Police believe an American man who is on the run after kidnapping his seven-year-old daughter while she was visiting him in the US from her home in London has taken her aboard his yacht and is fleeing to the Bahamas or South America.
Reigh Storrow Boss, seven, was walking with her father Clark Rockefeller, 48, a social worker, in Boston on Sunday afternoon when, according to police, Mr Rockefeller pushed the social worker aside and bundled his daughter into a waiting car.
The social worker flung himself at the car, a black SUV, and was dragged along the road for a short distance, but Mr Rockefeller managed to escape with his daughter, who had been living in London with her mother, Sandra Boss, since her parents divorced last year.
The pair were later seen being dropped off in a different car outside Grand Central Station in New York, about 200 miles down the coast.
It is thought Mr Rockefeller – who is not part of the famous billionaire oil family of the same name – may be planning to escape with his daughter aboard a 72ft yacht, Serenity, which he had recently bought and moored on Long Island.
The SUV and its driver at the time of the abduction have been traced by police in Boston and the driver was being interviewed by detectives. A Boston police spokesman said: "He [Rockefeller] took the little girl, the person [in the SUV] pulled up at the side of the road and he took the girl, put her in the car, shoved the social worker to the side and the car took off.
"The person driving the car hasn't been charged as yet. It appears as if it was planned for this person to show up at a specific place and time and facilitate this custodial kidnapping."
Boston police issued an arrest warrant for Mr Rockefeller, on charges of custodial kidnapping, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon – the car he used to drive off with his daughter. Meanwhile, police in New York began the search for his yacht in the waters surrounding Long Island, with the US Coast Guard.
Citing police sources, the Boston Herald last night reported that Mr Rockefeller had bought the yacht with $300,000 (£152,000) in gold bullion.
Police said they were keeping an open mind about claims he may be sailing to the Bahamas or even Peru. "It appears there was some long-term planning on his part to mislead people about his whereabouts if this place did go through," the spokesman said.
Police revealed that Mr Rockefeller has gone under a variety of aliases, including James Frederick and Michael Brown. He is a former director of Boston's exclusive, century-old Algonquin Club, which describes itself as "a peaceful haven for Boston's leading citizens to conduct business". It was here that he chose to meet his daughter on the day of the kidnapping, despite cancelling his membership three months previously.
The club's current manager, Lassaad Riahi, said that he knew Mr Rockefeller for the several years and described him as "kind" and "polite". "What I do know is he's a gentleman – Very, very intelligent," he said. "I am very shocked."
Ms Boss, 41, who is also American, is a senior partner at the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company in London. She is a Harvard graduate who used to work with the current mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. She had arrived in Boston shortly before the kidnapping, booked into a hotel, and planned to fly home with her daughter once the arranged visit had ended.
After the girl's abduction, Ms Boss told investigators in Boston that she feared her ex-husband might harm her daughter. The visit was the first time Reigh had been permitted to travel abroad to see her father since the couple finalised their divorce last December. Mr Rockefeller's motive for kidnapping his daughter is unclear, but reports suggest he had become increasingly bitter about losing custody of the child, whose surname was changed from Rockefeller to Boss during the divorce proceedings. He was only permitted to see her under supervision.
John Hammond, who knew the couple when they lived in Cornish, New Hampshire, described Mr Rockefeller as intensely private. "I found him fairly evasive," he said. "I never could seem to get solid answers from him."Reuse content