The Boston Herald speculates that charges may soon be forthcoming against “person of interest” Christian Gerhartsreiter in the Sohus murders.
Assistant Suffolk District Attorney David Deakin would not comment on whether California authorities are close to charging Gerhartsreiter, 47, in connection with the San Marino missing persons case of his former landlords, Jonathan and Linda Sohus.
However, he told Suffolk Superior Court Judge Margaret Hinkle that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Detective Timothy Miley’s affidavit in support of a warrant to search six computer hard drives Deakin’s office holds in evidence against Gerhartsreiter in his pending parental kidnapping case is “17 or 18 pages” long and lays out the case they’re building against the chameleon con artist.
Meanwhile, Gerhartsreiter’s lawyers are considering a plea to the child kidnapping charges he faces for abducting his daughter last summer.
Herald reporters have also managed to make the prisoner’s haircut resemble news:
Gerhartsreiter, 47, who’s battling baldness behind bars in addition to a parental kidnapping charge, paid to have a hairstylist brought into Nashua Street Jail to give his do a modern makeover, rather than trust his tresses to the Big House barber shop, the Herald has learned.
Vanity Fair has published a lengthy piece about the “person of interest” in the 1985 disappearance of LASFSians Linda Mayfield and John Sohus, titled “The Man in the Rockfeller Suit”.
David Klaus forwarded the link with a comment:
Comprehensive account, although very little new, except more small details of each of his steps. Legally, he’s innocent until proven guilty. Metaphysically, it’s a certainty he killed Linda and John. He makes my blood boil. Linda was genuinely warm-hearted and decent, and reading about what he’s done leaves me feeling soiled.
David Klaus sends along this link to an August 23 story which I don’t recall posting before. It reports how three experts studied handwriting evidence in the Sohus disappearance case, contributing very little to solving the mystery. They examined a letter and a receipt known to have been written by Linda Sohus prior to her disappearance.
The Associated Press reports that Suffolk Superior Judge D. Lloyd Macdonald not only denied a request by Christian Gerhartesreiter, aka Clark Rockefeller, to reduce the $50 million bail set by a magistrate earlier this week, he has now determined no bail will be permitted. The defendant’s attorney, Stephen Hrones, had said authorities could keep track of him by confining him to his home and requiring him to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. The Judge answered:
“Before me is somebody who by his life appears to have demonstrated a capacity — a very ingenious capacity — to transform himself and to maneuver his way around this country and the world through deception and the exercise of obviously powerful intelligence.”
Gerhartsreiter has been living under multiple identities, including a physicist, a ship captain, and a Wall Street trader, since coming to the United States in 1978. He’s also a “person of interest” in the 1985 disappearance of two LASFS members.
On September 10, a court authorized the district attorney to receive copies of certain documents from the Rockefeller/Boss divorce proceedings.
Christian Gerhartsreiter was living under the name Clark Rockefeller when he was arrested on charges of kidnapping his daughter. He also has been identified as the Christopher Chichester wanted for questioning in connection with the 1985 disappearance of LASFSians Linda Mayfield and John Sohus.
According to the Boston Globe:
The Suffolk district attorney has secured the release of the separation and divorce pacts between the mystery man known as Clark Rockefeller and his former wife, Sandra Boss, Rockefeller’s attorney said yesterday…
“There are affidavits that go into extremely personal matters that are unrelated to the criminal charges,” [Rockefeller attorney Stephen] Hrones said. “The district attorney’s just on a fishing expedition. He doesn’t really need all this other information.”
Boss also opposed the release of information from the divorce file, Hrones said, adding that prosecutors sought the records to present to a grand jury considering an indictment against Rockefeller.
There was also a new charge formally leveled against Rockefeller on September 3:
A man calling himself Clark Rockefeller, who is accused of kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter and is being investigated in a California couple’s disappearance, was charged Wednesday with giving a false name to police.
With the world’s journalists sifting his past, Clark Rockefeller’s most trivial transgressions are being brought to light. The alias of crime suspect Christian Gerhartsreiter (aka Christopher Chichester), “Clark Rockefeller” has now been caught plagiarizing Michael Crichton:
Clark Rockefeller contributed detailed articles on complex subjects to a local newsletter when he lived in New Hampshire in 2004.
At least one of the articles, however, does not appear to have been written by him. In fact, several passages from a 2003 Caltech speech by Crichton were used by Rockefeller without attribution in an article – titled “Smoke and Rearview Mirrors” – that ran in the April 2004 edition of the Cornish, N.H., newsletter Consider This.
