Grand jury to hear evidence in San Marino mystery

I just posted this story online. Essentially, LA County has opened a grand jury look into the 1985 disappearance of John and Linda Sohus and the 1994 discovery of bones in a San Marino backyard.

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has convened a grand jury investigation into the 1985 disappearance and possible murder of a San Marino couple, officials said Tuesday.

Clark Rockefeller, 48, facing trial in Boston in connection with the abduction of his daughter last July, has been named a person of interest in the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus 24 years ago.

The case became a homicide investigation in May 1994. It was then that bones, believed to be those of John Sohus, turned up in the back yard of the home the couple shared with Rockefeller, then known as Christopher Chichester.

Attorney Jeffrey Denner, who is representing Rockefeller, did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

DA spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said she could neither confirm nor deny that a grand jury had been impaneled in the case. “Those proceedings are secret,” Gibbons said.

At least two handwriting experts have been asked to submit materials for the inquiry, which is being handled by Deputy District Attorney Catherine Brough of the Major Crimes Division, said a source close to the investigation, who asked not to be identified.

One of those experts, Sheila Lowe, said Tuesday she has been asked to submit materials, including a handwriting analysis chart she prepared for this newspaper.

“I have given lots of opinions before and never been called to testify before a grand jury,” Lowe said. “It was quite a surprise.”

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Deportation for Rockefeller?*

This from the Boston Herald, via the Associated Press:

BOSTON — A lawyer for the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller says the German native could face deportation.

Jeffrey Denner, the attorney for the man authorities say is really Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, told the Boston Globe Friday that federal immigration officials have filed legal papers seeking to turn him over for possible deportation if he is convicted of kidnapping. Removal would take place after any possible sentence.

Prosecutors are considering a prison term of four-and-a-half to five years if Gerhartsreiter agrees to plead guilty to kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter.

*Rockefeller is due back in court tomorrow, accordign to Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. Here’s a copy of his press release:

The defendant formerly known as CLARK ROCKEFELLER will return to Suffolk Superior Court tomorrow in connection with his pending parental kidnapping case. CHRISTIAN KARL GERHARTSTREITER (D.O.B. 2/21/61) is charged with that offense as well as counts of providing a false name to police, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.  The proceedings are expected tomorrow at 3:00 on the ninth floor of the courthouse.



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Clark Rockefeller’s wife offers church back to New Hampshire town

This from the Associated Press. Seems that Sandra Boss can no longer afford the upkeep of an old church in Cornish, N.H. Her former husband, Clark Rockefeller, aka Christian Gerhartsreiter, who took over the church in 2004 in exchange for $110,000.

Rockefeller/Gerhartsreiter used the name Christopher Chichester when he lived in San Marino in the 1980s. LA County Sheriff’s homicide detectives have named him as a person of interest in the 1985 disappearance of John and Linda Sohus, a San Marino couple.
Our special section on the mystery is here.

The Boston Herald picked up the latest wire story:

CORNISH, N.H. — The ex-wife of the man who called himself Clark Rockefeller has offered to give an historic church back to the New Hampshire town of Cornish.

Sandra Boss says she can no longer support Trinity Church, an 1808 building which hosts weddings and other events. Selectmen said they will recommend residents accept the offer.

Cornish resident Peter Burling offered to donate the church to the town in 2004. But Rockefeller, who owned property in town, took over the church in exchange for $110,000.


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Rockefeller now held without bail

Here’s the AP story.

This from Suffolk County DA’s spokesman Jake Wark:

BOSTON, Oct. 2, 2008–A Suffolk Superior Court judge today ordered the man formerly known as Clark Rockefeller held without bail, reversing the decision of a clerk magistrate days earlier and citing the defendant’s “ingenious capacity to transform himself.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley hailed Judge D. Lloyd Macdonald’s decision to withhold bail from CHRISTIAN KARL GERHARTSREITER (D.O.B. 2/21/61).

