According to himself, his lawyer and the press reports, Bourdin was raised by his grandparents in Paris and was later put into a children's home. He says that he never knew his father, that his mother intended to have an abortion and eventually abandoned him and that he was sexually abused. In an interview with the New Yorker, his mother said that Bourdin's father was an Algerian immigrant named Kaci. He began his impostures as soon as he left the children's home and as of 2005[update] had assumed at least 39 false identities, three of which have been actual teenage missing persons.
In 1997 Bourdin took the identity of Nicholas Barclay, a lost son of a family in San Antonio, Texas. He invited his would-be-parents to the US embassy in Spain to meet him. Even though Bourdin had brown eyes and a French accent, he convinced the family that he was their blue-eyed son who had disappeared three years previously. He said that he had escaped from a child prostitution ring.
Bourdin lived with the family for three months before a local private investigator exposed him and his real identity was confirmed by a DNA test. He was imprisoned for 6 years.
When Bourdin returned from the USA in 2003, he moved to Grenoble, assumed the name Leo Balley and claimed that he was a teenager who had been missing since 1996. DNA test proved otherwise.
In August 2004 he was in Spain, claiming to be adolescent Ruben Sanchez Espinoza and said that his mother had been killed in the Madrid bomb attacks. When the police found out the truth, they deported him to France.
In June 2005 Bourdin passed himself off as Francisco Hernandes-Fernandez, a 15-year-old Spanish orphan and spent a month in the College Jean Monnet in Pau, France. He claimed that his parents had been killed in a car accident. He dressed as a teenager, adopted a proper walking style, covered his bald patch with a baseball cap and used depilatory face creams. On June 12 a teacher unmasked him after he saw a TV program about his exploits. On September 16 he was sentenced to four months in prison for possessing and using the previous false identity of Leo Balley.
According to his 2005 interviews, Bourdin has been looking for "love and affection" and attention he never received as a child. He has pretended to be an orphan several times. He has also appeared in French and American TV shows but has continued his impostures.
In 2007, Bourdin married a French woman named Isabelle after a yearlong courtship. Isabelle recently gave birth to Bourdin's daughter, Athena. The three currently reside in an apartment outside of Pau in France.
Bourdin was interviewed in 2008 by David Grann, a columnist for The New Yorker. After Isabelle gave birth, Bourdin contacted Grann and told him it was a girl. Grann then asked if Bourdin had become a new person now that he was a father and a husband, to which Bourdin replied, "No, this is who I am."
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Who Is He?
Posted by M. Christian