He changed his identity, kidnapped his daughter, and was convicted of the murder of a couple. His story was made into a movie.
If you talk about curious stories, you cannot leave aside that of the German impostor Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. This man dazzled the high society of USA with deceit and lies, to the point that he usurped the famous last name of david rockefeller.
He made up an inheritance story and ended up marrying an executive woman who made his life of lies even easier.
Impostor from the start
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter was born on February 21, 1961 in Siegsdorf, Germany. Karl had a childhood full of needs. The son of a painter father and a seamstress mother, he wanted to travel to the United States to fulfill his dream of becoming an actor. hollywood.
With his family’s poor financial situation, Karl found the dream of being a movie star very difficult, but the young man was willing to do whatever it took to achieve his goal.
Gerhartsreiter, at the age of 17, met Elmer and Kelly Jean, an American tourist couple traveling through Germany. He used their names to falsify a recommendation that allowed him to enter America and apply for a high school scholarship as an exchange student.
His visa was accepted from the United States embassy and he emigrated in 1978. Wandering around Connecticut, he managed to stay at the home of a family, introducing himself as Christian Gerharts Reiter, a distortion of his last name to make it easier to pronounce his full name. This was his first forgery.
After settling in the United States, he began studying acting. In 1979 Karl moved to California and changed its name again: it began to be called Christopher Chichester.
Heading to the big leagues
Gerhartsreiter wanted to take the next step in his crazy life. In 1980 he went to Hollywood to try his luck as an actor.
Nothing went well for him and a year later, in 1981, he married Amy Jersild Duhnke to obtain American citizenship. Amy filed for divorce several years later, after claiming that Karl left her the day after the wedding..
After their divorce, in 1984 he moved into the house of the married couple of John and Linda Sohuswho I barely knew. Everything was going relatively well until Karl left town after the couple mysteriously and inexplicably disappeared.
His most remembered deception
After this mysterious event, Gerhartsreiter moved to NY and started working on Wall Street, adopting the name of Christopher Crowe. In 1988, a year after joining the Stock Exchange, he told his colleagues that his parents had been kidnapped abroad and that he had to leave to settle the payment of the ransom and his release. His money income was a mystery.
Karl was a few years away from his identity changes. Until in 1993 he broke into New York high society with his new name: Clark Rockefeller. Karl claimed to be a member of the Rockefeller dynasty and to understand German, but never to have been to that country.
That same year he met Sandra Boss, a successful businesswoman whom he managed to deceive for 12 years. Karl told her stories about her supposedly powerful family: he told her that she was born in New York and that she graduated from Yale.
marriage and ending
In 1995 Sandra married Clark Rockefeller and in 2001 they had a daughter named Reigh. After years of marriage, Sandra became suspicious of her husband, so she hired a private detective, who finally discovered the true identity of the supposed Rockefeller.
After the divorce, Karl kidnapped his only daughter7 years old, and took refuge with her in an apartment to extort Sandra and return her in exchange for a large sum of money.
But it failed. Upon Sandra’s complaint, the police connected the dots, went after the fake Rockefeller and arrested him six days later. Reigh, her daughter was rescued unharmed.
He was also investigated and charged with murder. Apparently the inexplicable disappearance of John Sohus and his wife Linda, who gave him asylum in 1984, had a culprit, Karl.
Trying to escape the law, Clark Rockefeller had bought a house posing as Charles Smith, a single father recently arrived from Chile.
At that moment, the police arrested the multifaceted character, and the wide publicity that the capture of the girl brought him made witnesses remember his other lives. Alexander Gerhartsreiter said he recognized his brother in the photo shown to him by an American reporter.
The fingerprints of the visa with which Gerhartsreiter entered the United States at the age of 17 matched those of the false Rockefeller.
Finally, in 2013 Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the kidnapping of his daughter and for the murder of the Californian couple in 1984. Today he is still in prison serving his sentence.
The incredible story of this German con man, psychopath and murderer was made into a movie with the films: “Six Million Dollar Conman” (2012) and “My friend Rockefeller” (2015).