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Update from Gary — 24 Comments

  1. Hi Gary,
    Loved the book, and very compelling evidence. I was wondering where things stand with the DNA comparison? I’m sorry if you’ve answered this a thousand times already.

    • Thank you for your question, and of course I get asked this question quite often, but since things change as time goes by, the answer is never the same. Because the Zodiac killer case is an ‘open’ case, the information the SFPD has regarding developments in the case are confidential, of course, in order not to compromise the outcome of the investigation, so I am not at liberty to comment specifically about my conversations with them. What I can say is that 10 years ago, Lt. John Hennessey had enough confidence in my evidence to request a sample of my DNA and submit that sample to the San Francisco Crime Lab for analysis and comparison to the alleged Zodiac partial profile. At no time in these past 10 years did Hennessey tell me that ‘your father was not the Zodiac killer,’ or ‘Gary, go away because we don’t have enough information to solve the case,’ or even a ‘goodbye’ when he dropped off of my radar. Against his verbal commitment to me, both of us being truthful and honorable men, Hennessey never called or emailed, or wrote me to tell me, as he promised me that he would, to tell me that my DNA didn’t match the alleged Zodiac partial profile, or that my DNA did match. He simply cut all communication with me, which I believe he was forced to do by Butler. Hennessey is very smart, and I admire his choice of action…‘inaction’…which left ‘the door’ open for me, and I believe as an ‘encouragement’ to me to never give up and to keep digging. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that I was intelligent and articulate and that I truly believed my father was the Zodiac killer. We just didn’t have ‘the goods on him,’ and I personally believe that meant that they didn’t have enough STR LOCI in the alleged Zodiac profile to conclusively identify my father as the killer. I have been in and am currently in contact with the new cold case inspector in charge of the Zodiac case, and I have great confidence that he is going to do everything possible to solve and close this case. Things like this just take time.
      Thanks again for your question.
      Gary

  2. How can I independently verify the fingerprints shown in your book are from the “Zodiac” in Paul Stine’s cab and Earl Van Best Jr.from having been arrested?

  3. I bought the book and read it cover to cover. When I was finished my wife read it. We both came to the same conclusion, you clearly believe your biological father is the Zodiac killer. So I will not criticise you for something you clearly believe in. However after reading the book we were both left with the same feeling, which is you are wrong. I hope you find peace one way or another, but your belief that your father was the Zodiac is based on what I could only describe as selective analysis. In light of the fact the writing was not your fathers and also the fact I was able to find both my wife’s and my name in the cypher, I would have to say your writing and research team lacked intellectual rigger at best and were just frauds at worst!

    • Thank you for your post. I am happy you and your wife read my book, even though you don’t agree with my conclusion. Thank you for your well wishes for me finding peace, which I have. As far as what you call “selective analysis,” I truly feel, as well as my co-author and my publisher, that my story, The Most Dangerous Animal Of All, represents the most extensive compilation of evidence ever presented in the Zodiac case. For those truly familiar with the case, a 45-plus-year-old cold case with an overwhelming lack of physical and forensic evidence from any of the crime scenes, the evidence I’ve presented in my book is compelling at a minimum. I’ve spent more than 10 years researching the Zodiac case, and I’ve looked at as much evidence available to me regarding each of the significant suspects over the years, and each one pales in comparison to the information I’ve discovered about my father and the likelihood that he is the perpetrator.

      Please let me address your claim that the writer of the Zodiac letters was not my father. A well respected document examiner stated he was virtually certain that my father authored the Zodiac letters. The Questioned Document Examiner utilized more than one exemplar from my father and based his conclusion on ALL of the exemplars. Then when you consider the scar on the Zodiac’s index finger (and my father’s), the connection to Paul Avery, the clues that Zodiac put in the Halloween card – the “secret pal” clue and the number 14 (the age of my mother when my father married her), the fact that my father had a habit of bringing gifts from Mexico for his friends (as in the Ferrin case), the fact that he was a cab driver and knew Paul Stine, the fact that Stine picked up his last fare near where my father lived at the time, and the clues my father left in the letters that mirrored his life and revealed his identity, it begins to add up. I could go on and on. Yes, you can find names in the ciphers, but my father’s name fits perfectly in the 340 cipher (his FULL name), has the same number of characters as the My Name Is cipher, and can be found numerous times in the 308 cipher. When I look at all of the evidence in totality and then see my father’s
      name over and over in the ciphers, I am left with no other conclusion than the one revealed in the book.

