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Boston suspect was called Chichester, officials say

L.A. County confirms that the man arrested this month is sought for questioning in a San Marino couple's disappearance.

August 12, 2008|Richard Winton and Molly Hennessy-Fiske | Times Staff Writers

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said Monday that a Boston kidnapping suspect is the man they have identified as a "person of interest" in the disappearance of a San Marino couple 23 years ago.

"We are now positively identifying the man arrested in Boston as Clark Rockefeller as the man known as Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter," said Steve Whitmore, a Sheriff's Department spokesman.

He is wanted for questioning in the disappearance of Jonathan and Linda Sohus and is considered a person of interest in their disappearance, Whitmore said. Gerhartsreiter used the name Christopher Chichester when he lived in the couple's San Marino guesthouse in the 1980s, he said.

Investigators were able to identify Gerhartsreiter through numerous interviews with people who contacted the authorities, Whitmore said.

Police on both coasts had been investigating Gerhartsreiter, who is accused of absconding from Boston with his young daughter and was captured Aug. 2 by the FBI in Baltimore.

Whitmore said detectives are seeking to interview anyone who knew the man known as Chichester between 1985 and 1988.

Around the time he left San Marino in 1985, the Sohuses vanished, authorities said. Nine years later, bags of human skeletal remains were unearthed on the couple's property.

Investigators have collected DNA evidence from the remains but so far have been unable to determine if they are linked to that of Jonathan Sohus. Ed Winter, chief of investigations for the Los Angeles County coroner's office, said authorities had been unable to get a familial match because Sohus was adopted.

"To match them from something, you got to know what family it is," he said. "We don't have his next of kin."

Linda Sohus' remains have not been found.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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