In this section, I will post letters, journal entries, and excerpts from the book in an effort to provide as many details as I can about my investigation into my father’s life.

In 2002, when I first began my search to find the man who abandoned me in a stairwell in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in March1963, I was armed only with my biological father’s name, date and place of birth, and his social security number, which were given to me by Sgt. Harold Butler of the San Francisco Police Department. The first step I took was to look for any Earl Van Best, Jr., Earl Van Best, or Gertrude Plummer listed anywhere in the United States. That search included The White Pages, Rootsweb,,, and involved a visit or two to the local Mormon Church. All of these efforts proved helpful in some way.

[weaver_hide_if_mobile]Baby John Doe, 1963[/weaver_hide_if_mobile]Once I learned the addresses of people with those names, I began writing letters, explaining what I knew at the time about my adoption and my parents. Most of this information was what my biological mother, Judy, had related to me, and, as indicated in The Most Dangerous Animal of All, much of it was inaccurate. This includes my mother’s story about me being turned into a church in Baton Rouge and the spelling of her first name in different ways at different times—Judith, Judy, Judi, and Jude. To avoid confusion, we chose to use only “Judy” in the book. It also includes mistakes in the spelling of my birth name and mistakes made either by the hospital, police department, or Welfare Department. There may also be discrepancies in the letters and journal entries regarding what I perceived to be the truth back then, (keep in mind, this was an ongoing process of learning and trying to put the pieces together) including dialogue and the final disposition of my father’s relationship with his best friend, William, as at the time of the writing of the letters, he was still alive and still conveying those stories to me.

I hope this will not be confusing, but I felt it was important to include these letters and journal entries to give you an idea of the scope of my investigation over a period of 12 years to learn the truth.

May 15, 1963 Police Report

April 19, 1963 Police Report

Reverend Earl Van Best and JFK

Letter requesting Death Certificate

Letter searching for my grandmother

Letter to Hattie

Letter to John Montagu

Letter to Legal Department at SFPD

Letter to Queen Elizabeth

Letter for Records Regarding my Foster Care

Request for Birth Records

Letter to William

[Category number=’5′ method=’excerpt’ order=’asc’ id=’5′ orderby=’author’]



‘PLEASE NOTE: Due to the tremendous volume of comments and email we are receiving, there may be a delay in posting answers to questions. Thank you so much for your patience and your interest in The Most Dangerous Animal of All.



My Search — 22 Comments

  1. Thank you for you comments, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! You are absolutely right. Unfortunately, the case has gotten so old and each
    decade goes by, the reporters are farther displaced in time from the actual days of the terror the Zodiac caused. The San Francisco Chronicle has always maintained a reporter on the Zodiac beat. Beginning with Paul Avery, then Duffy Jennings, and now Kevin Fagan. Paul Avery was a ‘rock star’ when it came to journalism in general, including the ‘Ice Cream Romance’ saga, and the Zodiac Killer case. He worked every lead with and actually tried to solve the case. I wish that Paul Avery were alive today. I believe that if he saw the information I’ve presented, he would
    instantly recognize his ‘Secret Pal,’ and get his Dick Tracy watch on and dig in with the authorities to close the case. That’s just not the case anymore. I did reach out to the last two Zodiac Beat reporters, Duffy Jennings, who graciously referred me to Kevin Fagan. I contacted Kevin Fagan years ago and we spoke on the phone. Within two minutes, he basically brushed me off stating that, “If I look at every piece of evidence presented to me in this case, I couldn’t do my job as a reporter.” He didn’t ask for specifics. He told me that if I could see the boxes and boxes of evidence against other suspects in the Zodiac case, I would probably “‘brush me off too.” I don’t believe Paul Avery would have done that, or Duffy Jenkins for that matter. My case merits investigation, and if the police won’t investigate it, I had hoped a Chronicle reporter would. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and is, I think, indicative of a lack of interest in uncovering the truth. Thanks again for your question!


    • Hi,

      I did notice the E V ‘signature symbol’ on the Avery Card. I don’t believe it’s any sort of coincidence at all. I believe my father intentionally put his initials there. After all, whether it was communication with Avery, or the newspapers, the Zodiac always insisted he was ‘name dropping’… no one ever took him seriously in law enforcement … so until now, he has remained unidentified.


  2. Hello Gary,
    I just wanted to share a strange thought with you. Do you know the show called “My Name is Earl”? Well if you do not I think you should at least check it out. Why? Well there is a strange connection between it and the Zodiac case especially if we assume that your father is guilty.
    1. The show takes place in southern California just like the Zodiac murders did.
    2. The main characters name is Earl and judgeing from his accent he seems to come from the south like Van.
    3. He had a wife that divorced him and married a black man which fits your fathers life neatly.

    And now to the more creepy part.

    4. The name of the show is my “My Name is Earl” which resembles the Zodiacs famous line “My Name is…”.

    5. Earl (the main character) has also got a LITTLE LIST of people. The people on the listare people he has been bad to in the past.

    Allthough I am pretty much convinced that this is a coincidence, I at least had to ventilate this thought. If nothing else it might amuse you a bit.

    Blessings from Sweden

    • Thank you for reaching out to me. I had not heard of this show My Name is Earl, but what in interesting discovery. I will look into it and get back to you.

