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Rockefeller attorney denies murder link

August 5, 2008 5:28:36 PM PDT
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed Tuesday it was sending two homicide detectives to Boston to interview a mysterious father accused of kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter during a visit in Boston. The man known as Clark Rockefeller - and by several other aliases - was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Tuesday on charges related to the July 27 disappearance of his daughter, Reigh Boss.

Authorities say they have been stymied in their efforts to figure out exactly who Rockefeller is. Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said they have no record of him before 1993, and said Rockefeller has claimed he doesn't remember details ranging from where he is from, where his parents are and even whether he is from the United States.

"At this point he provided essentially no biographical data about himself before 1993," assistant district attorney David Deakin said in court. Deakin said that after thousands of hours of collaboration - by the FBI, local and state officials and even Homeland Security - authorities are still unsure of the details of Rockefeller's real identity.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said Tuesday that two homicide detectives were en route to Boston to interview Rockefeller "in connection with a missing person report back in the early 1990s."

Rockefeller's attorney Stephen Hrones denied his client had any link to the California case, and said Clark Rockefeller was his legal name.

The Boston Herald reported that Los Angeles authorities were investigating human remains discovered in 1994 in San Marino, Calif. The newspaper said three plastic bags containing human bones were found by workers digging a swimming pool. Investigators said at the time that the bones may have belonged to Jonathan Sohus, a man who disappeared along with his wife in 1985.

The Boston Globe, citing two unnamed sources, reported Thursday that Rockefeller's fingerprints were linked to an out-of-state license application under a different name. The Globe said that name is on a list of people wanted in a homicide case in California.

Whitmore refused to release details of the case.

Police have said Rockefeller, 48, snatched his daughter from a Boston street on July 27 in an elaborately planned kidnapping in which he hired two people to drive them to New York. He was caught Saturday in Baltimore, where he had bought a home and boat. Deakin said 300 one-ounce gold coins and $12,000 in cash also were found in Rockefeller's apartment following his arrest.

In court Tuesday, an unkempt-looking Rockefeller - wearing the same wrinkled Lacoste shirt and dark-framed glasses he was arrested in - stood still and looked down as the charges against him were read: felony parental kidnapping, assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

He didn't speak to the judge during the hearing, though a court microphone caught him muttering, "That's not me," when a prosecutor mentioned an alias attributed to him.

Rockefeller was flown to Logan International Airport earlier Tuesday, accompanied by law enforcement. Passengers said he smiled, drank coffee and read The New York Times on the short flight.

"Our experience tells us he's more of a schemer than someone who has lost his memory," Conley said.

Hrones said Rockefeller did not "kidnap" his daughter.

"How could you kidnap your own daughter?" Hrones asked. "He loves his daughter. Kidnapping doesn't apply, it was his own kid."

But Conley noted Massachusetts has a law against parental kidnapping.

"Just because he's Reigh's natural father, it doesn't absolve him," he said.

Hrones said he knew Rockefeller socially before Rockefeller hired him Tuesday, but he wouldn't say how they knew each other.

Hrones complained that police have been leaking information to the news media that have already painted Rockefeller as guilty.

Rockefeller served as a director of Boston's exclusive Algonquin Club, but resigned about three months ago.

There is no indication Rockefeller is related to the famous family descended from Standard Oil billionaire John D. Rockefeller Sr., family members said.

Reigh, known to family and friends as "Snooks," was found in good condition in Baltimore and has been reunited with her mother, Sandra Boss. The two live together in London, where Boss is a senior partner in the London office of the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

Conley said that he would not comment on whether Boss and her daughter were back in England or still in Boston. He said that Boss is in contact with authorities and has been cooperative.

A pre-trial hearing for Rockefeller is set for Sept. 3.

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