A man impersonates a missing child and fools his family into thinking he's still alive. It sounds bad, but it somehow gets worse.
"Nicholas Barclay, aged 13 at the time he went missing, was last seen playing basketball with his friends in his home town of San Antonio, Texas, on 13 June 1994. Barclay never made it home and has not been seen or heard from since. In 1997, Bourdin took Barclay's identity and was flown to the United States. Although Bourdin had brown eyes and a French accent, he convinced the family he was their blue-eyed son, saying he had escaped from a child prostitution ring and the ring had altered his eye color. Bourdin lived with the family for almost five months until 6 March 1998.
In late 1997, a local private investigator grew suspicious while he was working with a TV crew that had been filming the family. The investigator compared a photo of Bourdin's ears to Nicholas's ears and discovered that they did not match. In February 1998, the FBI obtained a court order to take the young man's fingerprints and DNA, which were later identified as belonging to Bourdin. In September 1998, Bourdin pleaded guilty to passport fraud and perjury in a San Antonio federal court. He was imprisoned for six years, more than twice as long as recommended by the sentencing guidelines.
When Bourdin was returned to France from the U.S. in 2003, he moved to Grenoble and assumed the identity of Léo Balley, a 14-year-old French boy who had been missing since 1996; DNA testing proved he was not Balley.
In August 2004, he was in Spain, claiming to be an adolescent named Rubén Sánchez Espinoza whose 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 Collège Jean Monnet (a junior high school) 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 receding hairline with a baseball cap and used depilatory face creams. On 12 June, an administrator from his school unmasked him after seeing a television program about his exploits. On 16 September, he was sentenced to four months in prison for possessing and using the previous false identity of Léo Balley.
According to 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."
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