The case of the Zodiac Killer remains one of the most baffling unsolved crime mysteries of the 20th century. The man terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area, murdering at least five men and women–though he claimed to have killed many more–in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was never caught. The Zodiac case has puzzled law enforcement and the public for nearly 50 years, and at this point many believe the case will never be solved.
Many suspects have been considered throughout the years, including Ted Kaczynski, the infamous “Unabomber.” Although some suspects have been taken more seriously than others, none have ever been positively identified as the Zodiac Killer.
But a couple years ago, a man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana turned the entire Zodiac case upside down. HarperCollins published a book entitled The Most Dangerous Animal of All in May 2014 by a man named Gary L. Stewart. In the book, Stewart, a vice president at a cleaning company, claimed that he finally cracked the case and discovered the Zodiac Killer was…his own father. The story was so explosive that HarperCollins did something almost unheard of in the publishing world: they kept the book a total secret until the day before it was published. The story of how Stewart came to this conclusion is as fascinating as the Zodiac case itself.
Stewart was abandoned by his biological father in the stairwell of an apartment building in Baton Rouge when he was just a baby in 1963. He was adopted by a loving family and had an idyllic childhood. In 2002, when Stewart was 39-years-old, his birth mother contacted him for the first time. After talking with her, Stewart decided he wanted to find out more about his biological father, a man named Earl Van Best, Jr., who had passed away in 1984. What he discovered about his birth father shocked and amazed Stewart. He found himself on a twelve-year journey that ended with the publishing of The Most Dangerous Animal of All in 2014.