Clark Rockefeller — the interview

Ot Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter if you prefer…or Christopher Chichester …or Chip Smith…

Anyway, Media Bistro and the NY Post are reporting that the international man of mystery sat down for an interview with Natalie Morales. The interview will be shown on the Today show Monday, and also in a Dateline special scheduled to be aired in September.  I wrote about this in my column Tuesday. Here’s a link to that.

Here’s a snippet of Media Bistro’s brief:


He first became news after being accused of snatching his daughter off the streets of Boston which launched an intense, international manhunt. But since the capture of the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller, new questions of a mysterious past have come to light.

NBC’s Natalie Morales sat down for an exclusive interview with Rockefller this morning at the Suffolk County Jail in Boston. The interview airs Monday and Tuesday on the Today show and will also be part of a Dateline special in September.

As for the Post, a slightly edgier take with a gallery of glam photos of an obviously made-up Rockefeller:

Morales was able to quiz the suspected kidnapper/con man about his marriage, life on the run and his murky past.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Rockefeller is Gerhartsreiter

From the Associated Press (as if we didn’t know already):

BOSTON (AP) — The FBI says it has identified the kidnapping suspect who calls himself Clark Rockefeller as a German man who came to the U.S. as a youth and later took on several aliases.

The FBI told reporters it pulled fingerprints from immigration documents from the early 1980s of Christian Gerhartsreiter (GAYR’-hahrtz-ry-tur). The prints match those taken from Gerhartsreiter around the time of his Aug 2. arrest in Baltimore.

Earlier this week, authorities in California identified Rockefeller as Gerhartsreiter, though they did not provide forensic evidence.

Gerhartsreiter is accused of kidnapping his daughter off a Boston street. And authorities are seeking to question him about the disappearance of a California couple who owned a guest house where he lived.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

A Linda Sohus painting from 1984


A man who has been in touch with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies regarding Clark Rockefeller and the strange disappeareance of John and Linda Sohus, got in touch with me Thursday.  He sent me this copy of a painting done by Linda Sohus as “Cody” in 1984.

Sohus sold the painting at Worldcon ’84 a gathering of Sci Fi and fantasy fans that took place near Disneyland in the fall of ’84.

Rockefeller took the name Christopher Chichester when he lived with John and Linda Sohus in San Marino in the mid 1980s.

Bones, believed to be those of John Sohus were discovered in the backyard fo the Lorain Road home in 1994.

Linda has never resurfaced. The owner of the painting believes she met an untimely end. 

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

The key to it all

John Sohus’ truck is the likely the key piece of evidence investigators have linking Clark Rockefeller to the Sohus disappearance and possible homicide. On Wednesday, Rockefeller’s attorney tied him to the truck.

Here’s the top of our story:

The attorney for Clark Rockefeller aka Christian Gerhartsreider said a truck linked to a 23-year-old missing persons case was sold to his client in the late 1980s.

“He bought the truck from the mother, he agreed to do the truck payments through the mother, but the mother never sent the title,” Hrones said.

“He gave it (the truck) to someone,” Hrones said, because Rockefeller didn’t have the title. Rockefeller, using the identity of Hollywood producer Christopher Crowe, was pulled over in Greenwich, Conn., in 1988 driving the truck after he attempted to sell it to the son of a minister, officials said.


Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Tuesday’s column

It’s amazing what a reward can’t do.

For months I wondered why the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors didn’t offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of killers who took the life of Sammantha Salas in January.

The board blamed the lack of a reward on detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.

Detectives said they needed time to solve the case, using tried and true methods before turning to a reward.

Salas was killed in a hail of gunfire Jan. 28 outside an apartment complex in the 2500 block of Peck Road in an unincorporated county section near Monrovia called “No Man’s Land.”
An unidentified friend of Salas was seriously wounded in the assault that also left a stucco apartment building riddled with bullet holes.

Two suspects in the shooting were described as African Americans in their 20s. They were wearing dark-colored bandannas or hooded sweatshirts and are probably members of the Du Rock Crips gang, authorities said.

By June, leads that detectives could pursue ran thin, and the supes put up a $10,000 reward. It was set to expire on Sept. 2.

Today the board will extend the reward in hopes of catching Salas’ killers.

“It’s been slow,” Sheriff’s Lt. Dan Rosenberg said. “But it’s going to get active again. What’s happened here isn’t from a lack of trying.”

Reporters did a stunning job tracking down the missing link in a mystery that has vexed detectives for 23 years.

When John and Linda Sohus disappeared from their San Marino estate in 1985, their mysterious tenant, identified as Chris Chichester, vanished as well.

In 1994, when bones were unearthed at the Lorain Road property, Chichester became a person of interest in the homicide investigation.

From then until Monday, investigators said they had no idea what Chichester’s real name might be.

It all began unraveling on July 27, when Boston socialite Clark Rockefeller and his seven-year-old daughter Reigh “Snooks” Boss disappeared. Rockefeller was accused of child abduction and the trail led to Baltimore, where he was arrested.

