The Orange County Register ran a front page story today about Deborah Perez, the Corona woman who claims her adoptive father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, a carpenter who died in 1983, was actually the Zodiac killer. In case you don't already know, Perez' colorful claim first surfaced in an April 29 press conference in San Francisco, in which she asserted to have been present for some of the actual Zodiac murders, but forgot all about them until decades later.
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In newspaper jargon, Perez' story is already old news. Which leads to an important question: Why is the Register ignoring the most incredible developments in this intriguing tale, which I first exposed a few days ago in a Navel Gazing blog post revealing that Perez' biological father is actually none other than--wait for the drum roll and circus music please--US President John F. Kennedy!
Okay, so that's a slight exaggeration. I didn't break this incredible story, True Crime Report did, and the story isn't as amazing as you'd think. In fact, True Crime Report simply reported that Perez, who grew up in Tijuana before Hendrickson adopted her, once told her former boss, Chris Sorenson, then the mayor of Corona, that JFK was her dad. Not only that, she claimed, but she was even with Robert F. Kennedy the day before he was assassinated. (You can also read a story about this at our sister paper SF Weekly's blog, the Snitch).
Apparently Perez tried selling this story to true crime writer M. William Phelps a year ago. Thing is, she'd already told Phelps that Hendrickson was the Zodiac. Phelps was considering writing a book about the Zodiac claim until Perez piled on with the JFK story, at which point Phelps decided that maybe her story didn't exactly fit within the true crime genre.
In the Register's defense, the front-page Perez profile did note that not everyone believes her story. Buried near the end of the piece is the following sentence. "Critics accused Perez of avarice or called her a fame-seeker." In any case, the newspaper isn't alone in ignoring the mounting evidence that Perez is actually a real-life Forrest Gump with famous father figures. As far as we know, none of the mainstream newspapers or media outlets that have hyped Perez' amazing story have bothered following up on these fascinating new details.