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Lindbergh Case

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Amidst the cold, windy night on March 1, 1932 in Hopewell, New Jersey, the world was traumatized by the news that the infant son of America's beloved heroic aviator, Charles Lindbergh, had been abducted. Newspaper writer H.L. Mencken was quoted saying the crime and ensuing trial was, "the greatest story since the Resurrection" (Baltimore Sun Archives). The case reached a national level due to Lindbergh's recent successes in air travel and discovery. As a child, Charles Lindbergh showed excellent mechanical ability. He eventually enrolled at the University of Wisconsin to study engineering (Berg, Lindbergh, pg. 18). However, he did not find the excitement and thrill of aviation that he was seeking, so after two years, he left college to become a barnstormer, which was a person who performed daredevil stunts on planes. Still, he wanted to be a pilot, so he enlisted in the United States Army in 1924. After one year, he graduated from the Army's flight-training school as the top pilot in his class. He was hired to fly mail between St. Louis and Chicago. He began building a reputation as a highly qualified and capable pilot, and he then found a way to prove himself. In 1919, a New York City hotel owner by the name of Raymond Orteig created a contest to see who could fly nonstop from New York to Paris, with the winner receiving a $25,000 prize. Many were killed and injured attempting the mission. Eight years after the beginning of the contest, Lindbergh decided that it was time for his attempt. Nine St. Louis Businessmen financed the cost of his plane, called the "Spirit of St. Louis"A, and he departed New York on May 20, 1927 (Berg, Lindbergh, pg. 31). Three thousand six hundred miles and thirty three and a half hours later, he landed in Paris. He landed to thousands of cheering people. In the ensuing months, he received numerous parades, parties, and awards, which included the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Calvin Coolidge. Lindbergh was quoted, saying, "I owned the world that hour as I rode over it. Free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them," ( He was the most famous man in the world, and he himself was on top of the world. But in the blink of an eye, his whole life was flipped upside down.

Charles Lindbergh Jr. was kidnapped from the second floor nursery of Lindbergh home in Hopewell, New Jersey around 9:00 p.m. ( The child's absence was discovered around 10:00 p.m. by the Lindbergh's house nurse, Betty Gow. Naturally, the premise was searched thoroughly. Charles Jr. was nowhere to be found, but a ransom noteB demanding $50,000 was found on the window sill of the nursery (Fisher, The Lindbergh Case, pg. 37). The local Hopewell police was notified immediately, but the New Jersey State Police took over due to the gravity of the crime and the high profile of those involved. The Lindbergh home was then processed for evidence. Traces of mud were found on the floor of the nursery where Charles had been taken from (Fisher, The Lindbergh Case, pg. 58). Below the nursery window, footprints were found in the mud, however, they were impossible to identify or measure. A ladderC was present leading up to the second story window of the nursery. The ladder was made of two sections, and was partially broken in the middle (Fisher, The Lindbergh Case, pg. 64). Also, some of the ladder's steps were obviously made from separate wood then the original ladder. Unfortunately, there was a lack of both blood evidence and fingerprints (Fisher, The Lindbergh Case, pg. 69). All the estate and household employees of the Lindbergh home were questioned immediately. Also, in the immediate attempts to reach the kidnappers, Charles Lindbergh asked his friends to make widespread endeavors to communicate with the criminals. Also, Lindbergh contacted numerous "underground figures" of the mob and mafia in attempts to identify and contact the kidnappers (Fisher, The Lindbergh Case, pg. 87).

On March 6, 1932, a second ransom note was received by Charles Lindbergh. The note informed the Lindbergh's that the ransom had been increased to $70,000 ( Following the receiving of the second note, a police conference was called in Trenton, New Jersey by the governor of New Jersey. Police authorities, prosecuting officials, and government officials were in attendance in which different theories and strategies for finding the culprit were discovered. Lindbergh himself, along with his attorney, Henry Breckenridge, hired numerous private investigators. A third ransom note was discovered by Lindbergh's attorney on March 8, which stated that a middle man or mediator appointed by Lindbergh would not be accepeted, and that a public note in the newspaper must be made in order to find someone to be an intermediary ( That same day, a man by the name of Dr. John CondonD of Bronx, New York, published in the "Bronx Home News", an offer to act as the negotiator. The subsequent day, the fourth ransom note was received by Dr. Condon stating that he would be an acceptable and appropriate middle man. Lindbergh approved this, and in the ensuing few days, Dr. Condon was given the $70,000 of ransom money and he began forming the negotiation plans through newspaper columns, using the alias "Jafsie". On March 12, Dr. Condon received the fifth ransom note, which was delivered by a taxicab driver named Joseph Perrone. Mr. Perrone claimed to have received it from an unidentified stranger. The note was simple, and merely stated that the sixth note could be found underneath a stone 100 feet from a nearby subway station. Condon retrieved the sixth ransom note, which gave him instructions about where to meet a man named "John". Condon, following instructions, met with "John" at Woodlawn Cemetery ( The two men discussed payment of the ransom, and "John" agreed to present Condon with a token of the identity of the child. In the following days after the confrontation, Condon continued to make numerous attempts through the newspaper to revisit with "John" to present him with the ransom money.

On March 16, a baby's sleeping suit and a seventh ransom note were received by Dr. Condon. Lindbergh identified the suit to be his son's, and was believed to be a token of the child's identity. An eighth note was given to Condon on March 21, revealing barely any more information, and basically demanding absolute obedience and stating that the kidnapping had been planned for over a



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