Browsing: Bizarre

NBC’s Natalie Morales interviews Christian Gerhartsreiter, aka Clark Rockefeller.
You’d think the most interesting development in the endlessly fascinating saga of Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter (first known to the American public as Clark Rockefeller) would be Gerhartsreiter’s interview with NBC news. A portion of the interview was broadcast on the Today Show this morning. It revealed very little about the case and a lot about Gerhartsreiter. In person he is effete and evasive. He plays with language like a lawyer, disputing fine shades of meaning in words — the practiced sidestep of someone who is a confident and facile prevaricator.
To anyone with language training, brief glimpses of Gerhartsreiter’s German roots can be heard as he speaks. There is a certain crispness in the way he pronounces some words that is decidedly German in nature, oddly meshed with an obviously adopted upper-crust New Englander’s drawl.
Yet he is clear-eyed and his gaze is direct as he speaks with his interviewer. He controls his body language well. He seems, if anything, unusually calm.
Fascinating, yes. But the most interesting development in the case today has been reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Investigators are planning to use ground-penetrating radar in coming days to search for human remains and other evidence at a San Marino home that is at the center of a bizarre international mystery…

John [some reports refer to him as Jonathan]and Linda Sohus disappeared in February, 1985 from their home in San Marino, CA. At the time they rented a residence on their property to Christopher Chichester — an alias used by Christian Gerhartsreiter.
The bones of a man were found buried in the rear of the Sohus’s former home in 1994. No DNA tests were performed, but they were believed to be the remains of John Sohus. Linda Sohus is still among the missing.
Police in Los Angeles refer to Gerhartsreiter/Clark Rockefeller as a “person of interest” in the case.
According to the LAT, a geophysicist is coming in to study the property where the Sohuses and Gerhartsreiter lived in ’85. The ground penetrating radar will be used to avoid disturbing the ground around the home. If any tell-tale results are found via the radar, authorities will know where to focus their efforts if they decide to dig for more evidence.
For his part, Gerhartsreiter/Rockefeller decided to avoid discussing the Sohuses with the media. A Boston paper reported that he “fell silent and smiled tightly” when asked about the missing couple and his attorney requested the interviewer change subjects. [Los Angeles Times and MSNBC.]

jeremynoyes.jpgThe FBI says that Jeremy Noyes, a 30-year-old med student living in Erie, PA planned to create a sex farm or private island retreat stocked with female slaves. The feds also say Noyes had child porn in one of his e-mail accounts. So they arrested him on August 18 and charged him with two counts of possessing child pornography.
Authorities were tipped off when Noyes’s ex became concerned about Noyes’s interest in kids. Elizabeth Fleming, who was enrolled with Noyes at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, gave the FBI e-mails from Noyes in which he outlined a sick desire to begin a “new society.”
The messages also described Alex and her child Abby, who allegedly lived in New Zealand. Noyes said he met Alex via, a fetish site for folks with an interest in BDSM (Fleming got to know Noyes through the site as well).
The FBI’s affidavit filed to support the charges against Jeremy Noyes states that Noyes would IM with Alex and instruct her in the proper preparation of her 4-year-old child “for sexual activity.” The same affidavit told of a conversation during which Noyes told Fleming that he had a long-term plan to put together what he called a “family” of sex slaves. Alex and Abby from New Zealand were to be the seeds of that family. According to Fleming, Noyes stated that he’d wait until Abby was between 8 and 14 years old, then impregnate her. Her offspring would be the fulfillment of this sick plan. The affidavit states that Noyes planned to purchase “a farm or an island where he could” form his new society.
Jeremy Noyes is in the Erie County jail. His next hearing is Thursday. If he’s convicted on the child porn charges, Noyes could face anywhere from 10 to 40 years in prison.
The affidavit published by The Smoking Gun leaves out many other allegations made by Elizabeth Fleming, including her statement — made in a blog entry — that Noyes claimed he’d committed murder — and gotten away with it.

anthraxenvelope.jpgThose who have strong doubts about the case against the late Bruce Ivins being the Amerithrax killer have new grist for the mill. The FBI has admitted that they had possession of the correct strain of anthrax shortly after the deadly letters were sent in late 2001. They have also admitted to destroying the samples.
According to the Associated Press, FBI Assistant Director Vahid Majidi said Monday that an anthrax sample Bruce Ivins provided to the Bureau in February, 2002 was destroyed because of concerns that it might not be allowed into evidence if the case went to trial. In hindsight, said Majidi, the Bureau would have done things “differently.”
The FBI made this admission as they tried to publicly reinforce their case against Ivins. They did make one positive, interesting point about the investigation as a whole — according to associate lab director James Burans from the National Bioforensics Analysis Center at the Dept. of Homeland Security, the Amerithrax investigation “helped to found the field of bioforensics.”
Speaking to the media, Asst. Dir. Majidi implied that critics of the investigation would never be fully satisfied. He said that it would come to resemble the elaborate culture of conspiracy that still swirls around the Kennedy assassination. [Reuters and the AP/NY Sun.]

