Essdras Suarez, Pool/AP
Clark Rockefeller appears in a municipal
court, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008 in Boston.

As Details Surface, Clark Rockefeller Mystery Only Deepens

August 08, 2008 02:26 PM
by Shannon Firth
Having captured Rockefeller and recovered his daughter Reigh, who he allegedly kidnapped on July 27, police continue to puzzle over the man’s true identity.

30-Second Summary


On Thursday, Steve Savio, 39, of Berlin, Conn., said he is ‘100 percent certain’ that alleged kidnapper Clark Rockefeller is Christian Gerhart Reiter, a German exchange student who lived with Savio’s family in 1980. The FBI has potentially tied Clark Rockefeller’s identity to that of Reiter, who stayed with two families in Connecticut 30 years ago. Police are questioning both families.

Police have been working to establish Rockefeller’s identity since he was arrested on charges of kidnapping his seven-year-old daughter, Reigh Boss, who was returned safely to her mother, Sandra Boss on August 2.

The Australian reported that “the couple divorced in part over ‘identity issues,’” perhaps an understatement for a reported con man with several aliases.

Rockefeller was refused bail at a preliminary hearing in Boston on August 5. That same day, Rockefeller’s fingerprints were matched to a driver’s license application in another state; the name on that application, Christopher Chichester, was a suspect in the long-ago murder of a newlywed couple, Jonathan and Linda Sohus, in California.

According to ABC News, Savio said his mother Gwen was questioned by the FBI in 1988 when a man using the name Christopher Crowe attempted to sell a truck that was registered to Sohus. Rockefeller’s attorney denies any connection to the murder, as well as the proposition that Rockefeller could be guilty of kidnapping with respect to his own daughter.

As the Boston Herald notes, Rockefeller had been the primary caregiver since Reigh’s birth. Yet in their divorce settlement, he gave Boss custody of Reigh in exchange for their $1.5 million estate. Authorities suspect he took the settlement to avoid surrendering his birth certificate. Following the decision in December, Boss took Reigh with her to London.

Evidently, Rockefeller had second thoughts, and allegedly kidnapped Reigh during a supervised visit at his Boston home on July 27. Police, following Rockefeller’s hints to the getaway drivers, initially believed he planned to escape on a yacht.

Two months ago, Bruce Boswell, a Baltimore resident, met with Rockefeller and sold him a catamaran—not the “yacht” Rockefeller had described. The sale was completed after hours at an Obsidian Realty office he falsely claimed to own. According to the Baltimore Sun, Rockefeller “punched in an alarm code, entered the office and wrote up a bill of sale.”

Rockefeller told Boswell about his plans to buy and renovate a historic theater in West Baltimore, spoke as though he operated in posh circles in New York, and “said negative things about women.”

Police caught Rockefeller Saturday following a tip from Obsidian employees. Thomas Lee, Boston Police Superintendent said, “The way he operates, I’m sure he would have started a new life in high-society circles, and probably become an upstanding Baltimore citizen.”

The Mystery of Clark Rockefeller

Edward Savio, 45, Steven Savio’s older brother, said he attended Berlin (Conn.) High School with Reiter in his senior year, “He claimed to be a German student, and I think he had already finished. We just figured out everything was not what it was.”
In an interview posted on The Boston Globe’s Web site tracking breaking news about Rockefeller’s true identity, private investigator Robert Long says he believes Rockefeller fits the profile of a typical con artist. Long explained, “They seem to attract people that are sincere and loyal and sometimes those individuals are attracted to them because they have a litle mystery in their own life about who they really are.”
The Boston Globe, citing law enforcement forces, reported August 5 that Rockefeller's fingerprints, taken upon his arrest, have been linked to an out-of-state license application under a different name—presumably another alias. That name, in turn, is on a list of people wanted in a homicide case in California that is believed to have occurred more than a decade ago. Los Angeles detectives are traveling to Boston to interview Rockefeller in connection with the case.
Rockefeller's attorney, Steven Hrones, told reporters today that Rockefeller cannot be guilty of kidnapping his own daughter, and that Rockefeller had no connection to the California murder.
According to British paper the Daily Mail, “A detective said: ‘He has no work history, no educational history, not even a social security number.’” A friend of Rockefeller’s said that, following the custody agreement and his wife’s changing her phone number, “He was incredibly bitter.” The friend also shared what he’d been told or guessed about Rockefeller’s background, including that he was “born and raised in New York and lost both parents in a car crash.”
Rockefeller introduced himself to the Baltimore man who eventually sold him a small catamaran as Chip Maclauglin, but asked that the boat be registered under the name Chip Smith. Boswell said, “He said he didn’t like the name MacLaughlin.” Employees at Obsidian Reality are cooperating with investigators. Rockefeller had initially claimed that he owned the company. Harry MacLaughlin owns the corporation that oversees Obsidian, Harbor Reality.
The New York Post reported that Rockefeller had furnished a three-bedroom house in Mount Vernon, a posh neighborhood in Baltimore, with newly bought mattresses, a fridge, and a picnic table. The home was rented “several months ago” and equipped with “all the necessities of a long-term residence.”
The Australian writes of Sandra Boss: “It remains unclear how a brilliant businesswoman, with high society connections on both sides of the Atlantic, had come to be duped by such an improbable figure as Mr. Rockefeller.”

Background: ‘Clark Rockefeller, Suspected of Abducting Daughter, Is Captured’


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