The fugitive father who fled Boston with his seven-year-old daughter a week ago, sparking reports that he was stealing her away to a tropical hideaway aboard a spanking new yacht, was arrested by police yesterday in the much more mundane surroundings of a rented flat in Baltimore. The girl, Reigh, was unharmed.
Police confirmed that the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller but whose true identity remains a mystery apparently even to his London-based former wife, Sandra Boss, was tracked down to Baltimore and arrested in the early afternoon. He is likely to face multiple charges, including kidnapping, in a Baltimore court tomorrow.
Ms Boss, who lives with Reigh in London, issued an appeal for her daughter's return on YouTube late last week. She had remained in Boston as a manhunt widened as far as the Caribbean. A jubilant Ms Boss headed to Baltimore last night to be reunited with the daughter she calls "Snooks".
It was last Sunday that Mr Rockefeller, on a first monitored visit with Reigh since he and her mother divorced last December, abruptly snatched the child on a Boston street and sped away with her in an SUV. The pair was spotted later in New York and reports quickly surfaced that he was planning to take her in a newly purchased yacht to a distant destination. Even early yesterday, police were dismissing reports that father and daughter had been spotted in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The homecoming of Reigh, who has an English accent, will be hailed as a success of co-operation between numerous police jurisdictions in the US. At a brief press conference in Boston, officials paid tribute to the American media and to the public for helping.
A tip-off to police from a private citizen led them to the Baltimore apartment. They waited until Mr Rockefeller left without his daughter to make the arrest. "We wanted to make sure he was outside and apprehend him away from his child," an FBI officer said.
Officials said that while the mission of reuniting mother with daughter had been accomplished, many loose ends remained, not least the mystery of Mr Rockefeller, who reportedly had even hoodwinked his ex-wife into believing he belonged to the famous oil dynasty when he was, in fact, no relation. Detectives believe he has multiple aliases.
Also unclear was the extent to which earlier reports of his plans to spirit his daughter away on his new yacht were false leads designed to confuse police. It appeared that the yacht was moored in a Baltimore marina last night, but had not been used recently.
Also of police interest were reports that the father had purchased $300,000 in gold coins. The coins are accepted as currency anywhere in the world.