• Germany's news in English
 
Con man charged with US murder
photo: DPA

Con man charged with US murder

Published: 16 Mar 2011 08:03 GMT+01:00

Christian Gerhartsreiter, 50, who posed as Clark Rockefeller of the storied US family and who is already in prison for kidnapping, allegedly killed John Sohus by battering him to death.

Sohus was last seen in early 1985. Shortly after his disappearance a man calling himself Christopher Chichester, who lived in a guesthouse behind the victim's home in San Marino, northeast of Los Angeles, also vanished.

In May 1994, a body was discovered buried in the backyard of the Sohus family home.

"The remains were later identified as those of John Sohus. An investigation determined he was killed by blunt force trauma to the head," said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Deputy District Attorney Habib A. Balian filed a felony complaint seeking the defendant's arrest and extradition from Massachusetts, where he is behind bars for kidnapping, she added.

Gerhartsreiter, who insists he is a Rockefeller, was found guilty in 2009 of kidnapping his seven-year-old daughter and sent to prison for five years.

US authorities say he is a con man who entered the United States more than three decades ago and lived under a series of assumed identities, the latest being Rockefeller, a supposedly brilliant member of the wealthy clan.

The stranger-than-fiction episode began in July 2008 when the German mystery man, seven months after a bitter divorce, snatched his daughter Reigh, nicknamed Snooks, during a supervised visit in Boston.

The ensuing police hunt for the two sparked lurid stories about the suspect's true identity and exploded a fantasy world that had long fooled his wife and acquaintances.

His wife, Harvard Business School graduate Sandra Boss, thought he was a talented and upstanding member of one of America's richest and grandest families.

When they divorced in December 2007, she paid for both their legal fees and gave him 800,000 dollars, two cars and her engagement ring, then left for London with their daughter.

AFP/kdj

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:19 March 16, 2011 by storymann
Your not in Kanas any more todo,,you will never be on the street again, tschüss
10:41 March 16, 2011 by William Thirteen
his decade's long success made him too bold and careless. if he had honored the custody agreement he would still a free man. a free man with 800,000 dollars, two cars and an engagement ring!
17:09 March 16, 2011 by Gaffers
I guess his child was more important to him than the money. I can understand that.....
Today's headlines
LG offices raided over suspected vandalism
A Sumsung washing machine. Photo: DPA

LG offices raided over suspected vandalism

South Korean prosecutors raided the Seoul headquarters of LG Electronics on Friday following allegations that the firm's executives vandalised their rival Samsung's washing machines at a trade fair in Germany, company officials said. READ  

Neuer cautious over Ballon d'Or prospects
Photo: DPA

Neuer cautious over Ballon d'Or prospects

Germany's World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on Friday played down his prospects of securing the World Player of the Year award over holder Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. READ  

News Feature
No Boxing Day football tradition for Germans
Germans football fans will have nothing to watch this Boxing Day Photo: DPA

No Boxing Day football tradition for Germans

Defying national stereotypes, it is British footballers who will be braving the freezing cold to take to the pitch on Boxing Day, whilst Germany's players are already sunning themselves on their winter break until the end of January. READ  

Germans hit back at anti-immigrant movement
Demonstrators protest against PEGIDA. Photo: DPA

Germans hit back at anti-immigrant movement

Business leaders, the political class and average Germans are pushing back against a growing anti-immigrant movement, saying it threatens the values and image the country fought hard to establish since the war. READ  

German president urges refugee compassion
Photo: DPA

German president urges refugee compassion

Germany's president appealed in a Christmas message for compassion and openness towards refugees coming to the country, which is grappling with a growing anti-Islam movement. READ  

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon
A female homing pigeon. Photo: DPA

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon

A breeder in Düsseldorf has offered a €10,000 reward after thieves stole a homing pigeon worth €150,000 from his aviary. READ  

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit
The vestibule of the Schloss Charlottenburg, which reopens on Boxing Day Photo: DPA

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit

The royal palace of Fredrick the Great in Berlin is to fully reopen to visitors on Boxing Day after a 4.5 million euro refit. READ  

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad
Bertolt Brecht and his salad. Photo: DPA

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad

Bertolt Brecht's statue in front of the Berliner Ensemble theatre was splattered with potato salad by pranksters early on Tuesday morning, in a protest against supposed gentrification of the capital by wealthy southerners. READ  

'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire
The ferris wheel at Alexa Christmas Market where a man fell to his death last week Photo: DPA

'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire

A blaze at one of Berlin's biggest Christmas markets has caused locals to wonder if the place is cursed. READ  

JobTalk Germany: Entrepreneur series
'Don’t be skimpy in rewarding top talent'
Taulia co-founder Bertram Meyer. Photo: DPA

'Don’t be skimpy in rewarding top talent'

In our weekly feature series, The Local looks into a successful entrepreneur's life - the story behind their successes, major challenges and how being an entrepreneur changed them forever. This week, Sparsh Sharma talks to Bertram Meyer, one of the four German co-founders of Taulia. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,162
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd