Saturday, 2:15 PM
Father may be trying to flee with daughter on yacht
By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff
The father accused of abducting his 7-year-old daughter during a supervised visit Sunday in the Back Bay was last seen at 7:30 p.m. at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, police said this afternoon.
Authorities fear that Clark Rockefeller may be trying to flee with his daughter, Reigh, on a 72-foot yacht that he recently purchased and had docked on Long Island. The Coast Guard is searching for the boat, which is named "Serenity" or "Serendipity."
The FBI has also joined authorities in New York and Boston as they search for Rockefeller, who is listed as a director of the prestigious Algonquin Club of Boston.
"We are definitely concerned for her safety," said Boston Police Superintendent Bruce Holloway at press conference this afternoon.
Reigh, known by the nickname Snooks, is a petite, blond-haired girl with glasses who speaks with a British accent. She was on her first supervised visit Sunday with her father since divorce proceedings in January 2007, according to police.
The alleged kidnapping occurred as the father, daughter, and a social worker were walking to the Boston Common from the Four Seasons Hotel at 12:45 p.m. A sport utility vehicle pulled up and Rockefeller allegedly grabbed his daughter, pushed the social worker out of the way, and jumped into the vehicle, which sped off.
The social worker, who police said works for an independent agency, grabbed onto the vehicle and was dragged several feet. He was treated for minor injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital and released, police said.
Boston Police searched the area without success, and State Police issued the Amber Alert just before 5 p.m. Police issued a warrant for the father's arrest last night. He faces charges of custodial kidnapping, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a deadly weapon -- the sport utility vehicle.
The Amber Alert was canceled this morning in Massachusetts when authorities learned that Rockefeller was spotted in New York City. An Amber Alert has not been issued in New York because it is a custodial case, according to a spokesman for the state police. New York State Police have instead issued a missing child alert, which is a step below an Amber Alert.
Boston Police are still searching for the black SUV. It was described as a black Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon, or Denali with a Red Sox license plate and Red Sox stickers on the window. That vehicle is still believed to be in the area.
WHDH-TV reported that the girl's backpack and toy doll were left on the steps of the father's home. The station also reported that Rockefeller was a scientist who had moved to the area two years ago and was in the midst of a bitter divorce involving a large amount of money.
The girl's mother, Sandra Boss, a 41-year-old senior partner at McKinsey & Co., has been talking with detectives at the Four Seasons, where she has been staying since she arrived from London, where she works.
Boss is chairwoman of the Board of Trustees at the Mount, Edith Wharton's Lenox estate.
She joined the board in 2006 because of her expertise in finance and her great love of Wharton, who wrote about New York's high society in her novels "House of Mirth" and "Age of Innocence."
"It's a terrible situation," said Gordon Travers, who sits on the board. "It's a hideous situation. We're all just praying and worrying ourselves to pieces."
Boss's daughter would play at the Mount and frolic near its pond, asking endless questions about the animals that lived in the water, recalled Stephanie Copeland, the former president and CEO of the Mount.
"I had the great good fortune of meeting Snooks and I was quite taken with her," Copeland said. "When a child has a mind like hers where she's just curious about everything, it's wonderful for an adult to be around a child like that."
Copeland said she only met Rockefeller once, when Boss introduced him to her a couple of years ago at a black-tie fund-raising event in Boston for the Mount.
"I didn't see any signs of distress," she said.
Police said that though there was no indication of past abuse, they believed the girl was in danger, and they asked the public for help finding her and her father.
Police described Clark Rockefeller as a white, 48-year-old man. He is 5 feet 6 inches tall, and 170 pounds with a stocky build. He was last seen wearing khaki pants and a blue polo shirt. He is listed as a director with the Algonquin Club of Boston, but officials with the social club could not be reached last night for comment.
The New York Times, in telephone interviews on Monday, contacted Amy Fitch and Michele Hiltzik, senior archivists at the Rockefeller Archive Center in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., which maintains the records of the Rockefeller family associated with Standard Oil, philanthropy and politics, said there was no indication that Clark Rockefeller was a descendant of William Avery Rockefeller, the father of John D. Rockefeller Sr. and William Rockefeller.
The newspaper reported that in 2004, The Valley News, in Lebanon, N.H., said Rockefeller refused to confirm whether or not he was related, directly or otherwise, to the famed Rockefeller family. “Maybe I am, maybe I’m not; it’s not something that I would either confirm or deny,” Clark Rockefeller responded, according to the paper. “I just don’t want anything to do with the whole question.”
The New Hampshire newspaper was trying to determine Clark Rockefeller’s lineage after he reportedly wrote a $110,000 check to the town of Cornish, N.H., in exchange for a deed to a historic church.
Reigh Rockefeller is 4 feet tall, weighs 50 pounds, and has blond hair and blue eyes, police said. She was last seen at the intersection of Marlborough and Arlington streets, wearing a pink and white sundress, red shoes, and sunglasses, police said.
Authorities asked anyone with information to call 617-343-4328.
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