Fake Rockefeller Charged With 1985 Murder

Calif. authorities seeking to extradite con man Christian Gerhartsreiter
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2011 3:22 AM CDT
Fake Rockefeller Charged With 1985 Murder
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who calls himself Clark Rockefeller, stands to hear the jury's guilty verdict in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston Friday, June 12, 2009.    (AP Photo/Pool)

A German immigrant who conned his way into American high society by pretending to be a member of the Rockefeller clan has been charged with the murder of a California man. Christian Gerhartsreiter—currently serving time in Massachusetts for kidnapping his daughter and assaulting a social worker—was renting a room in a Los Angeles suburb from John and Linda Sohus when they disappeared in 1985. He became a person of interest to the investigation after his kidnapping arrest in 2008, ABC News reports.

California authorities have confirmed that a body found in the backyard of the home a decade after the couple's disappearance is that of John Sohus, and they are seeking to extradite Gerhartsreiter from Massachusetts. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, authorities say. The German—who used the alias Clark Rockefeller, among others, and claimed at various times to be a rocket scientist, a ship captain, and a heart surgeon—vanished soon after the couple disappeared. (Click for background on the case.)

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