Charlie Stopford was born a preacher's son in Florida. After his father had an affair and his parents split up, he began acting out and wound up with a criminal record.
"My father was a pastor as you know, and it was very embarrassing," said his brother Wesley Stopford Jr.
No one, though, would have thought that Stopford would go to such great lengths to escape his past. It appears he passed himself off as a British lord for decades. Today, with DNA test results due back from the lab, his family is trying to sort out fact from fiction. He is currently being detained in a jail in Kent, England.
Stopford, a big fan of English movies and music, left his old life behind in 1983. At first, he sent photos to his mom.
"I know he was upset about the divorce between his father and I. That upset him quite a bit, and I think he wanted to get away from it," said his mother, Barbara MacKay. "From Israel, Germany, some from the English countryside. We always wait for him to send the pictures, and we would always look at them."
Taking a page from the book "The Day of the Jackal," he assumed the name Christopher Edward Buckingham -- the name that appeared on his passport. Stopford stole the details off a gravestone. The real Buckingham had died as an infant.
Stopford was arrested in January 2005 when he tried to enter Dover, England, from Calais, France. After checking his passport, police found the name belonged to a dead person.
He said he was a graduate of Harrow & Cambridge and an aristocrat, complete with a title and a coat of arms out of use since the 17th century. He went by the Earl of Buckingham or just Lord Buckingham.
"He called in 1986 -- let us know that he had changed his name," Wesley Stopford said. "We didn't think anything of it at the time. People do that."
A new British documentary called "The Real Jackal" shows how his lies finally caught up with him.
The film follows his daughter and ex-wife, whom he married as Lord Buckingham, as they dig deeper and unravel yet more lies.
Authorities are hoping to solve one piece of the puzzle as early as today. DNA test results are expected to confirm his true identity. In jail, police say, Stopford is still clinging to his borrowed life. The name he still answers to is Buckingham.