Scoop: 48 HOURS on CBS - Saturday, October 19, 2013
CBS, Scoop, 48 HOURS
Christian Gerhartsreiter was a man of many identities - but to most he was Clark Rockefeller, a con man who duped people across the country. But was he hiding Being a murderer behind his many identities? Erin Moriarty presses Gerhartsreiter to reveal his true identity during dramatic confrontation in 48 HOURS: "aka Rockefeller" to be broadcast Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"What should I call you," Moriarty asks Gerhartsreiter in a testy exchange. "Gee, that's always a good question," he says. "I don't know, Erin. What would you like to call me?" Pressed further about why he won't say his name, Gerhartsreiter says it is "because so many people know me under different names. And I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable."
In 2008, Gerhartsreiter, then living as Clark Rockefeller and claiming he was a member of one of the most famous and wealthiest families in the country, made national headlines when he abducted his 7-year-old daughter, Reigh, during a supervised visit. The desperate act by a man hiding his past exposed him as an imposter and worse. Rockefeller family members made it clear he was not part of the family. What he was, according to police, was more than a man of many identities - he was a killer on the run from an alleged 1985 murder in San Marino, Calif.
"When he was busted for kidnapping his daughter, that blew the lid off a 30-year con," says Vanity Fair writer and 48 Hours consultant, Mark Seal, author of a book on the case. "All these other identities come to light - it turns out he was wanted for questioning in a homicide case."
Moriarty and 48 Hours investigate the many faces of Christian Gerhartsreiter in "aka Rockefeller" and go inside the investigation into the murder he allegedly committed.
According to police, Gerhartsreiter was living in San Marino, Calif., in 1982 under yet another alias, Christopher Chichester. He told people he was the 13th Baronet of Chichester and charmed his way into the community via the local church.
It was in San Marino where police believe Gerhartsreiter turned from con man to killer when in 1985, John and Linda Sohus disappeared. No one questioned the disappearance, because days earlier Linda told several people her husband was going off on a secret government mission to New York. Years later, the Bones of John Sohus were found in the backyard of the house where they lived. Turns out, when they vanished Christopher Chichester lived in their guesthouse.
Three decades later, as Rockefeller's many identities unraveled - he also once said he was bond trader and TV producer Christopher Crowe while living in Connecticut - investigators in California believed they were onto something. However, they had little to work with other than the victim's skull, which was in pieces.
Could they tie the well-known con man to the crime?
Gerhartsreiter swears he didn't kill John or Linda Sohus. Indeed, he says Linda Sohus is alive. "Absolutely not," he tells Moriarty when asked if he killed Linda Sohus, whose body has never been found. "She's around somewhere."
"He could fool anyone," journalist and former friend Walter Kirn says. "He was brilliant. He was diabolical."
Moriarty and 48 Hours piece together the murder case, along with the unbelievable life of Christian Gerhartsreiter through interviews with Kirn, Seal, Ellen and Chris Sohus, the siblings of John Sohus, people who knew Gerhartsreiter as Christopher Chichester, investigators and prosecutors involved with the case.
48 HOURS: "aka Rockefeller" is produced by Judy Rybak, Greg Fisher and Avi Cohen. Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.