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The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping
Transcript of The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping
On March 1, 1932 at about 9:00 p.m. Charles Lindbergh, Jr. was kidnapped from the second story nursery of the Lindbergh's house in Hopewell, New Jersey. This was discovered around 10:00 p.m. by the child's nurse, Betty Gow.
Dr. John F. Condon
At the time of the kidnapping, Condon was a retired school principle. He was 72 when this crime occurred and found himself in the middle of it all. Some people think he is the most suspicious person in the case, to this day.
Around 8:30p.m., after receiving an anonymous phone call, Dr. Condon received the fifth ransom note from Joseph Perrone, a taxicab driver who stated he got it from an unidentified person. The note stated that another message would be found under a stone at a vacant stand, 100 feet from an outlying subway station. This sixth note, found by Dr. Condon, gave the following instructions that Condon met an unidentified man, who calls himself "John", at woodland cemetery. There they discussed payment of the ransom money. "John" also agreed to give a token of the child's identity.
This investigations was given to the state of New Jersey and later taken away and given to the FBI. The FBI instructed many banks in the New Jersey, New York area to watch for ransom money. The I.D. or serial numbers of all money given for ransom were taken down and given out to the banks. Most of the ransom money that was given were in gold certificates. Many people tried to use this situation to con others out of money. Many of the ransom gold certificates were found but their depositors were never located.
Handwriting experts were brought in to examine the ransom notes. They concluded that they were all written by the same person and that the writer was someone from Germany but they had lived in America for some time. Dr. Condon described "John" as Scandinavian and believed he could identify the man if he saw him.
Artists were brought in to make sketches of "John". One described by Dr. Condon and the other described by Joseph Perrone, the taxicab driver.
Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. was born on June 22, 1930. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Lindbergh, famous authors and aviators.
Charles Augustus Lindbergh
Charles Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902. He became a very famous aviator (pilot). Lindbergh was the first person to fly nonstop from New York to Paris, France. Later in life he married Anne Murrow on May 27, 1929.
Anne Spencer Murrow
Anne Murrow was born on June 22, 1906. She became an author and aviator. On May 27, 1929, Anne Spencer Murrow married Charles Lindbergh and became Anne Murrow Lindbergh.
March 1, 1932
Evidence Left at the House
Muddy Footprints impossible to measure
Two sections of the wooden, homemade ladder that was used to reach the second story window. One of the two parts were broken or split which indicated it cracked during descent or ascent.
Most important, a $50,000 ransom note
March 6, 1932
A second ransom note was received by Colonel Lindbergh. The ransom demand was increased from $50,000 to $70,000.
March 8, 1932
The third ransom note was received by Lindbergh's lawyer.The note stated that an intermediary appointed by the Lindberghs would not be permitted and it also requested a note in the newspaper.
On the same night that
the third ransom note was discovered, Condon published an offer in the "Bronx Home News" stating he would act as the middle-man between the kidnappers and the Lindbergh's. In addition, he would contribute $1,000 to the ransom money. The kidnappers saw his offer and replied to him by mail.
"Dear Sir: If you are willing to act as go-between in the Lindbergh cace please follow stricly instructions. Handel inclcoed letter personaly to Mr. Lindbergh. It will explain everything. Don't tell anyone about it. As soon we find out the Press or Police is notifyed everything are cansell and it will be a further delay. Affter you gett the mony from Mr. Lindbergh put these three words in the New York American:
MONEY IS REDY
Affter notise we will give you further instruction.Don't be affrait we are not out fore your 1000$ keep it. Only act strickly. Be at home every night between 6-12 by this time you will hear from us."
(Also, inside the envelope was another envelope and the message stated):
"Dear Sir: Please handel incloced letter to Colonel Lindbergh. It is in Mr. Lindbergh interest not to notify the Police."
The following day the fourth ransom note was received by Dr. Condon stating he would be an acceptable go-between. Mr. Lindbergh also agreed on using Dr. Condon as a go-between. On March 10, 1932 Dr. Condon received the $70,000 ransom money from Mr. Lindbergh and immediately started making negotiations for payment through a newspaper column. Dr. Condon went under the code name "Jafsie" when writing in the paper. His code name stands for his initials, J.F.C.