“This defendant has eluded authorities before – we’d prefer not to give him another chance,” Conley said, citing Gerhartsreiter’s 1988 disappearance from a job on Wall Street when he learned that Connecticut investigators were looking for him. “We’ve maintained, after reviewing decades of deception, that no monetary bail will ensure his appearance before the court.”

At a bail review hearing called by the defendant’s attorney, Assistant District Attorney David Deakin told Macdonald that he made his “concededly unusual request” to deny Gerhartsreiter bail because of the extraordinary degree of planning and prevarication that went into his 7-year-old daughter’s July 27 abduction and the years of phony names and stories that preceded it.

Ruling from the bench, Macdonald rejected defense suggestions to outfit Gerhartsreiter with a GPS monitoring bracelet, saying “there have been numerous instances of persons removing” the devices.

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Searching for remains in the Rockefeller/Sohus case

As you know by now the search for remains at 1920 Lorain Road in San Marino has begun. Officials expect it to last several days, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore.

Here’s some pictures I shot at the scene. They dont’ say much , but interesting nonetheless.

Several neighbors had fascinating recollections of Clark Rockefeller, who was Christopher Chichester back in the 1980s. He’s a person of interest int he 23-year-old missing persons case/homicide investigation.

Anyway more posts later, Here’s my photos (taken with a Palm Treo):



 Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore speaks about the case. 1920 Lorain is in the background.












15004-sv30-chichester2-thumb-300x300.jpgNeighbors watch the search commence.













San Marino PD officers patrol near the former Sohus estate on Lorain Road.

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Clark Rockefeller: “I’ve never hurt anyone”

Part two of Natalie Morales’ interview with Clark Rockefeller features an interesting confrontation between Morales and Rockefeller’s attorney Stephen Hrones.

Morales, to her credit, asks some tough questions about Rockefeller/Chichester’s relationship with John and Linda Sohus. She gets immediately interrupted and reprimanded by Hrones.

Rockefeller also shares some of his fondest childhood memories, including a trip to Mt. Rushmore in a “woody” station wagon. The interview:

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Clark Rockefeller describes pain of missing his daughter

The London Telegraph reports on a second installment of Dateline’s interview with Clark Rockefelelr, aka Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. Here’s a bit of their story, and a photo of Rockefeller posing with reporter Natalie Morales:

The bespectacled father, who police say is actually a German-born national called Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, gave an interview to NBC, due to be broadcast in two parts next week.


In an excerpt shown on Thursday night, Rockefeller says he hoped to live a life of obscurity in Baltimore with his daughter, Reigh Storrow Boss, who he is accused of snatching from a Boston street on July 27 before fleeing to New York and then Maryland.

During the six days they were missing, he did not think about returning Reigh to her mother, Sandra Boss, he says, because being with her was “almost like a drug”.

The couple’s marriage ended last year and Reigh was on a social worker-supervised visit to see her father from the UK at the time of the alleged kidnapping, their first contact in seven months.

Rockefeller told NBC he took his daughter to Baltimore because he could not afford the life he wanted in Boston.

Asked if he planned to go into hiding, he said “That’s perhaps an extreme way of saying it. I just wanted to live an obscure life in Baltimore.”

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Hrones fires back

After a scathing piece in the Boston Herald about his abilities (or lack thereof) as an attorney, Stephen Hrones fired back at the paper claiming the Herald was exacting payback for his granting the Boston Globe an interview with Clark Rockefeller.

Hrones also granted Dateline an interview with his client, aka Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. 

The Herald has had a great run of stories on the whole saga, which are collected here. Don’t forget our San Marino Mystery section here.

Here’s some of Hrones’ rant:

It’s payback,” he says of the front-page Herald story that appeared on Wednesday. “There is no question about it. The Globe interview was today and the Herald was furious.”

After losing out on the interview, the Herald retaliated with a story about his legal troubles, Hrones says.

“This isn’t a front-page story,” he says. “I did nothing wrong.”

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