this day in crime history: march 1, 1932

On this date in 1932, Charles Lindbergh Jr., the 20 month old son of the famous aviator, was kidnapped from the family’s home near Hopewell, NJ. After weeks of negotiations, a ransom was paid and instructions were given where to find the child. The instructions, which directed the family to a nonexistent boat in Martha’s Vineyard, MA, were bogus. The boy’s body was found on May 12th in the woods near the Lindbergh home.

The investigation went on for two and a half years. In September of 1934, Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested after passing some of the gold certificates from the ransom. A search of Hauptmann’s home yielded over $13,000 of the ransom money. Hauptmann maintained his innocence, but was convicted of murder. He was executed by electrocution on April 3, 1936.

As a result of the Lindbergh case, the federal Kidnapping Act, also known as the Lindbergh Law, was passed making kidnapping a federal offense, falling under the jurisdiction of the FBI.

Further reading:

FBI Famous Cases – The Lindbergh Kidnapping

Crime Museum – The Lindbergh Kidnapping

Wikipedia – Lindbergh kidnapping

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6 thoughts on “this day in crime history: march 1, 1932

  1. John D.:
    There were a lot of claims (from both sides) regarding Lindbergh culpability and Hauptman’s innocence.
    And while it could make some interesting theories, nothing new has come forward to prove otherwise.

    Very good story and lots of evidential credibility (on either side).
    At least some good law came from the case.

    Stay safe out there.

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  2. Personally, I think Hauptmann was railroaded. He may have been in on laundering the money, but any carpenter who built that ladder would have killed himself in shame.
    I tend to believe the “Fisch story,” that Isador Fisch was the brains behind it. (I forget why; my readings on the case were a long time ago.)
    I once read an interesting book, whose name I don’t recall (I think it was called The Lindbergh Crime; I know it didn’t use the word “kidnap.”) that put forth an interesting theory: Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s sister, who was staying with the Lindberghs and left the day after the disappearance, was known to be bipolar and had exhibited violence toward the kid before. The author’s theory is that the sister accidentally killed the baby and the kidnapping was staged to hide her involvement.
    Don’t know if there’s a word of truth in it. I just love goofy conspiracy theories.

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    • I’ve always believed Hauptmann was guilty. Of something. Whether he was an accomplice to the kidnapping or maybe just an opportunist trying to profit from a tragedy, we’ll never know. But I do agree that he was railroaded.

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