A German-born man who emigrated to the US more than 30 years ago only to take on a series of increasingly unlikely aliases, including that of Clark Rockefeller, was convicted yesterday of trying to kidnap his seven-year-old daughter. He was jailed for four to five years.
The verdict came after the jury dismissed claims that Karl Gerhartsreiter had tipped into insanity in July last year when he made off with Reigh during a supervised paternal visit and vanished only to be found days later in Baltimore.
Gerhartsreiter was found guilty of kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, but acquitted of two other charges. Prosecutors said he had carefully planned the kidnap just months after a bitter divorce from her mother, a high-flying corporate consultant named Sandra Boss. Among his moves were converting his divorce settlement money into gold coins and buying an apartment as a hideaway in Baltimore.
While the jury heard assorted tales of how the defendant invented new identities all across America, it was his years as Clark Rockefeller, an alleged scion of the American philanthropist clan, that became the main focus. Among the questions raised was how Mrs Boss never doubted the veracity of the Rockefeller claims in 12 years of marriage.
"There is a difference between intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence," Ms Boss testified. "I'm not saying I made a very good choice of husband. It's pretty obvious that I had a blind spot. All I'm saying is that it's possible that one can be brilliant and amazing in one area of one's life and pretty stupid in another."
In California, law enforcement officials confirmed Gerhartsreiter is a "person of interest" in the unsolved disappearance and presumed death of John and Linda Sohus. His fingerprints have been linked to the investigation, although at the time he was "Christopher Chichester".