March 12, 1932
March 16, 1932
The seventh ransom was received by the Lindberghs along with the baby's sleeping suit, the token of identity.
March 21, 1932
The eighth ransom note was received insisting of complete compliance and stating that the kidnapping had been planned for a year.
March 29, 1932
Baby nurse, Betty Gow, found the infants thumb guard near the entrance of the estate. The following day the ninth ransom note was received by Condon, It threatened to increase the ransom amount to $100,000.
April 1, 1932
The tenth ransom note was received, instructing Condon to have the ransom money ready by the following night. The eleventh note was delivered the following day by another unidentified taxi driver. It had directions in it to lead Condon to the Twelfth note.
On the following day, late at night, Condon met "John" again as he was told to in the twelfth ransom note. Condon demanded to have the amount reduced to $50,000. This amount was handed to "John" in exchange for the thirteenth note, containing directions to where the child will be; On a boat named "Nellie" in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The searched began the following day, but all were unsuccessful.
Sadly, on May 12, 1932, the body of the kidnapped baby was discovered about four and a half miles away from the Lindbergh house, slightly buried and very decomposed. Coroner's examination showed the child had been dead for 2 months and the death was caused by a blow to the head.
Arthur Koehler of the Forest Services, United States Department of Agriculture was brought in the examine the ladder left at the Lindbergh house. The ladder was built crudely but by someone familiar with wood. Koehler disassembled the ladder and discovered holes where nails previously had been. This indicated that the wood had been used for something else before made into a ladder. These findings were a big part in a case later to come.
For seven months up
until August 20, 1934 no gold
certificates were discovered. Starting on August 20 a total of 16 were discovered, all in different areas in the Harlem and Yorkville area.
September 18, 1934
Around 1:20 p.m.the New York City Bureau was telephoned that a $10 gold certificate had been discovered at a bank from a gasoline station. Three days earlier, an alert attendant had received the bill as payment for 5 gallons of gasoline from a man whose description closely fitted one who had passed other bills in recent weeks. The attendant, who had been suspicious, took down the license plate number. This number was traced to Bruno Richard Hauptmann.
Hauptmann's house was under surveillance by authorities on September 18, 1934 until 9:00 a.m. the following day. The individual living in the house closely matched the description of "John" from Dr. Condon and the description of the man who bought gasoline. He left his house and entered his car, but was promptly taken into custody. After investigation, the man was found to be Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German carpenter, who has been in the country for 11 years. A gold certificate was found on him and he perfectly matched the descriptions of "John". Later that night Joseph Perrone, the taxi driver, identified him as the man who gave him the fifth ransom note to deliver. The following day, $13,000 worth of gold certificates were found in his garage and his car matched the description of one that was in the area of the Lindbergh home the same day as the kidnapping.
Many handwriting test were done:
Further investigation showed he was 35 and a native of Saxony, Germany. He had a criminal record for robbery and has spent time in jail. Hauptmann had attempted many times to get into America. After two failed attempts he was able to enter America, illegally, by being a stow away on a boat. Hauptmann was married and had a son and up until the kidnapping he was a carpenter, but after the child had been taken he traded stocks and never worked again.
In his house a lot of evidence was found; it was presented in court against him:
tool marks on the ladder matched tools that Hauptmann owned
wood used to make the ladder matched wood in his attic floors
Dr. Condon's telephone and address were found written on a door frame in his closet
The trail of Bruno Hauptmann began on January 3, 1935 in Flemington, New Jersey and lasted about 5 weeks. A lot of evidence was presented, most being circumstantial. On February 13, 1935, a verdict was returned. Hauptmann was found guilty of first degree murder and was sentenced to death. The defense appealed and the State of New Jersey upheld the ruling. On April 3, 1936, at 8:47 p.m., Bruno Richard Hauptmann was electrocuted.