News & Current Affairs

August 16, 2008

FBI identifies US kidnap accused

FBI identifies US kidnap accused

Clark Rockefeller

Christian Gerhartsreiter, aka Clark Rockefeller, faces a number of charges

The FBI has used fingerprint testing to confirm the identity of a father accused of kidnapping his London-based daughter in the US.

It believes Clark Rockefeller, 48 – accused of abducting Reigh Boss, seven – is Christian Gerhartsreiter.

LA police had earlier said he was thought to be the German national, also “of interest” to officers over the 1985 disappearance of a couple in the US.

Mr Rockefeller’s lawyer said his client had little memory of pre-1993 events.

The FBI said it had now matched fingerprints from old immigration papers of Mr Gerhartsreiter to the suspect who called himself Clark Rockefeller.

The prints were taken from papers dating back to the 1980s and matched with a wine glass touched in late July – around the time he is accused of abducting his daughter – as well as prints taken by Baltimore police after his arrest on 2 August.

Last week a spokesman for the LA County sheriff’s department said the accused had been a “person of interest” in the disappearance in San Marino, California, of Jonathan and Linda Sohus, from whom he had rented a guesthouse in the 1980s.

Skeletal remains believed to be those of Mr Sohus were unearthed at the couple’s property in 1994. No charges have ever been filed in the case.

The accused has said he now recalls living in the guesthouse at the time of the couple’s disappearance and also remembered using the name Christopher Chichester, while living in California.


Lawyer Stephen Hrones said his client had told him that he barely knew the couple and that they had left while he was still in California.

He had used the name of Chichester because “he was aspiring to be an actor out there”, Mr Hrones said.

Jonathan and Linda Sohus

Jonathan and Linda Sohus went missing in 1985

He added there was nothing wrong with using aliases “as long as you don’t use it to defraud”.

The FBI said he was born in the former West Germany in 1961 and spent 27 years in the US using various names.

Daniel Conley, district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, said that by matching recent fingerprints to those on the old papers, the FBI’s fingerprint technicians had “brought science to bear where mere suspicion had prevailed”.

Mr Hrones said earlier this week that his client still believed his real name was Clark Rockefeller and that he had no recollection of being Christian Gerhartsreiter, but has not commented on the fingerprint results.

His client was arrested in Baltimore earlier this month over the alleged kidnapping of his daughter after a tip-off from a member of the public.

He was taken to Boston and remanded in custody by the court there.

He is charged with felony custodial kidnapping, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on 27 July.

The girl was reunited with her mother, Sandra Boss, with whom she lives in London.


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