Jul 21, 2014|
Angela talks with Gary Stewart, author of The Most Dangerous Animal of All, who believes his deceased father was the notorious Zodiac Killer.
We're discussing the hot topics of the day with co-host of First Take, Todd Menesses.
Angela discusses the shooting in Lafayette and says farewell to WWL as she hands her timeslot off to Scoot.
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Angela talks with WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore and Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the city's backlog of uninvestigated rape cases.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
Happy Monday and it is a spectacular one. Little rainy yesterday little overcast but look at today and I hope it's -- like this all week. -- we're gonna start our week was something special you're gonna need of just such an interest in man who has had an incredible life. And feels that his father was the zodiac killer so our first hour is with him he got a statement. Our second hour. Shift gears with that Clancy -- coming talking to the head of Bob -- or when head of counsel for penalties but it Louisiana. Talking about what the heck is going on with common core more from the political angle than the content of common core but it is a mess. And so we're gonna try to untangle it and our third hour a revisit from one of my favorite people doctor Melinda southern. Who has done such a tremendous job probably one of the leading figures in the -- for. Childhood obesity but she is a new book and it's about. Exercising. For four children who are obese which I'm learning is very different. So if you have a child or you are child or you have a grandchild. He might wanna tune into that. But we are going to begin where I have waited all weekend for. A Baton Rouge businessman is convinced his father was the infamous zodiac killer. The elusive serial killer who was linked to five killings in northern California in the late 1960s. Gary Stewart adopted as an infant has spent twelve years investigating. What he believes are the links. And the evidence to his father as the zodiac killer. His book the most dangerous animal ball is the story of his journey. Gary Stewart is our guest this hour thank you so much for being here and I truly am very excited about hearing this entire story. You were adopted by a wonderful couple yes you were born in new orleans' abandoned in Baton Rouge adopted by the wonderful -- Life is going well and then year 39 years old -- -- call from your birth right I guess. The phone call them my adoptive parents had. Thought would never happen right he's grown up. But then that was a call that I I always wanted to have. As long as I can remember wanting to find my roots so. Yeah out of the blue. Just the weekend of Mother's Day in 2002. My adoptive parents. Come walking up to me and it's that look that this is not going to be good news and hunting and who's dying in the faintly this serious and they walk up and so there's no easy way to tell you put the lady from San Francisco called. And says she's your mother. And I remember that feeling it's one of those once in a lifetime things. Full of excitement. By. Full of love and concern about my parents who who were strong enough and had enough faith to share this with me. And that today. Truly changed my life. So you have a phone call with her yes. And then you ultimately meet -- I drove home that evening with a small package that she is sent to mine my parents and in that package was a photograph of her and you know there was no deny -- his first time I ever soft somebody genetically. Related to me. I I got home that evening and picked up the phone and dialed the number and chickened out. The next day. After church with my mom Leona Stewart. I got up the courage to dial in number again and I guy got a voice message but I said. This. This phone call is for word Judy Guilford my name is Gary Stewart and I think you may be my mother. And if you are I would like to for the first time wish you happy -- -- and here's a number if you -- come back as she did yeah. Got very emotional I'm sure but something in that conversation -- subsequent conversations. Led you to believe that your father could be the zodiac killer yet actually. I believe it was a week later that. I quit my job. I had. But twist of fate. How are you wanna categorize -- I'd received. An offer of employment with the company based out of San Francisco and I turned it down. And I called the -- Monday and I said today is that job offer still there he set up -- -- -- you. So that weekend I was down a plane and I met my mother for the first time at the airport and that weekend you know all. It was all I can do not classic question and I knew would be a difficult one for her because when it ends up in in relinquish meant there's. It's not always the best story. But certainly something. I was naive about. And so laster who who was my father and that that's when I realized. We're getting to that to the serious material. And she straightened up -- driving her car. And so -- honey it's it's been so long ago when I was so young and he was twice my age so. I don't remember a lot but I think his name was -- And we were on the run from San Francisco ended up in New Orleans broke in desperate Monday he too -- by trained. From New Orleans to Baton Rouge. And when he came home without you. I left him immediately. And then when I left him he turned me into the authorities. So I -- I turned him into the authorities. And