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Who is Doitchen Krasev?

In Crime, Strange, World on January 26, 2011 at 5:21 am

In the Spring of 2009, an inspector for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission named Jason Evers was arrested when it turned out that he had stolen the identity of a three-year-old boy who had been murdered in Ohio several years before.

For several weeks, the msn refused to give authorities any clues as to his real identity. When he did, it turned out to be quite a story.

On Thursday, he will be in Federal Court in Portland to be sentenced for identity fraud. The family of the real Jason Evers will be in attendance.

Here is a story I wrote about Evers for KGW.Com

***

In the Spring of 2009, an inspector for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission named Jason Evers was arrested. It turned out he was not Jason Evers who had been a three-year-old who had been murdered in Ohio several years before. After being arrested, the man refused for weeksnto give the authorities any clue as to his real identity. When he did,it was quite a story. Here’s the story I did fir KGW about the mystery.

Krasev will be sentenced in Federal Court in Portland on Thursday. The family of the real Jason Evers will be among those in attendance.

Jason Evers. Dutch Kiser. Danny Kaiser. Doitchin Krasev.

While it turns out that the former Bend-based investigator for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has been known by several names over the years, his real identity is Doitchin Krastev, an immigrant from Sofia, Bulgaria.

His grandfather, for whom he is named, was a leading Bulgarian general who was a hero in the partisan fight against

Adolph Hitler.

His father, Dr. Dincho Krastev, is a noted mathematician and the director of the Central Library of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. His mother, Baychinska, is one of the leading Jungian scholars in Eastern Europe.

“Doitchin is so smart, he had so much potential to become a leader in his country,” according to Michael Horowitz, a former Reagan Administration official who helped Doitchin come to the United States and acted as a surrogate father to him here. “It is such a sad tale.”

Horowitz is now the director of Hudson Institute’s Project for Civil Justice Reform and Project for International Religious Liberty in Washington D.C.

Horowitz said he was in Moscow in the early 1990s as part of a trip through Eastern Europe to look for marketing opportunities in the aftermath of the fall of Communism when he met the press secretary to Czech President Vaclav Havel.

“She told me to go to Sofia and meet a friend of hers from college,” Horowitz remembers. “That’s how I met Dincho, his wife and their son, Doitchin.”

At the time, according to Horowitz, many of Eastern Europe’s top scientists were in an unusual position. They had a certain amount of freedom from politics but often made little money and, thus, were limited in how much they could provide for their children.

“Doitchin’s parents, their friends, their families, these were people we were privileged to meet,” said Horowitz. “We wanted to do what we could to help them.”

Of course, at the time, he had no idea where the story would lead. How Doitchin would change names – change identities over the years – eventually reaching the point where he is now, a former OLCC investigator facing federal charges for allegedly stealing the identity of a three-year-old boy in Ohio who was murdered 28 years ago.

How Doitchin would only be caught when he tried applying for a passport under the assumed identity.

A U.S. EDUCATION

The more that Horowitz and his wife got to know Krastev’s parents, the closer they became.

That’s when they came up with the idea of offering up their home to Doitchin so he could live in the United States and get an education here. Everyone thought it was a great idea.

Horowitz says it didn’t take long for Doitchin to adjust though there were obstacles.

“He had been at Georgetown Day (a prestigious prep school) for about a month and he came home one day and was just amazed,” Horowitz recalled. “Not only did nobody cheat, they turned people in for cheating, he said. It was so different from Bulgaria.”

“In my country, everyone cheats,” Horowitz remembered the young man saying, “Here people are so lucky because even when they lose, they win because they live in a country of rules.”

“More and more,” Horowitz said, “he was identifying with being an American and less with his native country.”

One day, Horowitz noticed that Krastev had dropped the ‘t’ from his last name, making it sound, the young man thought, less Bulgarian.

“I asked him about that,” he said. “We would talk about the missing ‘t’ and I would say to him, Doitchin, we are so happy to have you here, you have added so much to our lives. But what do you want from life? You could find a place in nice American city and have a life with a white picket fence or you could home and with your skills be a leader in industry, a leader in your country.”

Krastev rejected the idea of returning.

Horowitz said he told him “I’m not Bulgarian.’ Apparently, the thought of being here was what really appealed to him. He rejected being a Bulgarian with such an intensity.”

DROPPING OUT

After Krastev dropped out of college and disappeared, Horowitz and his wife hired a private investigator to try and find him.

“We didn’t know if he was alive, if he had died, it was so horrible, the not-knowing,” said Horowitz who now realizes that, in trying to find Krastev, they were probably driving him farther away.

“It really is a horrible irony,” he said. “We really think that he knew we were trying to find him and he didn’t want to be found. And that’s what drove him to take new identities. The fact is he also had to have known that he was here as an illegal alien and that he ran the risk of being deported.”

That, Horowitz said, may actually be the greatest irony, the greatest sadness from his point of view.

“He wanted to be an American. He knew that he had to live a careful life, a good life because if he didn’t, there was the possibility, the likelihood that he would have to leave. And, from all indications, he did live a good life. I spoke with his lawyer who told me about all the people he had touched, all the people who were offering testimony on his behalf. He built a real life for himself.”

“The problem, the irony,” Horowitz said, “is that by leading such a good life, he has put himself in a real dilemma. He faces charges of aggravated identity theft, which is an anti terrorism law that gives prosecutors very little leeway when it comes to granting leniency. And by leading such a good life, he’s got absolutely nothing to offer prosecutors and faces the very real likelihood that he will have to go to prison and then be thrown out of the country.”

“A TERRIBLE SADNESS”

Horowitz said that’s what makes the situation so hard for him, his wife and Krastev’s parents.

“On one hand, we are so very glad he is alive. We are so glad that he was able to build such a good life. On the other hand, there is such a terrible sadness as to how it is going to end up.”

Horowitz also makes it very clear that he understands that in assuming the identities of others, Krastev committed crimes. And while he understand that the family of Jason Evers, the murdered boy from Ohio whose identity Krastev assumed, feels violated, he thinks there is another way to look at it.

“I know this might be hard but I think that, if for a second, they could look at it not as Doitchin stole their son’s identity but that the boy’s tragic death allowed Doitchin to live life as American, maybe they won’t feel quite so violated.”

Horowitz knows that might be a long shot.

“Right now we’re still trying to figure it all out and figure out what the next steps are going to be and when we can see him. There are so many emotions at play.”

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