The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller and was once known around San Marino as Christopher Chichester has been charged with the 1985 murder of local resident John Sohus, authorities said Tuesday.
Rockefeller, a German national who's real name is Christian Gerhartsreiter, is currently serving a prison term in Massachusetts for kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter in 2008, and prosecutors are seeking to extradite him to California, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore.
He faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors, who are seeking $10 million in bail.
Gerhartsreiter spent time in San Marino in the 1980s and lived with Linda and John Sohus at their home on Lorain Road before the couple disappeared in Feb. 1985. Unidentified bones were dug up at the property in 1994, and investigators previously said they were unable to definitely link them to the Sohuses.
But the bones have now been identified as John Sohus, and an investigation has determined that he died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to authorities.
"The DNA identifies the remains as John Sohus," Whitmore said, adding that the DNA evidence was a turning point in the case.
"The recent DNA evidence certainly turned it," he said.
The criminal complaint, filed in Alhambra Superior Court, alleges that John Sohus was murdered sometime between Feb. 1 and 28, 1985, and that Gerhartsreiter personally wielded a "blunt object" while commiting the crime, according to City News Service.
Homicide detectives have tried to interview Gerhartsreiter in the past about the disappearance of the couple, but his attorneys have not allowed them to speak with the man. Whitmore declined to provide specifics on the murder case against Gerhartsreiter.
"Even though he's been charged with murder, it's still an ongoing investigation," Whitmore said.
Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, also declined to elaborate on the charges.
"We're not discussing facts of case until we get to court," Robison said in an email.
Gerhartsreiter was arrested in 2008 when he kidnapped his daughter Reigh "Snooks" Boss during a court-ordered visitation with her and attempted to flee the country. He is serving a sentence of four to five years in prison for the kidnapping, which he was convicted of in 2009.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts, said that his office has kept in touch with Los Angeles prosecutors about the case.
"We’ve been in contact with California authorities for quite some time now," Wark said. "We’re ready to assist them in any way possible as they request."
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