I remember spending ten minutes alone with you in the cold government. Building in downtown Baton Rouge in being forced to sign relinquished -- papers and and that's all one I told her right tennis said. Wait this guy took me from you and then you guys both want to weigh in and here I am I said you know I don't think I want to meet this guy. I've got the best. Stanley in that raised in the world's greatest father while while in the anyone also. I -- that's the way we ended it but it only lasted for me for about six months I told her I wanna find him. Did you know then he was deceased. I did not and she did not she did not and she was very young when they they they ran away together. They met when she was thirteen when they married. Just three months four months after she turned fourteen. And they had me when she had just turned fifteen okay so they end up in New Orleans there and bad straits. Why does he take a train to Baton Rouge and only that they leave using that that Angela that the only thing likened to that. Figure is that Baton Rouge was the closest. Big city. If if he had abandoned me here in New Orleans. All they had to do was checked the local hospital birth records and they had a footprint right so. He was Smart he he took me Ben -- they checked. Our lady of the lake the Baton Rouge general no footprints matched so he got away with it. And would have gotten away with if if my mother and left an -- demand. He did go to jail. Yes he went to jail for. It was sexual -- -- was marrying your mother so young he he he went to he got a one year senate's. In in county jail in San Francisco for does this statutory rate portion. But while it and they also send him to a mental institution. For free evaluation certainly if someone's doing the things that he did. Something's wrong so. During that process when he was being evaluated. And the charges from. New Orleans. The criminal neglect of faintly. Meaning leaving he. And then the fraud. And mail fraud fraud by wire fraudulent document has started adding up from different. Cities and states around the country because they left San Francisco. Want south towards. Mexico and in in traveled all the way across hitch hiking. To get to get to New Orleans ultimately. All of the US marshals in the end the local authorities started mounting their charges against my father so. By the time he got out of a Tosca Darrow state hospital he was facing a three year senate's and and -- -- point. 22 months state penitentiary San Quentin State Prison. Four for 22 month. Stay with us every one -- gonna continue this discussion with. The man who believes he is the son of the zodiac killer he has written a book the most dangerous animal of all. And he's gonna tell us when we come back the moment he realized gee this man could've done it stay with the signing into law under the don't -- well. Gary Stewart is our special guest -- author of the most dangerous animal of all. Believes firmly that the father who abandoned him in a hotel at four weeks dole in Baton Rouge is the zodiac killer. Zodiac killer a responsible for at least five deaths five murders. We've gotten a story about how you are reunited with your mother at the age of 39. And then start looking for your father. At what point did you realize and now I'm looking for your father. That the connection of oh my god this meant could be the zodiac killer. I was so naive when I started to enlisted my mother's help to find my father Denorfia was alive or deceased. Didn't consider what he would done and done with me because my mother didn't tell me everything he had gone she didn't tell me that I was abandoned she says he turned me into the authorities of the church. I didn't. Think twice when she went to her former husband's friends in the SF PD. For helped help me find my father what better place to go. Then the police department to find a missing person. Eleven years after my mother and father were apprehended. My mother remarried. And she happened to remarry the first ever African American homicide inspector and the San Francisco police department. Who also worked the zodiac case. So he was deceased. Father was deceased ma am my my mother's second husband was deceased he died in 98. My mother started looking for me in 2002001. But she enlisted his former colleagues in the SF PD one being an internal affairs. And is six months later. There her friend -- Butler came back with -- information saying. Gary's father. Was Earl van best junior and his Social Security number was this and he was born and will more Kentucky in and all this information. But there's information in Gary's father filed that I will not share with you guys. Cutting care to point at a named. I didn't know if he was alive. The reunion with my mother was so. Fulfilling and rewarding for me because I was after all sorts of my identity. I just -- meeting him I don't I don't care what he did in the year news. I just -- now on the other half. So I started looking and it over the course of the next six months to a year. How would run into a dead end and I would go back to my mother in and ask her for more information from that file. And they ultimately told my mother and I that the information in my father's file. Was so heinous it would destroy me. And and so. I say I pressed on but I didn't get very much further other than finding out that he had indeed died he passed away in Mexico City. And that I had half siblings he had married again in and had. That's half sister and two half