chichesterockefeller.JPGIt should be no surprise to anyone that the FBI has confirmed that the man who first came to public notice as Clark Rockefeller is actually a German immigrant named Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter.
Basically, the feds matched prints from immigration papers Gerhartsreiter filed in the 80s to prints left by ‘Rockefeller’ on a wineglass around the time he allegedly abducted his daughter, Reigh Boss, in July of this year.
Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Gerhartsreiter’s lawyer continues to float his client’s defense that he can’t remember much before 1993. Gerhartsreiter does seem to remember the couple to whose disappearance he’s been linked, John and Linda Sohus, and he remembers living in their guesthouse under the pseudonym Christopher Chichester. But attorney Stephen Hrones insists Gerhartsreiter can’t recall much more than that.
And the reason for the Chichester name? Hrones says Gerhartsreiter “was aspiring to be an actor” in California.
By the way — as far as I can tell, I was the first to report the man’s full name, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, and the fact that he was once married to an Amy Jersild, in Wisconsin. At the time I figured it was the man in custody, but couldn’t say for sure. A few days later, Boston newspapers confirmed what I found in public records accessed through an online database.
Just saying.
I’m beginning to wonder who will write the script when this becomes a movie, or at the very least, a made-for-cable miniseries. [BBC NEWS | Americas]

The story that brought Joyce McKinney back to the public spotlight.
Who could forget Joyce Bernann McKinney, her cloned Booger puppies, the past allegations that she raped a hunka hunka Mormon Missionary man back in the 70s? I know I couldn’t — she’s a crime blogger’s dream subject.
Well, from my home state of Tennessee comes the latest wrinkle in the always entertaining and original saga of the former beauty queen and international fugitive — turns out Joyce’s long and winding path from her tabloid heyday in the 70s eventually led, in 2004, to Carter County, TN.
This time, McKinney was concerned about a horse she owned. Seems he had just three legs, and the thing Ms. McKinney most desired was to fit her steed with a prosthesis.
Her alleged solution? Burglary, via a 15-year-old male proxy.
Couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.
Anyway — according to reports rolling out of Tennessee and the old AP, Ms. McKinney acquired a black wig, gloves, and the aforementioned 15-year-old boy.
There was one problem — the kid was wearing a wire.
And so, our Joyce — or whatever the hell she was calling herself then — fell afoul of the Tennessee law, and in short order she was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, and, for good measure, I guess, speeding.
Carter County authorities aren’t sure how Ms. McKinney decided on the residence in question, and in keeping with what appears to be her usual M.O., Joyce McKinney denied everything, declared herself completely innocent — this according to McKinney’s Tennessee lawyer David (don’t you dare call him Davey) Crockett.
Crockett was going to negotiate some sort of plea with the courts in this case, but McKinney missed the court date and thereby managed to add felony failure to appear to her list of alleged offenses. Crockett decided he was done with the case 2 years later.
Carter County, TN, however, is a lot like England in this respect — it seems as though folks there don’t have much interest at the moment in extraditing Ms. McKinney. Unless, that is, she shows up in North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, etc. Then, they might think about it.
The award for understatement in this story must go to former Carter County Sheriff investigator Laverne Julian. Regarding McKinney’s arrest in 2004, Julian said, “She was mentally not all there.” [ ]

pdcfloresaulis.jpgThe lovely vision you see on the right is Paula Del Carmen Flores-Aulis, age 40. She ran into some trouble at home, and that ultimately led to an even more troublesome incarceration at the Gwinnett County, GA Detention Facility.
It seems that Ms. Flores-Aulis was enjoying what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution delicately termed a “private moment” with a male companion around 7 a.m., Monday morning. That was when her husband came home.
The as-yet unnamed male visitor high-tailed it out the bedroom window. Suddenly, Paula Del Carmen Flores-Aulis was a victim of said ruffian. She said the man invaded her home and attempted to have his way with her.
Authorities were summoned and upon investigation they determined that the ‘home invader’s’ vehicle was sitting in the driveway of the residence. The hood was cool, giving the impression that it had been there a while. Lilburn police detective Kim Banks said that was “a little strange.” Strange enough to put Ms. Flores-Aulis’s story in some doubt.
Ms. Flores-Aulis’s lover sent a chum over to the house to pick up the car. That was how police got in touch with the suspect, and how he told the real story of the morning.
In short, he was scared to death mainly because the husband came home, and also because he was accused of home invasion.
Further investigation determined that Ms. Flores-Aulis and her “home invader” had even eaten breakfast together at one of the Atlanta area’s many fine Waffle House establishments earlier in the morning. Waffle House employees were glad to help firm up the accused lover’s story.
As noted by the AJC, Ms. Flores-Aulis is being held on a low bond, accused of falsely reporting a crime.
Strangely, her husband has yet to post her bail. []