      Finally, the suggestion that anyone involved with this book lacked integrity and intellectual rigor is ridiculous. Everyone involved with the publication of this book, from research to writing to legal, editing, and production, worked very hard to produce a compelling, informative, and thoughtful work. All I can say to your reaction is, stay tuned. This story isn’t over yet.

      Gary

  4. P.S. Having said all that, I do not know your father was not the Zodiac!

    I would have thought your publishers should have pushed to test the DNA prior to print. I can only guess they knew the results would have killed the book.

    6 months after the book published, surprised you still have not been able to get a DNA test done?????

  5. So, I haven’t completely finished the book yet, but am well on my way. It’s just a story that has been sticking in my head, and I’ve been curious whether the SFPD has made any progress in light of what you have uncovered. I have never really known much about the Zodiac murders, and didn’t realize there have been so many “suspects” and theorists who have written books over the years. I don’t know much about those other people, but I find this particular story very compelling.
    I am not someone who is obsessed with serial killers, or have a particularly morbid curiosity with gruesome murders. I don’t read much true crime, but was drawn to the human side of this story more than anything. Everything in the book seems to fit together for me, but I guess I can see how some people may be skeptical.
    There are two things, however, that really stand out to me that I think are pretty undeniable. One is the side by side comparison of your father and the police sketch of the Zodiac killer, and the second is cipher 340. It took me more than one look at the cipher and the highlighted letters for me to see what you had found, but once I got it, it was plain as day and I just don’t understand why it isn’t being taken more seriously. Combined with all your other research, how are people still so dismissive of this book? I really don’t understand..

    All that being said, I have two follow up questions- With everything that you and “Uncle Bill” discussed and all the insight and light about your father’s personality that he was able to shed, I’m not sure if I missed it, but did he ever say whether he suspected the Zodiac was your father? You say that he was a criminal investigator working in the area at the time when all of this was occurring, did he ever put those pieces together? It seems like he played a pretty prominent role in you piecing together the narrative of your father’s life, did he help guide you that way?
    The second is this; there are three known survivors of the Zodiac, if you include the woman who escaped with her infant. Do you know if any of them are alive? If so, have any of them been presented with a photo of your father that you are aware of?
    Just things still rattling around my head.. Sorry to leave such a lengthy comment!

    • Thank you for reading and for your comments. Regarding your question concerning ‘how are people so dismissive of this book’, the best answer I can give would be to quote the San Francisco’s last article regarding the 45 year-old case…’ “But then, if the police ever did find someone, most of the Zodiac sleuths out there won’t believe it anyway.
      “They all have their own suspects, and they won’t let go of them. Ever.”

      Once Uncle Bill and I got through those first difficult times and established a very close relationship (primarily because I stopped pushing him for information regarding my father and focused on what Bill and I had in common as a basis for our healthy relationship), I didn’t dare approach the ‘Van is Zodiac’ subject with him. Uncle Bill gave me so much information, I wasn’t willing to risk losing his friendship by asking that direct question. He had given me enough information already. I’m glad I made that choice because when he died, we were incredibly close and he died knowing that he had a ‘nephew’ who really loved and cared for him.

      The first surviving victim didn’t get a good look, maybe didn’t get a look at all, of who shot him, and has suffered tremendously since the day of the attack. I don’t think he was able to contribute to any composite sketch simply because the attack was at night, and he really didn’t get a good look at Zodiac’s face. The second surviving victim didn’t see Zodiac’s face either because he was wearing a hood with only the eye-holes cut out, and with ‘clip-on’ sunglasses covering the eye-holes, so he couldn’t contribute to a sketch. The third victim passed away a few years ago, so all we know is that she said the composite sketch of the Wanted Poster for the Zodiac killer is who abducted her. And that composite sketch matches my father’s mugshot.

      Again, thank you for your comments.

