Catch Her If You Can

esther reed

This story simply blows me away:

In 1999, a young woman named Esther Reed drops out of high school. She has a reputation as a ’bad apple,’ including an arrest for stealing her sister’s checkbook. Esther disappears that same year, but apparently her family doesn’t care enough to mount a search. Instead, they write her off as dead.

Fast forward to 2005. We come to find out that somehow Esther creates an elaborate identity theft scheme, where she impersonates several missing people using their identities in place of her own. Somehow she gets accepted at both Harvard and Columbia ’“ perhaps legitimately ’“ she dates multiple WestPoint grads, and convinces people she makes money as an international chess champion. At Columbia, she went by the name of Brooke Henson. Here is IvyGate’s coverage of the story.

Last year after being exposed as a possible fraud, Esther agrees to take a DNA test in order to prove she really is who she claims to be. A day before the test, she abruptly vanishes and removes everything that could possibly provide a trace of DNA. No one has seen her since, though a man claims to have possibly seen her at a restaurant in Arizona yesterday.

This reminds me of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, Catch Me If You Can. My first thought was to see if she was on Facebook, but alas, she was not. However, the real Brooke Henson who has been missing since 1999 does have a profile on Myspace, perhaps created by family members.

It will be interesting to see how quickly she is caught. With the rise of blogging, video and photo sharing I would think it would be increasingly easy to track fugitives down. The countdown is on.


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