Nicholas Alahverdian took his final breaths in a hospital room on February 29, 2020. He was surrounded by his family, close and extended. The Washington Post reports that music from famed composer Alan Silvestri played in the background as the man uttered his final words, "Fear not and run toward the bliss of the sun."
His obituary read that he died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
There was talk about local events to memorialize the man. He wanted to be known as a warrior for children, something local leaders tried to support. But word began to spread that all might not have been what it seemed in the case of Nicholas Alahverdian's death.
One of the tip-offs that something wasn't right came from local reporters in Rhode Island. They told authorities that Alahverdian had pitched a story about his upcoming demise. He argued that his illness and ultimate death made the story newsworthy because he advocated for children.
None of the reporters took the bait. This angered Alahverdian. At the time, no one knew precisely why it upset him so much.
The answer came soon after. Nicholas Alahverdian was not dead, and he was not whom he said he was. His real name is Nicholas Rossi, and he is wanted in multiple states on charges ranging from fraud to sexual assault.
And he might have gotten away with it if not for Covid-19.
Rossi faked his death and moved to Scotland. However, he contracted the novel Coronavirus and ended up near death. While he fought for his life on a ventilator that U.S. authorities tracked him down.
New name and more trouble
After feeling ill for a while and having trouble breathing, Rossi checked into a hospital in Glasgow. This time he did it under the name Arthur Knight; he wanted to keep his real identity as hidden as possible.
But Interpol reached out to the hospital and told them that they believed their patient was a fugitive from the United States. The staff was shocked but worked with law enforcement to determine if this was the man they were looking for. It was.
In the months after his "death," the FBI and other law enforcement agencies began sharing information with one another.
According to The New York Post, before his diagnosis with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Rossi was under investigation for stealing more than $200,000 from his former foster mother in Ohio. He was also accused of stealing $60,000 from Kathryn Heckendorn, his ex-wife.
His diagnosis and subsequent death came after being interviewed by the FBI concerning those cases.
After his disappearance, the FBI worked with other agencies to see if they could find him. What they uncovered was that in 2008, Rossi was convicted of two sexual assaults in Ohio, and the DNA used in that case was uploaded to a national database in 2017.
Just before his "death," the DNA was found to match a recent case in Utah. Authorities later revealed that they believed he was responsible for multiple sexual assault cases throughout the United States.
It was also because of the DNA that authorities were able to locate Rossi in Glasgow. A match was made, and the FBI contacted Interpol for assistance. Once the agencies started working together, they confirmed that the man calling himself Arthur Knight was indeed Rossi.
And they kept a close eye on him.
His ex-wife told reporters that she was not surprised that he did this, "I said this has to be Nick; he probably hired someone to get in touch with me to scope out the situation, because that's the very special kind of deception he would do. I said this has to be Nick; he probably hired someone to get in touch with me to scope out the situation, because that's the very special kind of deception he would do."
There is no word at press time as to what could happen to those who helped perpetrate the scene in the hospital room. It is believed that the woman who presented herself as Rossi's wife was not married to him.
At press time, Nicholas Rossi is in the process of being extradited to Utah. He faces multiple charges once he is back in the U.S., including the sexual assault (Utah) and fraud charges (Ohio). There could also be federal indictments for him.