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

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

  1. John D.:
    Although we may never know the entire truth here, there is some compelling evidence that points to Hauptman’s innocence, thought this is all after the fact.

    Very good story and post.

    Roll safe out there.


  2. I’m of the firm belief that Hauptmann was framed. Lindbergh never allowed the police to interview his household staff, a few of whom had shady backgrounds and/or associations.
    There is a book called The Lindbergh Crime (I think; I read it a long time ago and don’t recall the author) which postulates that Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s sister, who was mentally unstable (bipolar and other problems) and left the estate the day after the disappearance, killed the kid in a rage and the Lindbergh family covered it up. The NJSP’s investigation went nowhere because there was nothing to investigate, and when Hauptmann got caught in the switches, Lindbergh had no choice but to frame him in order to hide his own, and his family’s complicity. I’m not sure I believe it, but it’s plausible, especially considering that Lindbergh was the biggest celebrity in the world at the time and Hauptmann was a nobody.


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