Brothers in Vienna Austria. That he had -- abandoned they hear. So. I went back one last time. -- -- my mother and said look I've found my sister and she wants proof. And it seems like the information I've given her. Is is so contradictory to the information she has on her father can you please tell me what was in the file he's dentists -- -- heard anybody now. And the officer came back one more time is said to have Gary drop this thing. What he did. Later would make what he did to you and Gary seem inconsequential. So I did in July dropped it that was that was April 6 of 2004. Three months later having push all thoughts of my father out of my head I'm watching and they any cold case file special on the zodiac killer. Don't remember even hear about this killer. And they flash to San Francisco police department one it's cats. In my heart stops. And no one on -- look in that and and my son says look daddy cheated. And I want to get the only photograph on my father which I didn't know at that time it was his mug shot -- framed as much and I was told by my mother's friends in the SF PD it was unfolding in the photo. -- knows Jack it's not it's not. Maybe it's my father that's when I first realized what was willingness. Supposing you went back to the police and said OK now -- -- yes. And I never heard from the dilute it's sergeant in the internal affairs again. He told my mother not me he said. -- now tell Gary don't worry. Do we know -- the zodiac killer was and we've closed that case a long time ago was a guy who died ten years ago and I and I knew they were talking about but I knew that wasn't the case and that guy. It basically been exonerated for DNA and running and fingerprints. Was there any DNA of your father. Yes and it's in me. Okay. So you -- there was in fact -- was -- DNA taken at any of the scenes. Yes and so they checked it out against her father's DNA. What happened was I I want it. Around those. Friends of my mother and found the guy who is ahead of homicide at the time and he was so intrigued my story he asked to swab me. Just a few years earlier a year two years earlier. ABC's Primetime Live and this SF PD developed. What they think is a partial profile from the letters and envelopes from the zodiac killer and that the idea was to compare my DNA. To what they -- file for the zodiac killer. Perfect yes. And they didn't do it. I think they didn't do it how can think -- When I told my mother that. Look mom it's okay that Arab Butler. Is not gonna helpless I've got lieutenant Hennessey now. And I showed her that CSI form where they swabbed me and says please compare this is zodiac killer. I believe -- he has not denied this I believe my mother took that to her friend Carol Butler and he went to see Tennessee and so what are you doing. This is a this is a close case you've instructed not to spend any money yet your swab and this guy. He either put an -- to the case. And destroyed my DNA evidence. Because he knew something that I didn't now or they compared it. And maybe it was too close for comfort. This is what's making me crazy he's so I'm -- testing making new -- It just seems as if it was never truly solved wasn't. That's right it is considered like a cold case it is are so somebody comes out of the blue like you with all of this work that you -- Trying to create these links you give the DNA they supposedly had some and now there's resistance to check it out yes on now. We're gonna take a break on that everybody -- editor at the newsroom but stay with -- we're still looking for answers and Angela on WW. This is such a fascinating story and and frustrating just in the first thirty minutes of talking to what you've lived the last ten natural fears has to be unbelievable but you have left us with. You've been swabbed for your DNA by the leave guys in the original investigation detective Tennessee. He then turns it over you think to. The guy who's there now and then it just. Eyes on the line. The reason line though that the first of all lieutenant Tennessee was the top guy and homicide he owned homicide and the man was sincere and genuine with me I can tell and he could see the sincerity when he when -- when we spoke and we did speak quite often we became more than and a police officer and in a civilian I think we had action and actual friendship and so. Peace why he took my DNA. And he told me then he -- Gary first of all not supposed to be doing business. So please bear with me we just had a news crime lab director installed. It's gonna take her a little while to get their feet wet and then we have a current backlog of current cases that we have to run DNA on. In that that back load the backlog is some two years long now. So just sit tight you know it's it's been forty something years we can wait that's it no problem -- now on the -- -- It was about six months later when. Out of the balloon he emailed me and says Gary. I finally got the director of the crime lab to do this now they are doing this on the QT together. They're not sharing with -- any. That's when he sent me that form. That was in July of 2005. Almost a year after he -- me. I felt so good about where I was in my relationship with mom biological mother that I share that form there. And I believe that. That action on my part alone. I unwittingly. Betrayed lieutenant -- -- I believe she went straight to her friend Carol Butler internal affairs showed in that form. And Carol Butler knew what was in my father's -- whether that was zodiac or not whether it was