.

In his new book, "The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for My Father ... And Finding The Zodiac Killer," Stewart presents evidence he believes connects his father to the murders, including fingerprints, handwriting analysis, and more. He found it, he says, on a decade-long search for his biological father.

The book was published by HarperCollins, and vetted by a team of in-house lawyers.

"Our lawyers felt it was legally sound," Tina Andreadis, a publicist at the HarperCollins, told New York magazine.

"If you look at Gary’s photo next to the sketch of the Zodiac next to his father’s mug shot, you can see that there is very clearly more than just a passing resemblance," she said. "They look alike."

On Tuesday, CNN reached out to the San Francisco police department to ask them about the book. "It's an open and active case, so we don't comment, but [it's] certainly something our homicide investigators will take a look at," the department responded.

Stewart said he's willing to submit his DNA for comparison to that believed to belong to the Zodiac Killer, who had at least seven victims in Northern California in the '60s and '70s, although he claimed 37 murders in letters to newspapers. It remains to be seen if police will take Stewart up on the offer.

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