Fugitive back in Boston

Accused of abduction, he is also under investigation in Los Angeles

August 06, 2008|By Gus G. Sentementes and Annie Linskey | Gus G. Sentementes and Annie Linskey,Sun Reporters

The man known to law enforcement officials as Clark Rockefeller left Baltimore yesterday morning and was extradited to Boston, where he is to face charges of kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter and assaulting a social worker.

Rockefeller was arraigned in Boston and ordered held without bail after arriving in Massachusetts by plane. Also yesterday, the Los Angeles County sheriff's office confirmed that it is investigating whether Rockefeller is connected with a person who vanished from there in the early to mid-1990s. "Homicide detectives are en route to interview this individual," said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

The suspect's identity is still unknown. For years, authorities say, he posed as a member of the famous blueblood family, but he got divorced late last year and was seeking to set up a new life and new identity in Baltimore. The news story of his disappearance and arrest in Baltimore on Saturday at a Mount Vernon carriage house has created a sensation - making the covers of New York tabloids.

Reporters staked out the desolate Central Booking and Intake Center yesterday morning hoping to catch a glimpse of Rockefeller being led away. Some stayed all night, and many toted suitcases, ready to hop flights to Boston for the court hearing.

The city jail cell that Rockefeller has occupied since Saturday is a few blocks from the Mount Vernon house that he recently bought using cashier's checks. He also paid about $10,000 in cash for a catamaran and use of a boat slip for a year.

Restrained by shackles and chains, he was transferred out of the jail about 7:20 a.m. and was led to the back seat of a black sedan. It sped away accompanied by four unmarked police vehicles. Some members of the news media chased after in cars.

Stephen Hrones, an attorney for Rockefeller, told reporters that his client is not guilty of abducting Reigh Boss during a custody dispute.

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

Hrones also denied reports that his client might be connected to the missing person in California.

Rockefeller divorced his wife in December 2007. About that time he e-mailed the Obsidian Realty Co. in Baltimore's Charles Village, using the name Charles Smith. He said that he and his daughter would be soon moving from Chile to Baltimore and that he needed to find a two- or three-bedroom house.

The company helped him, finding temporary housing and allowing him to use its offices so he could access the Internet until he became settled. They said he moved here in mid-July.

On July 27, he disappeared from Boston with his daughter, who was visiting him. The visit was supervised by a social worker, but Rockefeller is accused of pushing her away and taking the girl. That led to a highly publicized manhunt, with authorities receiving tips that he was in South America or the Caribbean.

In the end, the Baltimore real estate agent who sold him a house recognized his picture on the news and called the FBI. Authorities arrested him the next day.

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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