Criminal Justice

Cops Probe Mystery of Wealthy Dad's ID in Child Kidnapping Case

Updated: Jailed without bond in Boston on a charge of kidnapping his own daughter last month, a seemingly wealthy socialite with a mysterious background has now become a “person of interest” to Los Angeles homicide detectives.

Clark Rockefeller is also being investigated by the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as authorities attempt to figure out who he is, reports the Boston Globe. It now appears that he might be a German exchange student who overstayed his visa, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Rockefeller—who apparently is no relation to the famous family of that name—has caught the attention of L.A. police, who want to question him about the 1985 disappearance and possible murder of a couple in San Marino, Calif. For starters, authorities want to ask Rockefeller if he had been living in the couple’s guest house around that time, under the name of Christopher Chichester.

At least one of the unusual and varied tales that Rockefeller has told about his background appears to be true, though, according to the Boston Herald—he did have about $300,000 in gold bullion at hand, which police have confiscated from the Baltimore coach house he purchased as a hideout. One apparent source of funds for the 48-year-old has been his ex-wife, who “paid him about $800,000 to walk away from their marriage without any questions, or any permanent claim on their daughter, Reigh,” the newspaper notes.

Right now, despite all of the law enforcement efforts that have been made for 10 days to determine his true identity, authorities still don’t know Rockefeller’s true name or whether he is a U.S. citizen, the Herald points out. Apparently, Rockefeller may have been able to sidestep the information highway by never applying for a social security number or a driver’s license or recording his 12-year marriage to his former wife. He was reportedly linked to the cold California case by a fingerprints in the recent kidnapping case and on a stockbroker license application years earlier.

However, “Mr. Rockefeller’s, lawyer, Stephen Hrones, denied that his client had any link to the San Marino case. He added that Clark Rockefeller was his legal name,” reports the London Times.

Additional coverage:

Boston Globe: “In a cold case, chilling details”

Los Angeles Times: “Man held in Boston a ‘person of interest’ in San Marino cold-case homicides”

Boston Globe: “A colorful clue in the deepening Rockefeller mystery” “7-Year-Old Taken By Wealthy Dad is Found Safe in Baltimore” “Wealthy Socialite Dad Disappears With 7-Year-Old Daughter”

Updated at 2:30 p.m. to include additional Boston Globe coverage.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.