“Can you bring a DNA kit down here?” he said.
A few minutes later, an officer walked in, the sound of his clanking handcuffs preceding him. At five feet eleven inches, the man was slender and graying but handsome, with strong Irish features.
“First of all, he hasn’t done anything wrong, so we’re safe,” Hennessey joked as the man nodded toward me.
“So what are we doing here?” the forensic analyst asked, his accent distinct.
“Well, you see, Gary here, um, well, he is voluntarily submitting a DNA sample,” Hennessey said.
“What for, then?” the analyst persisted. This was very un- usual, and he wasn’t going to let it slide. “Do you have a case number for him?”
Hennessey didn’t want to say that this was to be charged to case number 696314, the Zodiac case, because it was officially closed at the time. But testing my DNA would cost the department about fifteen hundred dollars, and the forensic lab needed a case number to justify the expense.
“Come with me,” Hennessey told the man, leading him from the room. A few minutes later they came back.
“We have a case number,” Hennessey said, obviously pleased.
“We’ll just need your information here, and then you sign here stating that you voluntarily offered a sample of your bodily fluids for DNA analysis,” the analyst said, pointing to the items on the form I needed to sign.
I filled in the information and signed it without reading any- thing, excited by the fact that Hennessey seemed to believe me sufficiently to spend the money for the expensive DNA test.
The analyst put on a pair of latex gloves and pulled a buccal swab kit out of his shirt pocket. “Now, just open your mouth,” he instructed.
He swabbed the inside of my cheek twice and placed the swab in a crime scene bag, sealed it, thanked me, and left the room.
“We will have to be patient,” Hennessey said. “Our backlog of DNA samples waiting on analysis is extremely long, due to underfunding and so many new crimes.”
“I understand,” I said, getting up and shaking the lieutenant’s hand.
“I’m going to visit Butler and try to get your father’s file for review,” Hennessey promised.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to my story.”
“If I didn’t believe you and what you’ve told me, I would not have taken your DNA,” Hennessey assured me. “We’ll get to the bottom of this. I hope for your sake that your father was not the Zodiac.”
“So do I, sir.”