Meantime, the passion of LA County Sheriff’s detectives for solving the 1985 disappearance of John and Linda Sohus, while commendable, may also be driven by a strange coincidence – it happened in the Sheriff’s old neighborhood:
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca described the 23-year-old missing persons case of John and Linda Sohus as “too important to go unsolved,” his spokesman said Monday.
Baca, 66, a San Marino resident, lived a block away from the Sohuses on Lorain Road from about 1984 until about 2000, according to public records.
With TV helicopters hovering overhead, authorities began an intensive search of the property where John Sohus and Linda Mayfield were living when they disappeared in 1985. Using cadaver-sniffing dogs and ground-penetrating radar, searchers commenced work on Friday, having waited until the start of the holiday weekend in an ill-fated attempt to minimize the disruption of life in the upscale San Marino neighborhood.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported:
The search for clues in the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus led them to two spots in the southeast corner of the backyard of their former home at 1920 Lorain Road, authorities said.
Using concrete saws, shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows, investigators focused on a patch of concrete near a swimming pool…
Meanwhile, suspect Clark Rockefeller remains in a Boston jail, where he is being held on other charges.
Update 8/31/2008: The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, on Saturday’s search results:
The latest search efforts, which began at 6 a.m. Friday and ended at 11:35 a.m. Saturday, focused on two “areas of interest” where investigators dug in the backyard.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steven Whitmore said efforts were “very productive.”
“The detectives came and thoroughly, meticulously searched that backyard,” Whitmore said.
Officials dug holes about 6 feet in diameter and 3-4 feet deep, Whitmore said. One of the areas dug up was buried under concrete.
He added detectives do not expect to return to the home.
On August 25, NBC’s Today show aired the first of a two-part question-and-answer session with the man who calls himself Clark Rocketeller. (The video is also posted at the same msnbc.com link.) The second installment will air on August 26.
“I wanted to change my life altogether,” Gerhartsreiter, 48, told NBC News’ Natalie Morales during an exclusive jailhouse interview airing Monday and Tuesday on TODAY. “I just wanted to live an obscure life.”
Earlier this month detectives identified Rockefeller, who was being held in Boston on unrelated kidnapping charges, as the man wanted for questioning in the 1985 disappearance and suspected killings of Linda, 28, and Jonathan Sohus, 26, both members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.
Also today, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide detectives announced they will use ground-penetrating radar to search the San Marino property where bones thought to be John Sohus’ were found in 1994.
Smith said ground-penetrating radar has not been used on the yard before, likely because the technology did not exist in 1994. Experts say more recent advances in associated computer software, also used for medical imaging such as X-rays and CAT scans, have made it more popular.
Experts say investigators have successfully used ground-penetrating radar to unearth remains in other cold cases.
Lawrence B. Conyers, a University of Denver professor of anthropology who has used ground radar on the La Brea Tar Pits and to aide homicide detectives in a San Luis Obispo cold case, said it can find long-buried bones several feet underground.
In “Ready Made Rockefeller,” the New York Times Fashion & Style section (of all places) reveals a wealth of personal information about Sohus disappearance suspect Christian Gerhartsreiter, aka “Clark Rockefeller.”
IN the understated town of Cornish, N.H., where it is considered bad form to exhibit your wealth, the man calling himself Clark Rockefeller was driven around in an armored black Cadillac with bulletproof windows. He affected silk ascots and bragged that when it came to acquiring property, he could outbid anyone. He said that Helmut Kohl and Britney Spears were coming to dinner….
Among the autobiographical details he reportedly told various people at various times: his parents had been kidnapped in South America and he needed to pay ransom; he and his friends were “Star Trek” groupies who conversed in Klingon; a private chef made four-course meals for his dogs; and he became mute as a child for 10 years because he was distraught at the death of his parents in a car crash. (In truth, his mother is still alive and his father died of natural causes a few years ago.)
The Pasadena Star News for August 19 reports details of John Sohus’ family situation, and also, that after his disappearance he was disinherited by his mother:
Ruth “Didi” Sohus, whose son, John, and daughter-in-law, Linda, vanished in February 1985, put explicit instructions in her will that stripped John of any claim to an estate valued at $180,000, according to court records.
“I intentionally and with full knowledge of any consequences specifically disinherit and omit any provisions for John Robert Sohus,” Didi wrote.