Some crime stories you just can’t avoid, even if you try. The saga of Shawn Roderick, age 11, is one of those stories.
Police in Orlando, FL say Shawn marched into a Walgreens at 3:30 this morning and pulled out a pair of handguns, intent on robbing the place. It looks as though Shawn actually got some money from the till, but one of the Walgreens employees called 911 and cops snagged little Shawn as he exited the store.
Turns out the guns Shawn flashed upon entering the store were actually BB pistols.
There’s no word yet as to whether Shawn Roderick will be tried as an adult, but Orlando police released his name this afternoon, anyway. The UPI reported that the child will face felony robbery charges. [WKMG Orlando, UPI]

Not that anyone really doubted this, but Bernann McKinney, of the 5 cloned Booger puppies, admitted over the weekend that she was also the infamous Joyce McKinney.
McKinney tearfully said she’d hoped that people would focus on the story of her 5 cloned puppies and not past “garbage.”
She said that she figured “people would be honest enough to see” her as someone “who was trying to do something good and not as a celebrity.”
To Joyce Bernann McKinney, the portrait of her painted by the press over 3 decades ago wasn’t real. It was a “figment of the tabloid press.”
Speaking to the AP about the charges that she raped 6’4″ Mormon missionary Kirk Anderson as he was restrained in a remote English cottage, McKinney said, “I didn’t rape no 300-pound man […] He was built like a Green Bay Packer.”
Legally, McKinney has nothing to worry about. British authorities, citing the age of the charges against her, will not seek extradition.
[International Herald Tribune/AP]

From the Boston Globe:

“I think Germany was too small for him,” Alexander Gerhartsreiter said. “He wanted to live in the big country and maybe get famous. Now that I see all this, he’s really famous.”

Enterprising American reporters have tracked down the real family of German national Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who may just be the man known to U.S. authorities as Clark Rockefeller. At least that’s one of the names he’s used. Several papers have also confirmed what I first reported here, two days ago — that Gerhartsreiter (Rockefeller) apparently moved to Wisconsin in 1981 and married Amy Jersild. That marriage permitted Gerhartsreiter to obtain a green card and made him a legal resident of the United States.
According to the Globe, Gerhartsreiter left his home and family in Bavaria in 1978, when he was 17. He first landed in Connecticut, where he attended one year of high school as an exchange student. Then he was off across the U.S., marrying in Wisconsin in ’81 before moving on to San Marino in the mid-80s. Gerhartsreiter adopted the Christopher Chichester pseudonym then. It was the last fake name his birth family knew about, for Gerhartsreiter stopped calling in 1985.
John and Linda Sohus vanished in February of that year, and Christopher Chichester seemed to vanish a few months later.
Though the real story of how a boy from Bavaria became a fake member of the American gentry and then a fugitive on the run with his daughter is becoming clearer with each passing day, the man who wanted to be known as a Rockefeller still isn’t talking to police from Boston or Los Angeles. He may never crack. He’s had a lot of practice keeping his secrets. []

My wife leaves the TV on NBC when she leaves for work. So the first face I saw on the tube when I woke up this morning was a woman in rapture over 5 cloned Boogers. She was being interviewed on the Today show. She truly looked ecstatic. The journalist asking questions looked more and more uncomfortable as the interview progressed. It looked as though the journo — Natalie Morales — could feel the craziness closing in on her.
The woman with the 5 cloned Boogers was Bernann McKinney, and Booger was, once upon a time, her pet pit bull. Booger died two years ago from cancer. Bernann McKinney missed Booger so much she got a wild hair and contacted a lab in South Korea that said it could clone dogs and other animals. Bernann spent many thousands of dollars to end up with 5 cloned puppies. Five copies of her precious Booger.
The look on Natalie Morales’s face mirrored my feelings as I watched Bernann talk about her Boogers. Bernann said, “He became my service dog […] I was in a wheelchair, and my arms were in braces for a long time — I couldn’t use my hands. He could unlock a door with his teeth, he could answer the phone, he could do the laundry. He was my hands.”
Writing that out it doesn’t look nearly as crazy as it sounded. Bernann’s hyper way of speaking over-emphasized certain points, like how her dog could do laundry. When the camera came back to Morales, she looked like she wanted to be somewhere else.
So, I turned the channel, because I could only take so much. Still, I kept wondering about the story. I had the feeling something was up with Bernann McKinney. I wasn’t sure what, though. Perhaps the cloned puppies deal was a scam, a hoax. No, I decided — too many articles were out there about the puppies; they, at least, appear to be real. So maybe it was just Bernann — after all, the woman was so obsessed with getting her doggy back that she spent a small fortune to do it. That kind of commitment is rare, and can often result in, well, commitment. To a hospital, perhaps.
I went about my day. Since my day involves sorting through the news and finding interesting stuff to cover for this blog, I eventually ran across this, in the UK’s Daily Mail: “A cloned dog, a Mormon in mink-lined handcuffs and a tantalising mystery.” From the article:

Could the new owner of the world’s first commercially cloned pups be the same woman who had gone on the run from British justice 30 years ago, having been the star of one of the most bizarre, entertaining and downright saucy court cases in living memory?

Bernann McKinney had tripped my spidey-sense for a reason.

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