Case of missing San Antonio boy from 1994 remains a mystery

South Texas Crime Stories: What happened to Nicholas Barclay?

SAN ANTONIO – This week in South Texas Crime Stories, we feature a bizarre case that remains unsolved 25 years later.  

Nicholas Barclay was 13 during the summer of 1994. He'd had a troubled life that led to having a juvenile criminal record. He'd broken into a convenience store, stolen a pair of shoes and threatened a teacher.

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He was scheduled for a June 14 hearing on his run-ins with the law, but would never make it. On June 13, 1994, Barclay played basketball with his friends and then called his mother to pick him up. His brother said their mom was asleep after working a night shift and he should just walk home.

Barclay was never seen or heard from again.

Three months after his disappearance Barclay's brother called police, saying he saw Barclay trying to break into the family garage but that he ran away when he was spotted. 

Police searched all over for Barclay, but there was no trace of him.

Police came to believe that his brother never really saw him.

The case would go cold.


In October 1997, police received a call from a man in Spain saying that Barclay was there at a shelter in Linares.

The caller went on to say that Barclay had escaped from a child sex ring operation.

Barclay's sister flew to Spain, saw the teen and identified him as Nicholas Barclay.

He was brought back to San Antonio.

The next several months Barclay was closed off and didn't know things he should have known.

He also had brown eyes, which caught some by surprise because Barclay originally had blue eyes.  

A private investigator suggested to police that the boy's fingerprints and blood should be checked to make sure it was Barclay.

Results would show that the boy was actually 23-year-old Frederic Pierre Bourdin from France.

Bourdin was a known con artist. He was sentenced to six years in prison for passport fraud and perjury.

What happened to Nicholas Barclay?

For a while police had considered his mother and brother as possible suspects in Barclay's disappearance. 

It was reported that his mom passed two polygraph tests and failed a third. 

As for his brother, he died of an overdose in 1998 and the investigation stalled. 

Nicholas Barclay would be 38 today. His disappearance remains unsolved. 

**Steve Spriester covered this story in 1997 when Frederic Pierre Bourdin posed as Nicholas Barclay. Below is a video of Spriester talking about the case he calls the most bizarre he's ever covered. 

About the Author

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

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