How French-Algerian Man Passed For Missing Texas Teen

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Frédéric Bourdin. (Photo: Abel Ondas)
Frédéric Bourdin. (Photo: Abel Ondas)

How did Frédéric Bourdin, a brown-haired, brown-eyed man with a distinct accent, manage to pass for the blond, blue-eyed Nicholas Barclay, who had been abducted in San Antonio in the 90s at the age of 13?

Bourdin not only pulled a fast one on Spanish and U.S. government officials, but he managed to convince the boy's family that he was Barclay.

As the BBC reported,"He lived with [the family] for three months before his deception was exposed by a journalist and confirmed by a DNA test. He was jailed for six years."

'He Never Had A Childhood'

The story was depicted in the documentary, "The Imposter," directed by Bart Layton. Layton told Here & Now's Robin Young why Bourdin did what he did.

"He never had a childhood. [He was] rejected as a child," Layton said. "His childhood was stolen from him and in some ways he felt justified in trying to steal one back."

"He felt on some level that this was a family without a kid and he was a kid without a family." 

Bart Layton, director of 'The Imposter'

Layton adds, "He felt on some level that this was a family without a kid and he was a kid without a family."

Audiences Divided On Bourdin

Layton says those who watch the film are divided on their feelings about Bourdin.

"He is charming, he is captivating, he is very compelling, he has the ability to induce sympathy," Layton said. "You hear couples and the wife is saying 'I wanted to give him a hug and look after him,' and the husband is saying, 'Are you out of your mind? The guy's a psychopath.'"


This segment aired on August 16, 2012.


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