  6. Gary, from all your interviews & evidence found and all that you present here, I’m convinced the Zodiac was in fact your biological father.

    I’m now waiting for your book. Meanwhile my heart goes out to you & admire your strength to follow through even after becoming aware of who who your father was. How difficult the finding must have been.

    You say that your biological father had other children? Sure wish they would help in providing DNA. Maybe one day. Yes, they surely must feel devastated in even beginning to believe their father is the Zodiac Killer as well. Hoping one day they will, even one, step forward. So many families suffered. It would help in knowing the truth, bring understanding to why their loved ones were killed and hopefully help bring even a little closure to them.

    Hang in there and may you and your be greatly blessed & rewarded for your bravery, love, and forgiveness.

    • Thank you for your comments. I do hope you enjoy the book. You already have the full understanding of my purpose in sharing my story. As far as my half-siblings’ DNA, I already have my father’s complete genetic profile in hand, so I don’t need to bother my siblings for anything. The only thing I ever wanted from them was to be accepted. I wanted to meet and have a relationship with my two brothers and my sister and not allow the Best children legacy be forever tarnished because of the evil deeds of the father. After all, my father is dead, and the one positive thing that could come of this, aside from the police finally being able to close the case, and the family members of his other victims finally having closure, is that his only children, the four of us, be reunited and begin anew a familial relationship based on truth, trust ,and love…something that we didn’t inherit genetically from our father.Thanks again for reaching out.

      Gary

  7. Hi,
    I just completed reading your book over a three day period. It definitely held my attention. I find it very suspicious that the San Francisco Police have gone way out of the way to completely ignore the FACTS. That alone is evidence to prove to me that something fishy was going on. But with the government involved, what would one expect.

    I think your proof is there that your father was the Zodiac killer. Someone high up in the SF police force must have screwed up big time. Thirdly, why in the hell would someone even want to be the son of the Zodiac killer. Duh?

    Sincerely,
    Sharon Hoover
    P.S.: I thoroughly enjoyed your book.

    • Dear Sharon,

      Thank you for your email. Yes, someone in the department “messed up.” But all of those people from my story are now gone, and we have a very new and confident SFPD Blue, truly interested in closing this case. I don’t know if it will require higher governmental agency involvement to close the case. I’ve handed the SFPD more than enough evidence that would have definitely closed the case 45 years ago when my father committed his last homicide as Zodiac. Let’s see what happens. I don’t know the meaning of ‘quit’ … maybe you can tell that from my book!

      Thanks again,
      Gary

  8. Hi Gary! I literally just finished your book and I am sold. One of the most unsettling parts of your story to me was found in the reaction of your estranged family in Austria. I love my father too, but the majority of his life he was a bad person. My siblings will not engage with him. I get it, so I am not judging your siblings but I was wondering if they have reached out to you or had a change of heart now that the book has been released. I think it’s especially strange that Edith? seemed to have led the charge in icing you out… I know that that’s easy to type since I am not in her situation, however if an ex of mine was suspected of such heinous activity, I would be compelled to speak out – be it to clear or condemn him. I feel Edith could really be another smoking gun here. I hope she reaches out to you.

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    I also commend you for it, because as I mentioned my father was not a great person through our childhood and one of my siblings is a paranoid schizophrenic who refuses to medicate. As a teenager I went through my own bouts of mental insecurity because I couldn’t separate their actions and identities from my own. I think a lot of people with troubled family trees struggle with this. I know I don’t know you but you seem like a kind, stand up person who has accomplished so much – nothing like your father. I think there is a powerful lesson there for people like me 🙂 and I wish this book existed 10 years ago.

    Thank you and good luck with your journey. I get the feeling it’s not over.

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments. I am encouraged by your words and hope that my story can be of help to others. Prior to publication, I continued to reach out to my half-sister and one of my half-brothers. Each time I found new information that might help restore our relationship, I reached out to my sister. The response was clear and consistent. I had hoped that one day, once all of the dust settles from my book, and after my half-siblings had time to digest all of this, that there would be an opportunity to start fresh, hopefully the beginning of a new relationship based on truth and honesty. So far, that hasn’t happened.

      Thank you for responding.
      Gary

  9. Gary – I read your book in just a couple of days, a rarity for me! I found it quite fascinating and you give a compelling argument that your father was the Zodiac.

