This sketch of the Zodiac Killer is based on witness testimonies. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
A Louisiana man who set out in search of his biological father more than 10 years ago discovered a horrifying truth: His dad was the notorious Zodiac Killer.
Gary L. Stewart claims in his new book that his father - now dead - was the serial killer who murdered five people in Northern California between 1968 and 1969, according to a published report.
"The Most Dangerous Animal of All," out on Tuesday, was kept secret for months by dozens of HarperCollins staff, New York Magazine reported.
The book's cover art still has not been revealed on its Amazon page, and a summary of the book doesn't mention the Zodiac case.
Stewart discovered the truth about his father after 12 years of research, Tina Andreadis, a publicist at HarperCollins, told New York Magazine.
The proposal for the book came to HarperCollins 15 months ago and was acquired within a couple weeks. Stewart wrote the book with Susan Mustafa, a journalist and true crime author.
"Our lawyers felt it was legally sound," Andreadis said of the 367-page book.
The publishing company did not contact the San Francisco Police Department, Andreadis said. According to the book, the police "knew more than they're willing to admit," she said.
This is not the first time a person has come forward claiming to know who the Zodiac Killer was, but Andreadis said Stewart's father, who had an arrest record for small crimes in San Francisco, looks a lot like Zodiac.
"If you look at Gary’s photo next to the sketch of the Zodiac next to his father’s mug shot, you can see that there is very clearly more than just a passing resemblance. They look alike," Andreadis said.
"He didn’t want to believe," she added. "I don’t think most people want to know that their father is a notorious serial killer."
The Zodiac Killer claimed to have slain dozens of people. Police confirmed that he attacked seven victims, including five who were murdered. Zodiac, who was never caught, was infamous for sending cryptic letters to police and media. He was the subject of the 2007 movie "Zodiac" featuring Jake Gyllenhaal.