As the mystery surrounding the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller deepens, authorities are more determined than ever to figure out who he really is.
Suffolk County (Mass.) District Attorney Dan Conley says his office will find out the true identity of the father accused of snatching his 7-year-old daughter off a Boston street — and will prosecute him to the full extent of the law.
“Whoever this individual is — and we know for sure it’s not Clark Rockefeller — he’s a very sophisticated, scheming, lying individual,” Conley told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira on Wednesday. “He’s been getting away with this apparently for many, many years.
“It’s going to be difficult. It’s been disconcerting not to know exactly who he is. But we’ve been confronted with situations like this in Boston in the past, and we’ve never failed to identify the person we have in custody.”
The mystery man, divorced from wife Sandra Boss, was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Tuesday. He was flown from Baltimore, where he was captured on Saturday to end an ill-fated, six-day attempt to take their daughter, Reigh, away from her mother’s custody.
And now California authorities want to question him to see if he is linked to a missing persons case from the 1980s.
But Assistant District Attorney David Deakin told the court that even after thousands of hours of collaboration between the FBI, Homeland Security and local and state officials, the true identify of Clark Rockefeller still is not yet known.
“We’re confident that eventually — and it’s going to take some time — we’re going to find out exactly who he is,” Conley vowed.
Rockefeller is charged with felony parental kidnapping, assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
He appeared unkempt, wearing the same shirt and dark-framed glasses as the day of his arrest, as Deakin told the judge how Rockefeller, 48, snatched his daughter from a supervised visit in an intricately planned kidnapping that led to a six-day manhunt.
Deakin said the man had not provided any information about himself prior to 1993, and that he could not even verify that Rockefeller was a U.S. citizen.
Conley said prosecutors from his office have spoken to Rockefeller's ex-wife and indicated that suspicions about his true identity were a major factor in their divorce last year.
“She had suspicions shortly after they married [in 1993] that he wasn’t who he said he was, and ultimately, if you look at the divorce proceedings and documents, that was a big issue in the case,” Conley told Vieira.
“She had some suspicions early on, and she has been cooperative with law enforcement.”
Stephen Hrones, Rockefeller’s attorney, said his client’s legal name is, in fact, Clark Rockefeller. He also argued that Rockefeller could not be convicted of kidnapping if he was taking his own child.
But Conley said Rockefeller still clearly went afoul of the law. “Steve Hrones is an excellent criminal defense attorney in Boston, with a good reputation, but I think he’s wrong on this case,” Conley told Vieira. “We have a statute that specifically addresses this type of situation. This defendant was under a court order to have three or four supervised visits a year. He broke that court order. He abducted his child with no authority.
“He set off a massive law enforcement response in Boston that was extremely costly,” Conley added. “He assaulted a social worker. His daughter was injured. He took her off the ground and threw her into the vehicle. She was injured. This was a violent episode. He needs to be held accountable.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed it is sending two homicide detectives to Boston to interview Rockefeller to see if he has any connection to an unsolved disappearance and possible murder case.
The Boston Globe reported that Rockefeller’s fingerprints were linked to an out-of-state license