"Sandy, he's got her," he said. "I don't know what to tell you. He's got her. I'm on Marlborough Street. The police are here."
Sandra Boss, a tall, attractive woman with a usually confident air, rushed to the scene in a cab. Devastated and distraught, she was crying and frantically pacing in the street. Then a thin, grizzled private investigator ran up to her. Boss had hired his company to send someone to watch Rockefeller and Snooks secretly from the park, but the PI had bungled the stakeout. Yaffe and Boss could only stand there, dumbfounded, and wait for the police to arrive. The getaway point was about to become a crime scene.
"I knew this would happen!" Boss told the police when they got there. "You'll never find them now!"
"Why?" asked one of the officers.
"Because he's not who he says he is."
After twelve years of marriage, she had only recently come to realize this. During their divorce proceedings, in the summer of 2007, Boss had filed an affidavit calling into question her husband's identity. He shot back with his own legal response, signed, sworn to, and filed in court, under penalty of perjury:
Sandra L. Boss and I met on February 5, 1993, and ever since then she has known me by my one and only name, James Frederick Mills Clark Rockefeller. If I indeed had a different name, one would find it difficult to imagine that in nearly 15 years such a fact would not have come to light, particularly since Sandra throughout our life together met many persons who have known me by the same name for much longer than she has known me.
Now he was sending out another response: Catch me if you can.
An ambulance rushed Yaffe to the hospital with a concussion. Detective Joe Leeman from the Boston Police Department drove the frantic Boss back to her hotel, and she gave him pictures of her daughter and ex-husband, which were quickly distributed far and wide. Meanwhile, at police headquarters, clerks proceeded to enter Rockefeller's name into various databases. They found nothing. One of them called the detectives, who put Boss on the phone. To their amazement, she claimed that Clark did not have a social security number or a driver's license and that she had never seen his tax returns.
What about credit cards and cell phones?
His credit cards had been in her name, she explained. As far as she knew, he didn't have a passport or a checking account. Since their divorce, she had reached him at a cell phone number listed in the name of a friend. She couldn't give them any information that would help trace him.
Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal. Copyright © 2011 by Mark Seal
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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