Questioned Document Expert Wakshull Confirms Alleged Zodiac Handwriting is Not Earl Van Best Jr–Misidentification Causes Expert To Question If Marrying Minister Might Be Zodiac?

Los Angeles, California
October 23, 2014

 In an August, 2014 telephone conversation with respected Zodiac researcher Mike Rodelli,  handwriting expert  Michael Wakshull admitted that  “it was the priest (Reverent Fliger) who had written out the marriage certificate.”

book covers zodiac solved

In the spring of 2014, two companion books were published claiming to have “identified and solved” the Zodiac murders that occurred in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1969.

Wakshull’s book, The End of the Zodiac Mystery  (Self pub print and e-book, 97 pages) presented his handwriting evidence , along with this dramatic claim:

“I am virtually certain that the writer of the marriage certificate between Earl Van Best Jr. and Judith Chandler is the same writer as the writer of the Zodiac letters.”

The second book, The Most Dangerous Animal Of All: Searching For My Father and Finding The Zodiac Killer (HarperCollins 2014) was co-authored by Gary L. Stewart  and Susan Mustafa. In that book, Gary Stewart alleges that his father,  was the Zodiac killer. Also, that his mother was married to one of the SFPD  detectives  who was close to the investigation and  he believes there was a cover-up … The  main piece of “evidence” was his handwriting expert’s identification of his father’s handwriting on a Reno marriage certificate, which his expert identified to a “virtual certainty” as matching known letters written by Zodiac.

On May 26, 2014, after reading the Stewart/Mustafa book, I questioned the son’s claim  suspecting that the marriage certificate was submitted by the marrying minister, (Rev. Edward Fliger) and  likely not the handwriting of Stewart’s father, Earl Van Best Jr.

Independent of my own suspicions, Zodiac researcher, Mike Rodelli, took it upon himself to conduct a follow-up and was able to obtain samples of the reverend’s handwriting along with a witness interview from a church employee identifying the marriage certificate was  written by Rev. Fliger and not Earl Van Best Jr.

I obtained some previously unknown additional public handwriting samples (Social Security Application) known to belong to Earl Van Best Jr., which further confirmed the misidentification by the son and  QDE Wakhull.

See my original blog on this below, “One Week after Purporting the ‘Zodiac Case Solved’ Handwriting Expert Appears to Have Inadvertently Accused a Baptist Minister of Being the Zodiac Killer.”

 Original blog

In a recent review by me of Tom Voigt’s Zodiac Killer website I found the below Message Board post by Mike Rodelli, informing us that he had a telephone conversation with QDE Wakshull in August, 2014. (some ten weeks after my posting of the handwriting comparisons of Rev. Fliger to  Van Best Jr. and the marriage certificate).

Below is Mike’s  October 5, 2014 post relating to his conversation with Mr. Wakshull and the HW expert’s confirmation that the marriage certificate was written by Rev. Fliger.  Apparently, in an attempt to defend his analysis, Mr. Wakshull informed Rodelli:

“Earl Van Best and the priest may have been in cahoots, or possibly the priest was Zodiac.”

Wakshull admits mistake to Mike99


  1. R. Rowley on December 1, 2014 at 8:30 am


    I was wondering: have you or has anyone else observed that a letter sent to J. Edgar Hoover on
    January 19th, 1947 and signed “G48” appears (to my eyes anyway!) to match the writing of George Hodel?

    This is in the online FBI files from the case available here:

    Page 6 is a typed-up summary of the letter and page 7 is a facsimile/photocopy of the original. The writer alternates between cursive and printing. Unfortunately the printing isn’t of the block or all-capitals sort as in the BDA communications. Words misspelled: “Dahia”, “Murder” for “murderer” (the reverse usage of that of the one-year anniversary letter sent in regards to the Georgette Bauerdorf slaying; plus use of capital M for “Murder”). Point #9 (of the 9 points in the letter) seems particularly ungrammatical:

    9) Within two weeks Murder be caught.

    I’ve been (w)racking my brain trying to figure out what ’48’ in “G48” might mean but am drawing a blank. Naturally, I think “G” stands for “George”.

    January 19th would be a mere 4 days after the body was discovered. I see the letter as another red herring like the false offer to surrender

    I apologize if this has been observed before. Best regards!

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