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Video: Sitter: Rockefeller a 'gentle man'

TODAY contributor
updated 8/1/2008 9:20:10 AM ET 2008-08-01T13:20:10

The former baby sitter of a 7-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted by her father believes little Reigh Storrow Mills Boss is in safe hands.

Emily Miller, who watched over Reigh for two years while her parents had a home in Cornish, N.H., said the man known as Clark Rockefeller would not harm his daughter, nicknamed “Snooks” — even though he is on the lam, with authorities and associates questioning his mysterious persona.

“From what I know of Clark, I don’t think he would ever harm her physically,” Miller told TODAY co-host Matt Lauer on Friday. “He’s a nice and gentle man, so I’m not concerned about her safety, no.”

Miller’s comments came on the heels of a video posted by Reigh’s mother, Sandra Boss, on Thursday, addressed to her estranged husband and her beloved daughter, appealing for their fast return.

Asked about Clark Rockefeller's motive in kidnapping Reigh, Miller said: “I think, after going through the divorce and then having Sandy and Snooks move to London, that he misses his little girl.

“Having supervised visits must be hard, so he really wants to actually have his daughter back in his life.”

Trailing a ‘princess’
Rockefeller and his daughter were last seen Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

It was during a supervised visit earlier that day when Rockefeller, 48, allegedly took Reigh from Marlborough Street in the upscale Back Bay section of Boston, leaving her doll and backpack behind on the street as a social worker gave chase.

Rockefeller, who does not have a driver’s license, placed Reigh in a black sport utility vehicle driven by livery driver Darryl Hopkins. They met Aileen Ang, an acquaintance of Rockefeller’s, at a Boston hospital.

Ang then drove the pair to New York City, unwittingly sparking an FBI manhunt. Ang, who was paid $500 by Rockefeller for the ride, said she received a call from a friend about the Amber Alert for Reigh just moments after dropping the pair off.

Since their disappearance, there have been many tips and leads as to the potential whereabouts of Rockefeller and his daughter, but no definitive sightings. There is also a possibility that Rockefeller planted false clues to throw pursuers off his trail.

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Rockefeller told Ang that he had recently purchased a yacht and was planning on taking Reigh sailing. Detectives are still trying to verify one claim from a Rockefeller friend that he bought a 72-foot boat named “Serenity” with gold bars he exchanged for cash. While it’s uncertain such a boat exists, the Coast Guard has been searching for it.

Reigh stands 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. She has blond hair, glasses, and a British accent. The FBI is cautioning that Rockefeller may have cut her hair to make her look more like a boy.

“I started baby-sitting for her in the summer of ’05, so she was about 4 years old, and I thought she was a really sweet girl,” Miller said of Reigh. “She was really smart. I hope for the best for her. She was a happy and cheerful young girl, so hopefully she can become that [again] sometime soon.”

Mystery man
Police say Rockefeller may have dyed his own hair to an orange-brown color and may be using a passport in the name of Michael Brown, one of at least four aliases he has used. He also told associates he attended Yale University, although the school has no record of his attendance there.

Since the alleged kidnapping, there has been a broad range of accounts and descriptions of Clark Rockefeller from those who know him. Authorities have not been able to locate a birth certificate or a Social Security number for Rockefeller. Some say he flaunted his wealth with his wardrobe and allowed to people to believe he is a descendant of John D. Rockefeller, the wealthy New York industrialist (a family spokesman has denied any connection). Others describe him as a trained physicist who did not have a regular work routine. Still others say he was a doting father who mostly raised Reigh while her mother worked, and a charitable man.

Miller, a 19-year-old college student at the University of New Hampshire, met Rockefeller in 2005. She baby-sat weekly while attending high school and occasionally during her first year in college, while on breaks. Her parents also became friendly with Rockefeller, going out to dinner with him last summer.

Miller hasn’t seen Rockefeller since last summer, although they had kept in touch via e-mail. She said she found stories of his misleading personas “very surprising. I just believed he was who he said he was,” Miller told Lauer. “I’ve never had someone tell me something different, so this is the first time I’ve ever had someone give me a false identity. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt.”

Video: Reigh’s mother’s plea

A mother’s plea
Sandra L. Boss reportedly married Clark Rockefeller in the early 1990s on Nantucket, but they divorced in late 2007. The couple traveled between homes in Boston, New York and Cornish, N.H., where Miller took on baby-sitting duties. Their homes, according to property records, were in Boss’ name.

“I don’t know much about the relationship between Sandy and Clark,” Miller acknowledged. “But I know I thought they were very happy. I saw them interact at least once or twice and they seemed very happy and quite the nice family.”

Boss, 41, a senior partner in the London office of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., broke her public silence since the abduction in a 43-second video plea for the return of Reigh on Thursday. In her statement, Boss said: “Clark, although many things have changed, you will always be Reigh’s father and I will always be Reigh’s mother. We both love her dearly and have only her best interests and well-being in our hearts.

“I ask you now, please, please bring Snooks back,” Boss went on in the video. “There has to be a better way for us to solve our differences than this way. I also want to thank everyone for your help.

“And Reigh, honey, I love you and miss you so much. Remember, you’re always a princess.”

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