that. My mother's next husband his homicide inspector friend. Had some involvement with my father in the zodiac case something in that file. Coupled with the CSI form. They shut the case. Lieutenant Hennessy was. Moved out of homicide. He was put in the special investigations department. He never. And this broke my heart because I truly. Felt he was a friend. He never returned my phone calls he never returned my emails and in in 08 he retire. And I'm not spoken -- him Tuesday. So he may feel betrayed that you showed -- -- -- other tech OK the I'm just very curious why. What do what does the cover up why don't they just say. This is a cold cases as an opportunity to open it up and an even if it's not true to say we've discounted one more cure. If they had if they had compared mind my DNA in and there were no similarities to the profile they have on file for the zodiac killer. John -- would have been the first and the happiness to tell me -- Smile right it's not you okay. But I never I never happen. I believe Butler would have wanted to say -- forget it it it didn't match OK you're you're dead wrong. That never happened so -- may say volumes. Absolutely. Plus. As I said my my mother's. Former husband rotate Gilford. Was. A zodiac case inspector. The cover up which I've kind of hinted -- in the most dangerous animal ball. Is that. Via the remaining officers for justice the officers. Who in the late sixties. Filed the lawsuit against -- San Francisco police department for racial discrimination. If you at the time if you weren't. White Irish. You didn't get one of the top jobs in the SFP days so. The officers for justice was rotating Guilford and Earl Sanders the first ever African American. Chief of police of the San Cisco police department. That's small fraternity. I believe Butler. Looked in my father's file. And saw that wrote tea had involvement in my father's. Questioning in the zodiac case. And therefore decided to make it go away after all. If I'm right. And they made me go away one last time which they did ten years ago they thought they did this is over. It's over they never have to hear. The -- the word zodiac will die out slowly but surely. And and in the next hundred years just like Jack the Ripper there'll never be another credible suspect to come for. But even if they open up the file and they saw that your mother's second husband the rotating -- man had interviewed. Your father she didn't know that she was oblivious. And he's dismissed it and said no this -- not yet finished just a human mistake. Absolutely it's it's and is this a mistake we all make mistakes right. I would think that there would be no liability. Or or hurt even. And the reason for shame or embarrassment. I make mistakes every day in my -- course. And -- it just seems twisted that it should be at this stage forty odd years later fifty years later. We've solved it Holland Louis. Bright and in. Exactly and in it it it could be that before wrote -- married my mother may be checked her background maybe he saw. That she ran off with a guy who's now zodiac suspect and had. An infant that that he abandoned. We don't know. But what I do you know when one I'm extremely hopeful for now at this stage in my life I was I was young when this started now om -- kindled and enough. And my hope is that. Anyone who had a vested interest. In covering up the truth. They're gone. -- butler's deceased. Earl Sanders is is in poor health. And doesn't can't speak publicly at all. Lieutenant Tennessee. I still love him and and I'm looking forward speaking to him again he's retired. And there are a lot of new people. A lot of younger people on the San Cisco police department I think with every bit of initiative and incentive to want to get to the bottom of this and make this go away once and for all. And I'm hoping to visit with those people soon. Stay with us everyone we're gonna continue our talk with Gary Stewart. Author of the most dangerous animal of all financial under the that you -- We've been talking with that Gary Stewart who has written just an incredible book. The most dangerous animal -- searching for my father and finding the zodiac killer. It's it's pretty mind blowing. And it's it's just not an easy story from beginning to end. But most frustrating. Probably toward the end because you feel that you do have that connection at all you need is that. One little bits of information that will cement that. What you believe and yet now you've hit this ball right both because of the police. And 96 because of. Right -- that I'm I'm just for you right Angela frustrating. It is is an understatement. I've lived I've lived the past ten years that way hoping because all I did was. However did was set out to find my father. And to ultimately thank him for. Leaving me close enough to the Stewart's. To receive that blessing of adoption with my family so. I didn't nine set out to go find a serial killer I I I wanna throw my arms around that man and thank him you know telling. Look at my look at me look at my son have done well in business you've got a grandson be happy what you you made the right decision. Didn't turn out that way but it yes is extremely frustrating but. But it's certainly not over. From from the book standpoint. The week after releasing the book in the -- New York Times best seller. We are. It's been published in the UK. And and we have sold to foreign rice to four other countries. Brazil Czechoslovakia. Italy Germany and Japan. We're working on the movie aspect