Federal agents are on their way to the German town where they believe accused con man kidnapper Clark Rockefeller was born and raised as Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, ABC News has learned.
Authorities unraveling Rockefeller's byzantine back story believe that he swooped into Southern California high society in the mid-1980s under the name of Christopher Chichester, only to leave as a person of interest in the disappearance of a newlywed couple he lived with. Before that, he apparently arrived in Connecticut from Germany for an exchange program in 1978 under the name Christian Gerhartstreiter, police sources say.
Rockefeller, who now sits in a Boston jail on charges of abducting his daughter, continues to stonewall investigators probing his foggy past.
"It has grown abundantly clear that Christopher Chichester is Christian Gerhartsreiter," said a high-ranking Boston police official with direct knowledge of the investigation. "It appears that Clark Rockefeller is also Gerhartsreiter."
A spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, who will prosecute Rockefeller on custodial kidnapping and assault charges tied to the abduction of his 7-year-old daughter, Reigh, during a supervised parental visit in Boston July 27, said that mystery man's profile is becoming increasingly clear.
"The investigation has grown more focused by the day and even by the hour,'' Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, told ABC News.
A task force of Boston Police Department detectives, Los Angeles investigators, FBI agents, immigration officials and prosecutors are working to solidify information about Rockefeller's German heritage, which was first reported by ABC News Wednesday evening.
Since his arrest, Rockefeller had been described to ABC News as a "ghost" by one Boston police investigator, an "enigma" by an FBI special agent and a "mystery man" by Suffolk County, Mass., prosecutors. Prosecutors have not found a driver's license, Social Security number or any work or educational history for the man.
It came to light Friday morning that Rockefeller's birth brother appears to have been located in Bergen, Germany, according to separate reports published in The Boston Globe and Boston Herald.
Shown several pictures of Clark Rockefeller that have circulated since the child's alleged abduction sparked an international manhunt, a man identified as Alexander Gerhartstreiter said that he was shocked to learn that his brother had been found. Gerhartstreiter said that his brother, Christian Gerhartstreiter, was raised in the same house in Siegsdorf, Germany, where their mother continues to live today, and left for an exchange program at a Connecticut high school in 1978.
Gerhartstreiter said that before he cut off all communication with his family in 1986, his older brother told the family hat he had changed his name to Christopher Chichester, the Herald reported.
Authorities already had linked Rockefeller's fingerprints to prints on an application for a stockbroker's license with the alias Charles Chichester. The fingerprint on the stockbroker's license was also traced to German-born Christian Gerhartstreiter, law enforcement sources told ABC News earlier this week. Gerhartstreiter was born in 1961, making him about 48 years old -- the same age as Rockefeller.
Chichester reportedly lived with newlyweds Jonathan and Linda Sohus in San Marino, Calif., in 1985 when the pair vanished. Chichester left town before authorities could question him about the disappearance. The case went cold until 1994, when unidentified human bones were dug up under the couple's pool. The break renewed focus in the case on Chichester, who was featured on a 1995 episode of "Unsolved Mysteries."
The resemblance in photographs between Chichester and Rockefeller -- down to the distinctive spectacles -- is striking.
Los Angeles investigators arrived in Boston earlier this week to grill Rockefeller about the Sohus case. The suspect, however, has stymied their attempts to interview him.
Rockefeller's lawyer said earlier this week on ABC's "Good Morning America" that his client has no memory of his life before his 1994 marriage to Sandra Boss, an Ivy League educated business consultant.
The lawyer also denied that Rockefeller is the man California authorities called a person of interest Tuesday in the Sohus case.
"He doesn't remember his past," attorney Stephen Hrones told "GMA." Pressed to be more specific, Hrones said Rockefeller remembered "back to the time that he got married but before that time, he has real issues remembering his past."
Hrones also criticized police for trying to use the court of public opinion to convict his client. Rockefeller was arrested last Saturday in Baltimore when investigators used a ruse to draw him out of an apartment he had recently purchased with the apparent intention of starting a new life with his daughter. An employee of a nearby marina, where Rockefeller had docked his 26-foot catamaran, called Rockefeller at the instigation of the authorities, and told him the boat was taking on water.
Prosecutors said 300 1-ounce gold coins worth about $1,000 apiece and $12,000 in cash were found inside the apartment after the arrest. Before the discovery, ABC News reported that Rockefeller had exchanged cash for gold with a Boston bullion dealer.
Sandra Boss, the child's biological mother and Rockefeller's ex-wife, was reunited with her daughter Sunday. Boss, who had apparently married Rockefeller on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket in 1994, won "primary residential custody" of their daughter, whom they call "Snooks." It's now not clear whether the wedding was indeed legal because of questions about the paperwork that have been raised.
Rockefeller was allowed visitations with the child under the condition they were supervised. It was during one of these visits that he allegedly used an unwitting livery driver to escape the social worker and put his kidnap plan into action.
As investigators waded through Rockefeller's past, several media outlets have also dug in, sketching a collective timeline that may lay out Christian Gerhartsreiter's 30-year evolution into Clark Rockefeller.
Several residents in Berlin, Conn., have come forward to identify Rockefeller as a fairly mediocre student who arrived in the late 1970s to attend the local high school as an exchange student. Steve Savio, 39, said his family took in Gerhartsreiter, who quickly went from being a curious houseguest to a condescending nuisance.
The Boston Globe, citing marriage records, reported that Gerhartstreiter wed an American woman named Amy Jersild Duhnke in Madison, Wis., in 1981, a union that provided him a green card. He identified his parents as Simon and Irmengard Gerhartsreiter, according to the Globe. Attempts by ABC News to reach Duhnke were unsuccessful.
Gerhartsreiter later told the Savios that after leaving Connecticut, he took the name Christopher Crowe to open a production company. The Globe, citing former colleagues, reported that Christopher Chichester Crowe had a brief, unsuccessful career trading stocks in the late 1980s on the East Coast. A man using that name, who ingratiated himself in upscale Greenwich, Conn., circles was later wanted for questioning by authorities after he attempted to sell a truck in Connecticut that was traced back to the Sohuses, the Globe reported.
After Rockefeller's 1994 marriage to Sandra Boss, an executive-level consultant at McKinsey and Co. currently stationed in London, the family settled in Boston and Cornish, N.H., where many neighbors said they were suspicious of Rockefeller's past.
When asked about his famous last name, Rockefeller never had a straight answer about his relationship to the wealthy American industrialist family. At one point, he flashed a pocketknife bearing the Rockefeller name when asked by his pastor in New Hampshire. After his daughter's abduction, the Rockefeller foundation came out quickly to say the kidnap suspect had no relationship to famous lineage.
It was one of the first cracks in a collapsing fun house mirror of Clark Rockefeller's identity.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.