In 1994, 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay went missing in Texas after playing basketball with some mates. Three years later, his family got a call saying he’d been found - but all wasn’t as it seemed.
The bizarre case is the subject of The Imposter, a BAFTA-winning documentary originally released 10 years ago, but new to Netflix’s true crime catalogue, and one which fans have been hailing as one of the most jaw-dropping documentaries of the last decade. Watch the trailer below:
The Imposter details the case of Barclay, who went missing suddenly in San Antonio, Texas. Authorities presumed he had been murdered, but his body was never recovered and the search for the teen was eventually called off.
However, in 1997, his grieving family got a phone call they weren’t expecting.
The Barclays were told that their son had been found alone and scared in Spain and could finally be reunited with them. Of course, it seemed as though the family’s ordeal was over, but that was far from the case.
Despite the family welcoming him back with open arms, other people could see something wasn’t quite right.
For starters, Nicholas was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed kid who had grown up in Texas. The Nicholas that came home a few years later looked completely different - with brown eyes, dyed hair and a French accent.
Many questions spring to mind: How did the family not know? Or did they just want it to be their son so badly they believed it anyway?
The deception ended up being the work of 23-year-old serial con artist Frédéric Bourdin who was posing as Nicholas, but the strange case doesn’t end there.
Told through personal accounts of the Barclay family woven in with interviews with Bourdin himself, the ‘gripping’ doc takes viewers along the bizarre twists and turns of the case in what some have described as ‘crime thriller’ fashion.
An official synopsis for the doc reads: “Unforgettable, chilling and emotional, The Imposter tells the gripping true story of a Texan boy who went missing in 1994 and was miraculously found three and a half years later thousands of miles away in southern Spain.
“Despite glaring inconsistencies in his physical appearance, the boy's family brought their long-lost 'son' home to restart his life in Texas.
"Questions soon arise: how could the Barclay's blonde, blue-eyed son have returned with darker skin and eyes? How could his personality and even accent have changed so dramatically? Truth soon proves stranger than fiction as the real story emerges.”
Since spotting the documentary on Netflix, many have already binged their way through, with one person writing: “If you’ve never seen true crime doc The Imposter, bump it to the front of your Netflix queue immediately.”
Meanwhile, another described the doc as ‘wild’, while a third branded it ‘crazy’.
The Imposter is streaming on Netflix now.Featured Image Credit: Film4