Man Caught After 12 Wives, Two Dozen Aliases

ByABC News via via logo

June 20, 2005 — -- He is a Vietnam POW, a bio-terrorism expert and a pediatric heart surgeon.

His name is Chris Barber, William Christopher and Christopher James.

Confused? His name and background changes depending on which of his 12 ex-wives you ask, according to authorities.

Michael Barber -- the name officials say is real -- is currently being held in a Morris County, N.J., jail on $25,000 bail. He faces three to five years imprisonment for allegedly listing a false name, date of birth and social security number on his latest marriage license. Authorities say additional charges may follow.

Barber allegedly married at least 12 women in at least five different states, took their money and then left.

He owes at least one ex-wife, who asked to remain nameless, $50,000 in child support for their child, who is now 18.

"I think he was in it for the thrill and for the quick money," said the wife. "He would run and leave the wife he was with destitute with the financial obligations of what he did."

"He's the lowest life you can get. Not raising your child and just leaving everything behind," said their son, who also requested anonymity. "I loathe him, I don't love him."

Donna Roberts had been married three times before, and said Barber caught her attention because he was so kind and sympathetic. But since learning of his deception, she said she hopes he is put away.

"I hope they toss away the key," Roberts said.

Roberts said six months before their marriage dissolved, Barber told her he had leukemia and was receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Roberts believed him when he began coughing up blood.

"I found out later from his sister that he had a bleeding ulcer," Roberts said. "He was taking aspirin and throwing up blood to simulate cancer."

Roberts said that eight days after Barber left her, he married his current wife, Joyce Reynolds.

Reynolds and Barber started a fugitive recovery business with Robert Donnellan and his wife.

Donnellan, of Heber Spring, Ark., met Barber over the Internet a year ago.

Now that Barber's alleged past has been exposed, the company they formed will be dissolved, costing Donnellan as much as $100,000. But the damage to his reputation might be the most costly.

"That's basically what I do for a living anyway is track people like him and I went into business with someone just like him," said Donnellan, who described Barber as "very smooth, very intelligent."

Donnellan is currently trying to track down Barber's former alleged victims.

"There could be a lot more," Donnellan said. "His sister has notified people. She believes there's 12."

Barber's current wife, Reynolds, has been hospitalized and has refused to accept that her husband is an alleged con artist.

"She's been living a lie for the last four and a half years and she loves the man," Donnellan said. "She's having a hard time."

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