WARNING: THIS ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN CONTENT NOT SUITABLE FOR SOME READERS. PLEASE PROCEED AT YOUR OWN CAUTION.
The impersonation of Nicholas Barclay
Who was Nicholas Barclay?
Nicholas Barclay was a 13-year-old boy from Texas (U.S.A). He was an avid basketball player, in fact, this is how it all started. On June 13th 1994, Nicholas was playing basketball with his friends. He called home to arrange to be picked up, but nobody answered. When somebody did, his older brother said he refuses to wake up his mother. This is what leads the family to believe he was going to find his own way home, presumably walking.
Nicholas did not have a stable home life. There are police reports of him hitting and cursing at this mother. The cause of this rage was never found out. His mother made many attempts to get his son to behave, one of them was getting her other son to move in with her, potentially to dim down his behaviour, this didn't work. He had a juvenile criminal record for robbery, breaking and entering.
Despite the assumptions he was walking home, he never came back. He was originally believed to of left upon his own choice, as he had done so in the past, this was far from this truth this time around. In the past, Nicholas had walked out of his home by himself, but he never left for more than 24 hours at one time, this is what authorities believed originally happened, until he was gone, for much longer.
Until 1997, nothing had been heard about Nicholas at all. In October 1997, law enforcement received the call which would change everything. It was a call from a Spanish Hostel, they claimed that Nicholas had fled to them after escaping from a criminal ring. After receiving this news, Nicholas's Sister flew out to go and identify and bring back her brother. Once he was home, his mother was overjoyed, but others had suspicions.
People including Nicholas's Uncle had suspicions to do with the boys' integrity. He came back with a french accent, different hair colour and different eye colour. He said his eyes and hair had been chemically altered, and he picked up the accent from excessive time in Europe. Suspicions also arose when he denied giving voluntary blood samples and fingerprints. This made the FBI go and get a court order to do these.
Once the key identifying factors were taken, it was revealed that this was not Nicholas Barclay.
Who Was It?
It was, in fact, a French Man by the name Frederic Pierre Bourdin. He was 23 years of age and had a previous criminal history. During his investigation, he made no clear connection to Barclay. He refused to name his captors, his status or his location. This all leads to 6 years imprisonment which is 3x the recommended amount in the law. This was due to the clear distress he caused to the family.
Nicholas (Left), Bourdin (Right)
Want to learn more about Nicholas? Check out the movie "The Imposter"! You can see the trailer here.
Nicholas has not been found, but his search still remains helpful.