    • That is because Gregory KNEW that Gary’s father was the zodiac, but it was a secret that he want to burry with him.

      The serie is in fact a tribute to EVB.

  3. Hi Gary, there is a chance that the book could be traslate to spanish?

    Because im really interested in buy it. But it would be more comfortable to me to read it in spanish, since im from Argentina.


    • Dear Marcos,

      Thanks for writing. Unfortunately, we have not sold the Spanish rights. However, in just a few months, the Portuguese edition will come out in Brazil, so I do hope that helps!

      If we publish in Spanish, I’ll definitely post it on the website!

  4. Mr. Stewart,

    I just finished reading your book and was blown away by all the information you uncovered. Truly riveting.

    I’m curious if you had an opportunity to collaborate with any of the (SF/Vallejo) inspectors or Robert Graysmith and if they commented on you work?

    Thank you for bearing your soul in search of the truth.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I have engaged the help of the new Cold Case Inspector in the SFPD, and have again submitted my DNA for his investigation. I have reached out to Napa and Vallejo, and both of those organizations have chosen to walk away from the Zodiac investigation. Going back to the active days of the Zodiac, those who remain, Graysmith, Toschi…have absolutely nothing to gain, and everything to lose, should they come forward and endorse my discovery. They both spent their entire careers, their lives (at costs we will never fathom), their celebrity credibility…claiming erroneously that Arthur Leigh Allen was the Zodiac killer. They got it wrong! I wouldn’t show up to a press conference either if some abandoned son of the real Zodiac killer solved a case in two years, that I’d spent my life trying to solve. I wish things were different. I’d personally love to meet both of them.

      Kind regards,

  5. Hello sir, I was Just curious if anything has been acknowledged as far as your evidence on the zodiac indeed being your father, or have they still just brushed it off?

    • Hi Chad,
      Yes, there have been significant developments, but I have to remain discreet at this point as the investigation is still considered ‘open and active.’ We are very close!
      Thanks for writing.

  6. Gary,
    I just finished reading your book, and found it extremely well written and as a result I’m so interested in how the story is and will play out. Are there any updates? Thank you for sharing your story.

    • We are working on a film project and still working to try to resolve this. We will let you know as soon as we know. Thanks, JoEllen!


  7. Sir, I just listened to you book on Audible. Congratulations on doing a fine job as the reader. Good Bless you and your family.

  8. Hi Gary,

    I haven’t read your book yet but I have just downloaded it and I’m looking forward to reading it. The reason for the interest is due to the discovery documentary which is currently airing in the UK. Episode one has just gone out and it looks like this series will be aimed at pointing the finger at Ross Sullivan.

    I have a couple of questions did anyone from the show contact you to look into your father and the evidence pointing to him? Based on the information they are presenting does it interest you to look in to the possibility that Ross or someone else could have been the Zodiac?



    • Hello George, no one from the History Channel or the production company contacted me, but there’s more to that story. I watched the documentary in disbelief. It was obvious that the producers had a different agenda, and at the end of the day, that panel of experts got it all wrong. Maybe they should have fed ‘Earl Van Best, Jr.’ into the supercomputer? The documentary certainly didn’t convince me that someone else could have possibly been the Zodiac Killer. In fact, if only reinforced my position that the reason no one else is able to solve it is that I did that years ago and there was only one Zodiac Killer and he was my father.
      Thanks, Gary

  9. Hello Mr.Stewart. I hope this is the right email address. I apologize if it is not or that you rather not be bothered. However, my name is ShyAnn and I am a sophomore in high school. In my English class, we are currently working on a project that involves unsolved cases, and we must create a podcast based on that case. My group chose the Zodiac case as our number one choice as we are very intrigued and curious about the case. As we were researching sources we came across your book, The Most Dangerous Animal of All. The information within your book is very fascinating, and it sparks great interest in our book. Obviously my group and I aren’t looking for answers or how to solve the case, because we know it most likely never will, but rather to get your own perception and any experiences you went through that involves the unsolved case. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and consider our request. We hope we can hear back from you soon. Until then, ShyAnn.

    • Hello ShyAnn,

      What an interesting project you’ve chosen! You certainly won’t be limited in the amount of resource material readily available for the Zodiac case. I would be happy to chat with you guys if it weren’t for my contractual obligations to my production company. Unfortunately, it will be quite some time before I’m able to share anything in a podcast, so I’m sorry to have to say no. I do wish you and your group the very best and success on your project!

  10. Gary. Referencing my post to you on November 5, 1916. I mentioned that i found your Dad’s name in the Halloween card. Does this not prove the zodiac killer was your Dad? At the time the police received the card your Dad’s name was not kniwn by them. So, your Dad could freely put his name in the card lnowing that the police would not see it bc they were not looking for it. Why is this case not solved with this evidence alone?

    • Gary, sorry i referenced in my last post to you as November 1916, i meant 5 November 2016. Fat fingers!
      Hope to hear from you back regarding the Halloween card info i mentioned. If that is proof, does there still have to be DNA proof as well?

      Best Regards
      Karen K

    • Hi Karen,

      Like you, I too wonder why the case hasn’t been officially ‘closed and solved’ with all of the evidence I’ve presented. Here’s hoping that the truth will be made known soon!


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