BOSTON – The German man who for years used the famous last name Rockefeller said in a television interview that he merely wanted to live an obscure life in Baltimore with the 7-year-old daughter he's accused of kidnapping.
The man known as Clark Rockefeller also told NBC's "Today Show" that he has been using the Rockefeller name since he can remember, but declined to elaborate on the advice of his lawyer.
Descendants of Standard Oil billionaire John D. Rockefeller Sr. have said there is no indication Clark Rockefeller is related to the famous family.
A brief excerpt of the man's first public interview, to be aired on the "Today" show beginning Monday, was shown Thursday night on Boston's NBC affiliate, WHDH-TV.
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Authorities have identified him as a German immigrant named Christian Gerhartsreiter. He is accused of snatching his daughter, Reigh Boss, during a supervised visit with a social worker in Boston on July 27. She was found safe at a home in Baltimore where he was arrested Aug. 2. He has pleaded not guilty to charges in Boston of kidnapping the girl and assaulting the social worker.
Among other things, he said he never thought about returning Reigh to her mother, Sandra Boss, who works and lives in London, adding that being with the child was "almost like a drug."
The couple's marriage ended last year. Gerhartsreiter told NBC he took his daughter to Baltimore because he could not afford the life he wanted in Boston.
Asked if he planned to go into hiding, he said "That's perhaps an extreme way of saying it. I just wanted to live an obscure life in Baltimore."
Meanwhile, authorities in California want to question Gerhartsreiter about the 1985 disappearance of a wealthy young couple who lived at a Los Angeles area estate where he rented the guesthouse. Gerhartsreiter's attorney has said he remembers the couple, but had nothing to do with their disappearance.
He said he has used the name Clark Rockefeller as long as he can remember. "It was given to me by the one person to whom I've always looked up to, one person whom I've known since I was small," Gerhartsreiter said.
He said he would not name that person on advice of his lawyer Stephen Hrones, who sat in on the interview at Boston's jail. His attorney has said his client doesn't remember being Gerhartsreiter.
Asked if he was related to the famous Rockefeller family, he replied: "I really couldn't tell you. Perhaps at some point we can do a DNA test and find out.
"I never said that, stated that in any specific way, one way or the other," he said.
Authorities have said Gerhartsreiter lived all around the U.S., including California, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, using several aliases.