Kidnapper’s Past Comes Under Extreme Scrutiny
September 4, 2008
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A man arrested in Baltimore accused of kidnapping his daughter is claiming to be Clark Rockefeller. He states he spent “six glorious and wonderful days” with the girl while evading police, but he will not speak of his life before 1993.
Police say Rockefeller is actually a German immigrant named Christian Gerhartsreiter. California police want to question him with regard to the disappearance of a couple in 1985. Gerhartsreiter plead not guilty to charges of kidnapping his daughter, Reigh Boss, during a supervised visit after losing custody to his ex-wife, Sandra Boss.
During a jail interview with The Boston Globe, Gerhartsreiter said he decided to take Reigh the day before the supervised visit. However, police claim he spent months setting up the alleged kidnapping. He was taken into custody in early August in Baltimore; he was hoping to start a new life there.
The interview was supervised by Gerhartsreiter’s attorney, Stephen Hrones, during which Gerhartsreiter claimed his name was Clark Rockefeller. He depicted himself as a devoted father, stating that he read poetry to his daughter, as well as taught her to read newspapers and scientific journals before the age of three.
Representatives of the Rockefeller family stated Gerhartsreiter is not related to the descendants of John D. Rockefeller. He said his Rockefeller name was given to him by a man named Harry Copeland, he described him as his godfather from New York who died in the late 1990s.
Hrones averted any questions about Gerhartsreiter’s life before 1993, including the time authorities state he spent renting a guesthouse in San Marino. California authorities want to question Gertsreiter about the 1985 disappearance of newlyweds Jonathan and Linda Sohus. The guesthouse Gerhartsreiter rented was owned by the mother of Jonathan Sohus. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has labeled Gerhartsreiter a “person of interest,” but he has declined to talk to their investigations.
Gerhartsreiter refused to go into specifics about the alleged kidnapping, only saying that he loved his daughter and that “you know, I lost, I lost big time in Boston.”
When he and Sandra Boss divorced in December, he refused to show proof of his identity and the court awarded custody of the daughter to Sandra Boss. Garharsreiter refused to detail his decision not to show proof of his identity during the divorce proceedings and said he couldn’t remember entire chapters of his life.
In Bergen, Germany, Alexander Gerhartsreiter told Boston Herald reporters that the man in custody is his brother. He said his brother moved from Germany to Connecticut as a student and never returned, and had not been in touch with his family since 1985.
Gary Koops, a spokesman for Boss, said she was focused on her daughter.
“In light of Mr. Gerhartsreiter’s history of deceitful behavior, any statements made by him should be viewed with extreme skepticism,” Koops told the Globe.
Investigators say they are still digging into Gerhartsreiter’s past, which they say is built on lies.