    The research you put into the book was very thorough and personal. I recently wrote a non-fiction book of my own, and your story of research reminded me very much of my own research.

    Please drop me a line with your email address and I’ll send you a pdf of the book.

    • Rob,

      Thank you for your kind words. I commend you for writing your own story and appreciate how difficult it is to do so. Best wishes in the future and I wish you continued perseverance in your journey to publication.

      Gary

  10. Dear Gary,

    First let me say thank you for having the courage to write your incredible story, and the mental fortitude necessary to deal with the naysayers that fail to recognize the vast amount of evidence you have provided. That being said, you have convinced me that your biological father is indeed the elusive Zodiac killer.

    One thing that I still am wondering about, however, is whether Van had the necessary build to be considered “stocky.” Several reports indicate that the Zodiac killer was stocky, yet Van seemed to have a less-than-stocky/average build in the now famous video of him in the courtroom. Do you know if Van put on weight in the years between the courtroom video and the Zodiac killer attacks?

    Also, Gary, has an effort been made to show your father’s photo to living witnesses, Michael Mageau and retried SFPD officer Dan Fouks? I recognize that Mageau picked Arthur Leigh Allen’s picture out of a lineup years earlier but I think it would be worth it to hear his thoughts regarding Van’s picture. Fouks did not choose Allen’s photo out of a lineup years ago so I think hearing his opinion on Van’s image could also help your case.

    Thank you again for writing this book, Gary. The Zodiac case has troubled me ever since I was growing-up in the 1980s and it feels surreal to finally have some imminent closure.

    Best,

    Bryan

    • Dear Bryan,

      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate such positive feedback! Your questions are good ones, actually I’ve answered those very questions twice to two independent UK forums! The first SF Zodiac composite didn’t have a weight indication whatsoever. It just said 5’8″-5’9″, reddish hair, glasses, wearing a jacket, matching my father’s physical description perfectly. As you know, San Francisco can be very cold any month of the year, and in my some 50+ visits to the city, I always wear a jacket or a hoodie. I am a whopping 185 pounds in my 6’1″ frame, and when I put on a jacket, I look over 200 pounds. That is not the only factor in why my father was ‘slight’ at a mere 156 pounds in his 5’8″ frame when he was arrested for the first time in the Ice Cream Romance with my mother, and an alleged 185-200 pounds in 1969. The life of a young rare book dealer, on the run with no money (my parents hitchhiked across the country in 1962), meant no regular healthy meals. Often, according to my mother, no meals at all. Because my father was a literary freak and not a work-out type, I have no doubt in my mind that my father read every book in San Quentin’s library for the 22 months he was incarcerated there. He did not hit the gym. For the first time in his life, he was locked up, fed at least three full meals daily, and sat in his cell reading. All we have to do is look to this set week’s news to see what a young skinny kid looks like after a couple years in prison.

      James Eagan Holmes killed 12 people in an Aurora Colorado theater in 2012. When he was arrested, he was a lanky kid in his 6’3″ frame, likely 150 pounds soaking wet. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who noticed how heavy Holmes has gotten sitting in prison eating at least three healthy meals a day. He appears to be 220 pounds at a minimum. Why my father appeared to have gotten ‘heavy’ between 1963 and 1969 makes all the sense in the world. Thanks for asking!

      As far as Mageau, I have not reached out because he has struggled all of his life, and the videos I’ve seen of him just made me feel it would be best to leave it alone. Regarding Fouke, I believe he would validate my father as being the man he stopped and saw near the Paul Stine crime scene that night. I don’t know the state of his health or where he lives but would love to show him my father’s mug shot.
      Thanks again,
      Gary

  11. Gary,

    I really enjoyed your book and reading about your story. I think the memoir aspects really take center stage over the Zodiac Case, which I thought was a smart choice and made the book more compelling.

    On your claims about Van as Zodaic, I really do think you have a compelling suspect (especially as concerns the mugshot, fingerprints, and the Avery connection), so I hope it gets looked into more. I left the book not certain of the conclusion, but certainly intrigued and interested in where it goes.

