Charles Lindbergh’s baby son kidnapped (1932)


Kidnappers still hold baby son of Col Lindbergh; ask $50,000 ransom; leave note

Flier’s 20-month-old child seized by unseen person entering through window of Hopewell, NJ, estate, after infant is put to bed in nursery — Abductors get long lead before heir’s absence is discovered

Definite clues unobtained — Troops halt and search all cars in New Jersey roadways — Motor in which boy was whisked away, stolen — Underworld dives scrutinized — Alarm sent through many states

Hopewell, NJ, March 2, 1932 — Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr, blue-eyed and fair-haired 20-month-old child of Colonel Lindbergh and Mrs Lindbergh, is held today for $50,000 ransom.

Seized in his crib last night as he lay slumbering and ill of a cold, the baby was taken away by kidnappers; one of them is believed to be a woman.

lindbergh-baby-kidnapping-ransom-noteWith cold daring, the actual kidnapper crept up a short sectional ladder into the second floor nursery some time between 7:30 and 10 pm last night and took the child down the ladder and left behind the ransom demand.

This note, demanding the $50,000 for the child’s freedom was reported to have said in substance:

“We will be back tomorrow (Wednesday) to talk business. Don’t talk to the police or the papers.”

Col Lindbergh, grimly reticent, aided in searching for the kidnappers, and was represented as ready personally to enter direct negotiations for the child’s return.

Meantime, the kidnapping created a world-wide sensation.

Literally thousands of police and state troopers were put on alarm guard, watching highways, and state and national boundary lines. Over the teletype wires of the eastern states and up along the Canadian border flashed word that one of the nation’s most famous babies had been stolen.

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The kidnappers apparently had not realized the furor and resentment their deed would cause. Police everywhere went to work with a will to come up with the kidnappers, while the Federal departments of justice, commerce and treasury in Washington, offered to do all within their power to track down all the criminals.

Aviators from many parts of the country offered their services, and an air comrade was sent aloft this morning to see if from the skies he could see anything along the roadways of value to the search.

The Commerce Department was ready also to help with pilots.

Colonel Lindbergh, worn by the anxiety of his predicament, worked side by side with the state police. During the night he helped to trace down tracks on his property in the fastness of the Sourland Mountains.

Charles-LindberghDuring the forenoon, he went on a mysterious errand with Lieutenant John Keaton, of the New Jersey state police. They sped away in a fast car, and came back a couple of hours later on foot through the woods. Rumor had it that they had visited Flagtown, where a group of suspected bootleggers was believed to be.

Meantime, Mrs Lindbergh, deeply stirred, bore up with the courage of a Spartan mother.

The first word prostrated her, but it was not long before she was exhibiting the same courage as her husband, and she helped authorities.

Once she joined searchers for a short period.

Her burden was all the greater for she had been nursing the child several days because of a cold. And the kidnappers without even trying to catch up some quilts, dragged the baby off, clad only in its “sleeper.” Moreover, Mrs Lindbergh is again an expectant mother.

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After Governor A Harry Moore had announced a reward of $10,000 for the capture of the Lindbergh baby kidnappers and the State Senate had resolved to increase the amount to $25,000, the reward was cancelled out of consideration for Col Lindbergh.

Moore telephoned the distraught father and told him of the proposed state action. Lindbergh expressed the fear that the reward might endanger his child, whereupon the reward plans were cancelled.

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