Welcome to the official website for The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for My Father and Finding the Zodiac Killer. Today is the publication date for a book that has been a lifetime in the making, and this is a very exciting day for me. I spent 39 years of my life wondering about my real name, my parents’ names, and why my biological parents had not loved me or wanted me enough to keep me. This is a common dilemma for many children who have been adopted. There is a feeling that something is missing. Although my adoptive parents Loyd and Leona Stewart showered me with love, questions about my identity plagued me throughout my life and propelled me through my investigation into the identity of my biological father, Earl Van Best Jr.
When my biological mother, Judy, contacted Leona in May 2002, suddenly everything in my life changed. As Judy and I learned about each other, and I began my journey to find my father, the pace at which I was making discoveries about my history and that of my biological parents was mind-boggling. I began keeping notes along my way. Back then, I had no way of knowing that my notes would evolve into a journal, then a manuscript, and now a book published by HarperCollins in three formats—hard cover, e-book, and audiobook. I am so grateful to HarperCollins for believing in me and publishing this book and for the incredible job the editing and design team did. Two weeks from today, The Most Dangerous Animal Of All will be published in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand in true British style, ‘whilst’ maintaining much of the original story. It will be available in those countries in trade paperback and e-book.
I’ve always felt like there was a greater purpose for my life than the life I was living, that God had some plan for me that I wasn’t fulfilling. Through the course of my research and learning about the lives of my biological parents, I came to realize that sharing this story, answering decades-old questions about a killer who terrorized California, telling the truths I discovered along the way, all of this was His plan for me. And I know that He is not finished. I hope through this book and this website I am able to help others who have been adopted find their biological parents. Over the past 12 years, I have learned a lot about adoption laws and resources that help adopted children reunite with their birth parents, and I am eager to share any information and investigative tools I have in the hope that other adopted children will have their questions about their identity answered. My relationship with Judy has had its fair share of ups and downs, and the discoveries I made about my father have been painful, but in the end, I am a happier person now because I know who I am.
My goal with this weekly blog is to address issues that adoptees face, provide perspective on the things I have learned about my father, and give you behind-the-scenes insight into my journey to find my father. I think the book does an incredible job of depicting my story, but there was so information that we couldn’t get in—the backstory, if you will. Through this website, you will be privy to evidence not used in the book, letters I wrote when trying to find my family, photographs, police reports, newspaper articles, and other documentation I accumulated along the way. I welcome all feedback and hope you enjoy this insider look.
My goal is to make this website interactive, so I would love to read your adoption/reunion stories—happy or sad. Please feel free to submit your stories according to the criteria listed below. If I publish your story on my blog, I will send you an autographed copy of the book. I believe visitors to this site would enjoy reading about other adoptees who have been reunited with their biological parents.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog, and I hope you enjoy the book! Don’t hesitate to send in your comments or reviews.
Criteria for submission of adoption/reunion stories:
• Stories can be no longer than 500 words
• Stories should provide background information and outcome of reunion
• Stories will be subject to editing for content and grammar
• Include name and address where I can mail an autographed copy of the book if I use it in my blog