Video - "Attorney: Rockefeller has no memory before 1993"
'Rockefeller' saga a tale of multiple identities
By KAREN TESTA
BOSTON (AP) — Clark Rockefeller may not really be a descendant of the oil tycoon, but if authorities and reports are to be believed, he sure was a lot of other things:
_ A German student named Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter who lived with families in Connecticut until he wore their hospitality thin.
_ A teen husband who left his wife in Wisconsin a day after they wed.
_ A Wall Street bond salesman named Christopher Crowe, who talked a good game but rarely closed a deal.
_ A guesthouse tenant named Christopher Chichester, long suspected in the disappeareance and presumed deaths of the couple who owned the San Marino, Calif., home.
_ And Clark Rockefeller, a stay-at-home dad who lived in a $2 million brownstone in Boston's tony Beacon Hill neighborhood until his wealthy wife divorced him when she grew suspicious of his background.
The twisted life of multiple identities unraveled after Rockefeller allegedly kidnapped his daughter, Reigh, on July 27 during a supervised visit in Boston. He was caught a week later in Baltimore. The girl was found safe and has been reunited with her mother.
Rockefeller refuses to speak to authorities and remains jailed in Boston without bail. His attorney, Stephen Hrones, reiterated Friday that Rockefeller can't remember anything before 1993.
The family of the wealthy oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller says he is not related, and authorities say they can't find any record of this "Rockefeller" before 1993.
"We have all these different stories from everywhere. He says he doesn't remember anything. He's my client and I believe him until I see solid evidence that he's not who he says he is," Hrones said Friday outside the jail.
Hrones said that although his client has no memory, he vehemently denies any involvement with the disappearance and presumed deaths of Jonathan and Linda Sohus of San Marino, Calif.
"There are certain things you know you didn't do," Hrones said.
But authorities have found fingerprints.
Los Angeles police said Rockefeller's prints matched those on an old license application submitted by Chichester, who has long been a suspect in the disappearance of Jonathan and Linda Sohus. They also believe Chichester was an alias used by Gerhartsreiter.
Rockefeller's prints also match those on a stockbroker license application filed under the name Christopher Crowe, The Boston Globe reported Friday, citing unnamed law enforcement sources.
The strongest word on his true identity came Friday, when a man in Germany told reporters Rockefeller was his brother, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, the son of an artist and homemaker in Upper Bavaria who felt like he was better than his modest upbringing.
"It seems you found my brother," Alexander Gerhartsreiter said upon being handed a photograph of Rockefeller by a Boston Herald reporter who visited his home. "It is really a shock."
He said his older brother was born Feb. 21, 1961, in Siegsdorf, Germany, and was raised until 1978 in the same house where his family still lives today. Gerhartsreiter said his brother moved to Connecticut as a student and never returned, initially keeping in contact but out of touch since he called his parents in 1985 — the year the couple in California and their tenant Chichester disappeared.
Hrones said Rockefeller speaks German but does not remember living in the country or having a German brother. He said Rockefeller remembers only "tidbits" of his childhood — including going to Mount Rushmore in a station wagon and having a Scottish nanny.
Gerhartsreiter said his brother had told his family he had taken the name Christopher Chichester because his given name was too difficult for Americans.
"I think Germany was too small for him," Gerhartsreiter told a Boston Globe reporter who also visited him at his home Friday. "He wanted to live in the big country and maybe get famous. Now that I see all this, he's really famous."
Hrones said Rockefeller's memories begin around 1993. In 1995, he married Sandra Boss, a senior partner in the London office of the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. She has not responded to requests for comment left with her employer.
At least two families in Connecticut said Rockefeller is certainly the same young man who came to live with them when he was a teenager.
Steve Savio, 39, of Berlin, Conn., said his family met him after answering an advertisement in a newspaper from a visiting German teen looking for a place to live.
"I recall him thinking he's better than the rest of us," Savio said. "I recall him telling stories about having servants growing up and like that."
Savio said he last saw the man he knew as Christian Reiter in 1981 but said he kept in contact with his mother, telling her he was using the name Christopher Crowe to open a production company. Savio said the FBI interviewed his mother in 1988 after a man identifying himself as Christopher Crowe tried to sell a pickup truck in Connecticut belonging to the missing Californians, Jonathan and Linda Sohus. He apparently fled before authorities could track him down.
Crowe is also the name on the stockbroker license application with fingerprints linked to Rockefeller, according to the Globe. A former colleague at Nikko Securities International, Richard Barnett, told the newspaper, "The man knew very little about corporate bonds."
Records reviewed by The Associated Press show that after Gerhartsreiter left Connecticut, he went to Wisconsin, where he married 22-year-old Amy Jersild on Feb. 20, 1981, at the Dane County courthouse in Madison. He was 19 at the time — and the marriage enabled him to get a green card.
He left the next day, according to divorce records Jersild filed 11 years later. On them, she listed his address as "unknown."
Contributing to this report were Associated Press reporters Nancy Kelsey and Glen Johnson in Boston, Patrick McGroarty in Bergen, Germany, and Ryan J. Foley in Madison, Wis.