The Private Eye That Exposed 'The Imposter'

Aug 17, 2012

In the summer of 1994, 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay was reported missing from his home on the near northeast side of San Antonio. You can imagine the shock his mother Beverly and half-sister Carey felt when they learned that he had been found three years later—in Spain. However, the young man who came back to Texas and lived with the family for nearly five months was not Nicholas, but serial child imposter Frédéric Bourdin.


The incredible story is depicted in the new documentary, "The Imposter," opening across the state this weekend. Charlie Parker is one of the subjects of the film. The licensed Private Investigator from San Antonio talks about how he helped crack the case.


"Ron [a local television producer for 'Hard Copy'] began to interview [Bourdin], and I was seated at a table where I could look at the family to my left, and I could look at an actual picture of the real Nicholas Barclay and then look back at [Bourdin]. So I went over to Ron, and I could see in the picture that the real Nicholas Barclay had blue eyes - blue-grey color - and his were obviously brown. So I went over to Ron in the middle of the interview, which I had never done before, and I said, 'zoom in on his ears.' My reason for that is that I read where Scotland Yard had used the ear identification means to help catch James Earl Ray, the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassin. So I knew that the ear is the only part in the body that doesn't age... if we could get a picture of the ear and compare the ears then I would know right away that he was an imposter."

"We were uncovering all sorts of things about him and then finally Beverly [Nicholas's mother] took him by his old school; that's the John Wood Middle School. She called me at 12 o'clock at night and said 'it's not him, he didn't recognize the school he went by and he's going crazy right now when I confronted him.'"