The girl was returned to her mother. Rockefeller was taken into custody and extradited to Boston. A fingerprint linked him to Chichester. A photograph tied him to a twentysomething foreign exchange student named Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who lived with the Savio family in Berlin, Conn. in the early 1980s.

From there it was only a matter of time until reporters connected the dots back to Alexander Gerhartsreiter, who said Christian was his long-lost brother.

Three days later authorities confirmed the link, pointing out on a wanted poster that Clark Rockefeller is Chris Chichester is Christian Gerhartsreiter.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Chichester, Rockefeller: The Wanted Poster

From a Sheriff’s bulletin issued today:  


Homicide Investigators are seeking the public’s assistance in developing information regarding the 1985 disappearance of John & Linda Sohus of San Marino, California.

The male depicted in this bulletin was a tenant at the Sohus residence, at the time of their disappearance. Anyone with information regarding this case or the male in the bulletin are urged to contact Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Detectives.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

Gerhartsreiter is Chichester is Rockefeller

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said detectives are confirming that international man of mystery Christian Gerhartsreiter, an exchange student who came to the United States in the late 1970s or early 1980s shares an indetity with at least two other people.

Gerhartsreiter assumed the identity of Chris Chichester when he lived in San Marino, Whitmore said. Gerhartsreiter is also Clark Rockefeller, Whitmore said.

It is unclear how the identities are linked other than through “interviews with other investigators and investigative tools.”

Chichester is a person of interest in the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus. The newlywed couple disappeared from their San Marino home in 1985. The bones of a man were discovered on the property in 1994. No link has been established between the bones and Sohus.

Chichester was pulled over in 1988 in Greenwich Conn., driving a truck registered to John Sohus

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

A piece of a Sunday tale of Clark Rockefeller and Chris Chichester

This is the approximate (unedited) top of our story on the Rockefeller Chichester saga that’s scheduled to run in Sunday’s paper. I’ll provide a link, when it’s available.

[BYNAME]By Frank C. Girardot and Nathan McIntire
<MC>Staff Writers
[BODY]SAN MARINO – Whether he was Chichester or Mountbatten, the mysterious man who shmoozed with the city’s elite, and then promptly disappeared, chose British aliases with regal credentials.
Even his business card reeked of aristocratic airs.
“Christopher Chichester XIII, bt. San Marino California,” the card announced beneath a display of the family crest.
The diminutive, bespectacled fair-haired young European had taken on an obscure royal title as the 13th baronet of Chichester a rank somewhere between Baron and Knight among British bluebloods.
When he exited San Marino, Chichester, assumed the life of a fugitive. Police have linked him to a missing persons case and the grisly discovery of remains in the backyard of a Lorain Road home in 1994.
Authorities also believe that sometime after he left San Marino in 1985, Chichester flew under the radar by assuming the surname of American royalty. Chichester/Mountbatten became Clark Rockefeller.
Rockefeller is accused of abducting his seven-year-old daughter on July 27 in Boston, Mass. Police said his fingerprints match Chichester’s.
As for reality, Chichester’s true identity is likely Christian Gerhardsreider, a German exchange student who arrived in Berlin, Conn. in the early 1980s. Gerhartsreider overstayed his visa before assuming the name of a local librarian — Christopher Chichester, officials said.
Before stopping in San Marino, authorities believe Chichester married a woman in Wisconsin to obtain a green card.
By the time he arrived in southern California a nearly complete and memorable transformation had taken place.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email

LA Times weighs in with Rockefeller story

The LA Times weighed in on the Clark Rockefeller saga Saturday, interviewing former editor Dana Farrar who once knew Christopher Chichester and even played Trival Pursuit with him.

Here’s an interesting excerpt:

The last time she saw him was that night she and Farrar played Trivial Pursuit at the guest house where Chichester was staying, she said.

Both Farrar, a former Los Angeles Times editor, and Gallegos said that that night they noticed much of the backyard of the Sohus’ home was dug up. At the time, neither thought much of it.

“He said there were plumbing problems,” Farrar said.

Meanwhile, my newspaper, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (also a former employer of Farrar) has this story written by me and Nathan McIntire. Police say they are going to research the grounds of the Sohus home where they hope to find more than sprinkler pipe. Here’s an excerpt:

Amy Jersild Palmer, 48, of Janesville, Wis., said she was interviewed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide detectives who had mistaken her for a woman of the same maiden name who married Christian Gerhartsreiter in 1981 and provided him with a green card.

“They wanted to know if I knew where he was in February of 1981,” Palmer said. “I told them I had no idea where he was then, because I’ve never met him.”

Palmer said her husband got angry with the detectives when they insisted the woman knew more than she would admit.

“I just kept telling them, I don’t recognize these pictures at all,” Palmer said. “Finally they left.”

The woman who actually married Christian Gerhartsreiter, Amy Jersild Duhnke, 49, of Milwaukee was unavailable for comment. In a telephone interview Friday, her husband, Eric Duhnke, confirmed that the marriage took place, but said it lasted only a day.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email