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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2008

FBI: Prints confirm ‘Rockefeller’ identity

August 16, 2008

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— The FBI said Friday that it matched fingerprints from a German man's decades-old immigration papers to a kidnapping suspect who calls himself Clark Rockefeller - the first forensic link to a conclusion California authorities had already made.

The FBI said it matched fingerprints from Christian Gerhartsreiter's immigration papers from the early 1980s to those taken from a wine glass Rockefeller touched in late July - around the time he is accused of abducting his daughter - and those taken by Baltimore police after his Aug. 2 arrest.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department this week said it had concluded Rockefeller was Gerhartsreiter after conducting interviews with people who knew him in California in the 1980s.

Authorities have said Gerhartsreiter lived all around the U.S., including California, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, under aliases including Chris Crowe, Chris Chichester, Charles Smith and Chip Smith.

"Gerhartsreiter is at the center of the longest con I've ever seen in my professional career," said Daniel Conley, district attorney in Massachusetts' Suffolk County.

By matching recent fingerprints to those on the old papers, Conley said, "the FBI's fingerprint technicians brought science to bear where mere suspicion had prevailed."

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