I can say anything about that now but certainly. I promised my family there would not obviously cool. Because this took a fifth of my life and a whole lot of my focus. But. Now. Having found out so -- Texas may thirteenth when the book came out about what's really happening and what really happened. There has to be the final chapter in this story and and I started writing now ready. -- titled that bloodline which was Susan and stuff from my co authors. Original hope for the name of this book. But bloodlines the truth and consequences. In the adoption reunion story. And your family's okay that your doing enough. You know reluctantly and my wife gave me that look like I'm no you have to do to. And needs this for you and you need this for us it's powerful it's very powerful. Your if your father. Killed five people were to say he is today killing what was his motivation. -- I belief that my father. Was just like me dislike you not a natural born killer. My father lost. The date the greatest love of his life at a very early age his his father and mother divorced his father. Forced his mother to divorce him over infidelity. His father was a minister a great. Respected military commander in the navy. Immoral war to end and beyond that and his mother was very promiscuous heat my father told his cousins in South Carolina that he got tired of hearing. The -- period they had boards banging -- so long -- mother's room with the numerous suitors of his mother. I believe that's where he learned his respect or lack thereof for women and eventually his rage. Against women his best friend told me that. His mother my grandmother had absolutely nothing to do with my father when he was in high school he was considered news. I believe. His is in in it it it it played out that way when my father -- his first wife she was seventeen he was 23. She escaped with her life divorcing him for inhuman. And extreme inhuman treatment in extreme cruelty. He nearly killed her I talked to her son by another father. And then he he had my mother and and abused her and and me and abused me you log me in a footlocker. He left me I mean what father Ken lay and child down. First child any child and walk away. And then my mother rejected him she rejected him when he came back to her after -- Clinton and asked her runaway one last time. Let's go get the baby let's start over she rejected him. I believe that was it. I believe that was it. The the people he killed and it was the the cryptic note -- this link. That got him named zodiac. What was that. Everyone that I've spoken to who knew my father said he was. Very highly intelligent. One of its cousins the first cousins said he was fifty years ahead of this time. Which is ironic right it took me fifteen years to come back and figure all this out. But he insisted. It did that do this bill letters to the authorities in the named in the Scifres was his way to. Exert improve his superiority over the authorities. And he won until now. He said my name is in those ciphers. And for the first time in 48 years I found that name in in three ciphers. And it's only I'm not a genius investigator it's only because I knew what name to look for in it's it's a school Thursday and Earl van best junior. Written all three ways he ever wrote his name and only difference diapers. He said my name -- news. You know I have to ask this you are who you are because of yes genetics but more I think because you had great parents. And that's a widget that's a weird feeling. That you might have come from somebody who was. Killer it's a great last question for this time on the you're right but just like I believed in my father. Was not a natural born killer. He's a product. Of his nurture. So mind. Thank god I was raised by a -- in -- Stewart. And so in both instances we are the most dangerous animal wall was more than a true crime book. It is truly a case study of nature vs nurture and in both cases one extremely negative and one extremely positive. Nurture one now. Absolutely and that that will also be part of the -- absolutely. Absolutely yeah. -- this is fascinating. I'm looking into thinking who's gonna play here. It'll be Russell Crowe or Brandon. Brad Pitt moose stuff and I love hearing that because that's what she says but really I don't summit suggested Kiefer Sutherland from -- -- would be good to -- You know -- -- we'll -- you just or do you have your day job still argue I did. You do I do I love Monday. It keeps me sane well and the great support of your -- absolutely. I cannot thank you enough this is nothing short of fascinating. The most dangerous animal ball searching for my father and finding the zodiac killer Gary start. And thank you thank you very much and you gonna come back when the next one comes out I'd love to perfect. We'll be right back. And our wonderful mom summer splash cash conscious of the second. That was a fascinating hour and I hope you'll stay for our next hour Clancy -- someone from on cable and someone from -- Talking about what the heck is happening. With the common core with the 700000 kids getting ready just go to school in the month and it's still kind of in -- -- At least do stay with its. Then we're going to later in the last hour talking with. Not just a delightful woman doctor southern who is gonna talk about her new book which is all about how obese children should exercise. And that's very very important markets apparently it is different. And I think we can all learn from that so interesting interesting day.