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Wed, 6 Nov 2013
The kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son
The kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son was one of the most well-publicized and controversial cases of the 20th century. Charles Lindbergh, the aviator who crossed the Atlantic on a solo flight was an American hero who had his first child Charles (Charlie) Augustus Lindbergh Jr. with heiress Anne Morrow.
The kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's Son
The famous couple with a famous son was in their new home in a secluded area in Sourland Mountains, New Jersey. The kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son, Charlie happened on March 1, 1932 inside his nursery at the second floor of the 20-room house. He was put in his crib by the family nurse Betty Gow at around 8:00 P.M. At around 10 P.M., the nurse discovered that Little Charlie was not in his crib. With the baby missing and a ransom note in the nursery's window sill, the police were called in.
The kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son caused a media frenzy that in just 30-60 minutes, the house was swamped with reporters and police that rendered fingerprinting and foot printing useless. The ladder found in a bush contained impartial fingerprints and was deemed to have been used in the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son. According to the later examination of the ransom note, the misspelling and the misplaced dollar sign suggested that a recent immigrant was involved. Also of worth noticing was the red-and-blue-circle marking found in the note.
Word of the Kidnapping Spread Quickly
Word of the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son spread quickly. Lindbergh himself was convinced that the mafia is behind this. He chose two illegal alcohol traders who were also working with the New York Daily News in a bid to know the latest in the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son. As a result, ransom notes sent by the kidnappers were leaked to the media.
Several popular figures jumped in on the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son including even the great Al Capone. But it was with a retired from the Bronx named John (Jafsie) Condon the Lindbergh worked with. According to Jafsie, he sent a letter to the Bronx Home News offering to act as middleman between Lindbergh and the kidnappers. Jafsie received a letter reportedly from the kidnappers authorizing him as the middleman with Lindbergh. Fearing his son's life, Lindbergh allowed Jafsie to be his middleman.
Bruno Richard Hauptmann Was Found Guilty
Ransom was delivered by Jafsie on April 2, 1932 made up of money with the serial numbers recorded and gold certificates at St. Raymond's Cemetery. Lindbergh himself waited in a car nearby. The man Jafsie was in contact with gave him a note revealing the baby's whereabouts. The baby was at a boat called Nelly at Martha's Vineyard. A thorough search of the place revealed no such boat and baby. The investigation of the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son became more difficult with Lindbergh's insistence on leaving out the police.
On May 12, 1932, the decomposing body of Charles Jr. was found by a truck driver a few miles from the Lindbergh home. For the next two years, development in the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son would involve monitoring of the serial numbers of the ransom money and providing the list to establishments and banks. A significant lead for the case of the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son came in after a gasoline attendant received a $10 gold certificate for a 98-cent gas. Suspecting a counterfeit, the attendant took note of the car's license plate and reported it to the police. The police tracked the license plate to Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German immigrant.
The police found that Hauptmann was also involved in breaking into the second-story of a home using a ladder - a clear modus similar to the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son. Hauptmann was arrested on September 19, 1934 for the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son. Pieces of evidence also surfaced, the ladder found in a bush in the crime scene was made of the same wood found in Hauptmann's attic floorboards. Money worth $14,000 used as ransom for the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son was also found in his garage (all serial number matched the list). Hauptmann denied the crime but was found guilty and was sentenced to death by electric chair on April 3, 1936.