Murder Monday Episode #3: The Pretender

On February 8, 1985, John and Linda Sohus left their home in San Marino, California to seek employment in New York. They never returned and were reported missing two months later.

 In subsequent years, Linda’s friends and family received postcards from France, but they suspected that Linda never actually wrote them. 

By 1994, new owners were living in the Sohuses’ former residence, and they decided to dig a swimming pool in the backyard. They found male skeletal remains buried in three plastic bags. The remains were identified as John Sohus, and even though Linda was still nowhere to found, the case wound up going in a very unexpected direction years later.

The Sohuses had been renting out their guesthouse to a tenant named Christopher Chichester, who told John’s mother that the couple had gone on a secret government mission. Chichester himself soon disappeared but was seen trying to sell John’s pickup truck in Connecticut. 

For years, Gerhartsreiter had been passing himself off as Clark Rockefeller, a wealthy member of the Rockefeller family. 

When Gerhartsreiter was exposed as a fraud, he divorced his wife and became engaged in a bitter custody dispute over their daughter. After Gerhartsreiter was apprehended for his daughter’s kidnapping, a fingerprint check revealed that he was the mysterious Christopher Chichester. 

While Gerhartsreiter was imprisoned on the kidnapping charge, he was charged with John Sohus’s murder. He was convicted and received a life sentence in 2013. To date, Linda Sohus has still not been found, but Gerhartsreiter is believed to have killed her as well.

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