    I did have one question re: your research, and apologies if you’ve answered it before. There was a 1963 murder of Robert Domingos and Laura Edwards that has long been speculated as an early Zodiac encounter. If I understand the timeline correctly, Van would have been in jail at that time for kidnapping Judy. Did you go through any process of eliminating that crime as by Zodiac? Just curious.

    Anyway, aside from all that, I really admire how transparent you and your people have been about posting stuff here and making things available, and that you don’t spend your time ridiculing other people and their theories, as many around this case seem to do a lot (and have done to you a bit).

    All the best,

    Josh

    • Hi Josh,

      Thanks for your comments and your question. I looked very closely at the Domingos-Edwards case, and while it has haunting similarities to other Zodiac crimes, there was, to my knowledge anyways, never any communication from Zodiac claiming responsibility for that one. Of course, that fact alone can’t completely rule it out as a Zodiac crime. Furthermore, it is possible that my father was in jail at the time, but there is absolutely no way to prove that he wasn’t out on bail. I attempted to get my father’s criminal court records. I was told multiple times that they were ‘purged or destroyed’…that they no longer existed. My father was arrested multiple times for his romance with my mother, yet he was continually allowed to post bond. I have two records of my father’s actual sentencing and confinement, one from the FBI, and one from CLETS…and the dates on these records conflict and do not match. Considering the lack of ‘proof’ that the Domingos-Edwards murders were committed by my father, and that there was no confirmed correspondence from Zodiac, I choose to not include any discussion about that case in my book.

      Thanks again for writing.

      Regards,

      Gary

  12. Gary – I see that you post here very recently, so I thought I would add a reply. I ripped through your book in two days and found it a very compelling and excellent read. I am an off-on true crime buff, and the Zodiac killings have always intrigued me. I’m not sure what led me to catch on and buy your book recently – but I did, and well done!
    My first comment really is to those that would completely disregard your theory that your biological father was Zodiac – is that you really didn’t intend on the results of your investigation, I think that’s very important for critics to recognize. In fact, your natural curiosity about your adoption really led you down this path, not that you were seeking out this kind of notoriety.
    Until I read your book, I really didn’t know the latest and greatest on solving the Zodiac killings, but I see with the advent of the Internet, the part-time cryptologists and investigators are out in force! Your theory certainly feels and looks right on the money.
    I am intrigued by your father’s language background and where it might have appeared in his various letters to the press – whether openly or hidden. For example, the use of what appears to be the German particle ‘Des’ before the months in the November 1969 letter (although I am not sure of the correctness of the grammar) stands out to me. Although I’m sure you aren’t dissecting every portion of each communication the Zodiac wrote, I was curious how you thought of the symbols on the Halloween post card might be related to your father’s interests, as well as the markings from the Exorcist letter (Japanese-related?). Although I’m sure a bookseller would be knowledgable about a broad range of cultural references which these may derived from.
    On a different note, couldn’t the ‘4-teen’ or ’14’ on the Hallowen also relate to a victim count, as the previous communication noted 13 victims? I have been amazed at the number of ways proponents of different theories of who Zodiac was can interpret the symbols, numbers, writings, many different ways, but on the face of things, your theory seems to be the most straightforward and logical – sometimes the obvious answer looks at us in the face and we ignore it…the mug shot of your father and the police sketch of Zodiac being among the most obvious of all.
    Zodiac killings always struck me as odd and impersonal, even in the realm of serial killers. Your explanation of the rage your father felt towards your mother is a plausible and undeniable motive, borne out in how the crimes were carried out.
    In any event, I hope putting your book out gave you an additional measure of inner peace. I really believe in the end, very few people, if any, are inherently evil, but that evil grows from personal experiences, peer groups, and contemporary surroundings. Your father seems to have been in that volatile mix that fueled his inner demons.
    Something seems fishy within SFPD about your efforts. This leads me to believe your theory even more. I hope you find a willing hand and ear to help you out, but I fear they have a secret they are unwilling to reveal, even if it means giving the victims and their aging families some closure.
    Thank you for the book and good luck!

    • Yes, case is opened and further investigation into the Stine crime scene to attempt to process a complete DNA profile with hat evidence to compare to my profile.

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