Developments in Sohus Case

The FBI, using fingerprint evidence, has verified Clark Rockefeller’s West German origins:

The FBI has exposed one of Boston’s “longest cons,” using fingerprints lifted off a wine glass and a 27-year-old immigration document to prove accused kidnapper Clark Rockefeller is really a serial fraud from West Germany.

FBI and Boston law enforcement officials announced yesterday that the bespectacled 47-year-old’s “true” identity is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, born in West Germany in 1961.

The Boston Herald reports some personal and professional criticism of the investigation:

[Katherine Jacoby, Linda Sohus’ sister] said she is angry at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for not contacting her about the probe in which they identified Gerhartsreiter as a “person of interest” in her sister’s disappearance….

Police investigation expert Stacy Dittrich, a former Ohio detective who now works as a national crime consultant, agreed the sheriff’s department could have used dental records to identify the skeletal remains. “I just don’t understand why that hasn’t been done yet. That is the first thing that should have been done,” she said.

Homicide investigators have also received information from a Northern California art collector. He placed a phone call to Linda Sohus, asking about a painting he’d commissioned, possibly just a few hours before she disappeared. The Pasadena Star News reported on August 16:

Hours before she and her husband vanished 23 years ago, Linda Sohus seemed anxious, excited and frustrated….

“She basically said, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you,'” the art connoisseur recalled. “‘Things are just kind of crazy here. My husband’s gotten a job offer in New York and it looks like I’m going to have to move right away and I’m just running around like crazy.'”

Linda told the collector that her husband had taken a classified job working on a government satellite program, but couldn’t say more and quickly hung up. And then the newlywed couple vanished.

The Star News article also quotes Lydia Marano, Galen Tripp and Charles Lee Jackson II (current LASFS President).

Rockefeller Inquiry Continues

Clark Rockefeller now has admitted he formerly went by the name of Christopher Chichester.

All the world has been a stage for accused kidnapper Clark Rockefeller, who finally admitted yesterday that he used the name Christopher Chichester when he tried to break into Hollywood as a movie actor in the 1980s, his lawyer said…

Also, the LA County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau has put out a flyer (link is to a PDF file) showing all three aliases and asking for the public’s assistance in developing information about the 1985 disappearance.

Investigators have revealed for the first time there is bloodstain evidence that may be helpful in solving the case.,0,1869528.story

Bloodstain could offer best evidence in San Marino couple’s 1985 disappearance.

It was found in 1994 in the guesthouse believed to have been used by Clark Rockefeller, now a suspect in a Boston kidnapping case. Sheriff’s Department officials plan to retest the blood.

But the authorities admit they did not retain much of the skeletal evidence discovered in 1994.,0,2655962.story

Much of a skeleton found buried in a San Marino backyard in 1994 was disposed of by the L.A. County coroner’s office a decade ago. But detectives believe the parts that remain will provide an identification if they can find a DNA or dental match.

Childnapper Now Suspect
in Fans’ 1985 Disappearance

Linda Mayfield and John Sohus

The Boston Herald reports that law enforcement authorities believe the man known in Boston as Clark Rockefeller, now behind bars on charges he abducted his 7-year-old daughter, Reigh “Snooks” Storrow Mills Boss, is Christopher Chichester, identified as a “person of interest” in the 1985 disappearance and apparent murder of LASFS member Linda Mayfield and her husband John Sohus (above).

A subsequent Boston Herald story reports:

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide investigators have called Rockefeller a “person of interest” in the 1985 disappearance and possible murder of Linda and John Sohus, a young couple from San Marino, Calif. Authorities want to ask Rockefeller whether he was living in the couple’s guest house under the alias Christopher Chichester.

Rockefeller refused to speak to two Los Angeles County homicide detectives Wednesday who flew to Boston to talk to him about the case. When the couple went missing, police wanted to question Chichester, who was living in a converted garage on the Sohuses’ property, but Chichester disappeared before investigators could locate him. In 1994, workers digging a pool in the backyard of the home discovered human remains in three plastic bags, which were presumed to be those of John Sohus, but never definitively determined. Neither Linda Sohus nor her remains have been located.

The Whittier (CA) Daily News on August 6 published an interview with a forensic expert from the Los Angeles County Coroner who has analyzed the remains believed to be those of John Sohus. The article includes a thorough summary of the information known about the couple’s disappearance.

The case was once featured on an episode of the old Unsolved Mysteries television series. A few months ago followers of the show were discussing the case and quoted some of what “Pip R. Lagenta” wrote online about his interaction with Linda Mayfield: the original posts are here and here.

Update 8/7/2008: Added narrative details from the latest online Boston Herald and Whittier Daily News coverage. Changed link from Unsolved Mysteries discussion group to the LJ directly quoted.