Frédéric Bourdin, The Impostor of Missing Nicholas Barclay

Frédéric Bourdin, the Impostor of Missing Nicholas Barclay

  • Serial impostor Frédéric Bourdin persuaded an American family that he was their missing son
  • Claims the family is aware what happened to their son and they played along because it was convenient

Frederic Bourdin is a serial impostor. He began his impersonations as a child and has had taken at least 500 false identities. Born in Nantes, to a French mother and Algerian immigrant Kac. From as long as he can remember, he always wanted to be someone else, someone who was acceptable. Therefore, he had to learn from a very young age how to be convincing.

Impersonation of Nicholas Barclay

Bourdin, being an excellent scam artist, has assumed several false identities in the past, but taking the identity of a missing American child Nicholas Barclay, was his “masterpiece.” Barclay was thirteen when he was playing basketball with his friends in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Barclay never made it home, and his whereabouts are unknown til this day.

Nicholas Barclay
Nicholas Barclay

Three years later, Bourdin took the identity of missing Barclay. Living on the streets of Linares, Spain, when he was able to convince the authorities and the family, he was in fact their blue-eyed son, telling he had escaped from a child prostitution ring. The only thing in common with Barclay was his gap between his teeth.

Frédéric Bourdin and gap between his teeth
The gap

The missing Barclay had blond hair and blue eyes. On the flyers, it said that Barclay had three tattoos. Bourdin dyed his hair blond, and a girl inside the shelter, where he stayed at the time, created similar tattoos on his body. The family flew him to the United States and greeted him as their long-missing son, and was able to live with the family for almost five months before the local private investigator grew suspicious while he was working with a TV crew that had been filming the family. They compared a photo of Bourdin’s ears to Nicholas’ and discovered they clearly did not match.

Frederic Bourdin as Nicholas Barclay in U.S
This is how Frédéric Bourdin looked like when he was picked up from Spain. Spot the difference?

In September 1998, Bourdin pleaded guilty to passport fraud and perjury in a San Antonio federal court and was imprisoned for six years. The FBI obtained a court order to take the man’s fingerprints and DNA, which were later identified belonging to Bourdin.

But the most interesting, and frightening part of the story is still yet to come.

Allegations of Barclay's family to know what happened to their missing child

Bourdin claims the family knows the whereabouts of missing Nicholas Barclay. That Beverly Dollarhide (the mother) and Jason Dollarhide (father) knew at one time what happened to Nicholas Barclay. Based on these allegations, a homicide investigation was opened. The family members being… participating in the disappearance of the child was the allegation. According to his words, the only reason he was able to fool all the people was because it was convenient for the family and they simply played along.

When the mother of Nicholas Barclay was asked to do a polygraph test, the polygrapher said the machine practically jumped off the table and that she clearly lied when saying she doesn’t know what happened to his son. The family was never charged.

The mother, Beverly Dollarhide, maintains her innocents and tells Frédéric Bourdin is a habitual liar.

Watch The Imposter Documentary

There is a fascinating documentary called The Imposter, about Bourdin's impersonation of Nicholas Barclay, with a solid rating of 7.5 in IMDB.

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