Initially it all seems simple: A boy becomes a missing child. A young man pretends to be that child several years later in an effort to gain love and acceptance. Law enforcement officials reveal the truth. But as we see in the documentary "The Imposter," a crime is never so easy to unravel.
Nicholas Barclay went missing in June 1994 from San Antonio, Texas. Three years later, twenty-three year old Frederic Bourdin convinced officials and Barclay's family he was the missing sixteen year old boy. This was despite his natural brown hair and eye color when Nicholas had naturally blonde hair and blue eyes; Bourdin spoke French and, it was determined later, had never spoken English. His mannerisms did not match the boy's and he did not know family members and friends. His story of human trafficking, kidnap, rape, and chemical changes to turn his eye and hair color convinced everyone involved - except for a private investigator who ultimately revealed this missing boy was not Nicholas, but a clever con artist who had operated in multiple countries.
Now, years later, the investigator who discovered the truth, Charlie Parker, is convinced Nicholas' family knows more than what they are telling regarding his disappearance. That investigator is searching for the boy's body. The family insists they were innocently duped. Bourdin, a professional liar, claims Nicholas' mother confessed that family members killed Nicholas. And everyone is wondering, how could one young man fool so many people close to the case?
Nicholas Barclay was not an innocent, sweet boy. At 13 he had several tattoos. He had a history of violence, lashing out at family, teachers, and children. The Barclay family has a history of drug use and abuse. Frederic Bourdin was wanted by Interpol and had stolen the identities of several children to compensate for his own sad childhood. Director Bart Layton and producer Dimitri Doganis' film "The Imposter" show, through interviews, re-enactments, and storytelling how Bourdin fooled the family and officials, why the family may have accepted such glaring differences between this man and their missing child, and raises questions: if Bourdin is not Barclay, who is he? And where is the missing boy?
Crime is never simple. There are as many sides to the story as there are people involved. Nicholas Barclay became one of over 190 children on the Texas Missing Children list. For every missing child there are hundreds of stories. "The Imposter" attempts to tell Nicholas' story in an effort to discover what exactly happened on that June night in 1994 when his name was added to this list.
"The Imposter" is available at Red Box locations, and can be purchased or viewed HERE.
More on the missing Nicholas Barclay. Can you assist? HERE
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Credit: photo of Judith Yates
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