On March 1, 1932, 20-month-old Charles Augustus Lindberg Jr. disappeared. The kidnappers left several clues at the crime scene, authorities eventually made an arrest and a trial ensued -- but some still wonder whether the right person was convicted.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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hello, unwelcome sort of Pakistan deploying a chopper border. Can I'm thirty ten? The topic that we are going to talk about in this high costs have been requested repeatedly by listeners, and hopefully you ok.
Like a really sad podcast, because the story of the Limburg
we kidnapping, really doesn't have any a beat moments to speak of. It involves the kidnapping
Twenty month old, Charles Augustus, Lindbergh Junior from his home near hope, while New Jersey in what was called the crime of the century- and it really is tragic not just because of the kidnapping of a small child by the baby,
was not found alive and, in the end, a guy was convicted and executed for the crime, but there are still some
our entire hanging around the whole thing, and that's probably why people are still interested in it today, because the guy never confessed to the crime, even though he was killed for her. That's right
Also spread fear and grief all across the nation
people identified worth and really more and further to parents, and they were celebrate,
aviator Charles Lindbergh, of course, and his wife, Anne and their notoriety really made the trial interesting to because it was an early example of a major celebrity trial that consume the public sector.
during the time- and you often see it compared to another
I'll. I think most people will be familiar
is one of the crimes of the century. It's hard to picture line. We were talking about that when we are tabling this
I just in terms of the amount of public interest that it generated, so you can t
I that comparison, that its deafening among one of most famous trials of the century here is one of the crimes of the century. It's hard to picture line. We were talking
that when we're entitling this high gas, actually there, ironically several crimes of the century, but this is up there, so we're gonna take
Look at the kidnapping investigation,
the trial and then
try to understand why it cannot as it as a crime, a possible crime of the century too. Why captivated people so much? But before we get into that, we need to talk a little bit about Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator yeah.
Slowly. He was famous for making the first solo flight across the Atlantic from New York to Paris on May twenty, eight and twenty first and nineteen twenty seven, and he did this to compete for a twenty five thousand dollar prize that
offer to whoever could pull this great feet off and he made the flight and thirty
point five hours on its tiny silver monoplane called the Spirit of Saint Louis and pretty
from the moment he landed in Paris. He was
An immediate celebrity, I mean that's the part. I guess that's really significant.
Story here, is that he became goober
Amazon at moments in some people, even refer to as a hero of folk here
at a young age of twenty five. But Limburg really was then aviator. That's the kind of thing he was interested and flying planes. He was not out looking to be a super famous celebrity like he became became, and he was really quite
uncomfortable with a lot of the trappings of celebrity, he was uncomfortable being in the limelight and that's partly because he
just kind of a regular guy, at least before he made that amazing transatlantic trip. He was born in Detroit on February. Fourth, nineteen o too, and he
and most of his childhood in little falls Minnesota in Washington DC. He went to the university with content in marathon, but laughed during a second year of college cause
he did really want to fly and went to flight school and studied aviation after that in beef.
he made that famous transatlantic flight. He had just been work
he's an airmail pilot flying between Saint Louis in Chicago you, but, as we said,
He crossed the Atlantic, though his life totally changed. People started offering him money for speaking engagements and endorsement, so no more
flying airmail planes for him he was a star. He was out in the forefront.
a story. He went on a nationwide tour, promoting aviation and it was on a good
towards Mexico that he met his future wife, an morrow who at the time was twenty one years old and she was the daughter of the? U S ambassador there and then
getting married on, May twenty, seventh nineteen, twenty nine after a pretty short courtship here, but thought really just made
even more famous and pulled her into that fame bubble too, because that after they got
The couple was just constantly dogged by the media, and it said that than hoped they would wear disguises just so they could venture on public without getting hassled yet was so bad
even affected the birth of their child. They have their first child Charles Augustus, Lindbergh Junior on June twenty second nineteen, thirty and the baby
apparently delivered at home because an was so afraid that the hospital wouldn't be private or safe enough firm for them to do it there. Yes, that's really thing
thing if you go. She go to that level too, to keep your privacy, but they worked on it full time.
to that with their living arrangements, even they lived
this removes isolated by three hundred. Ninety acres, in your hope, well nature the two to maintain that, since the privacy
the time baby. Charles was about twenty months old. They were splitting there
I'm between that house than the weekends and an parents house an angle and New Jersey. During the week, though, just kind of trying to go back and forth keep people on their toes then and be as away from it as much as they can
Definitely they did change up that pattern, though, on the last weekend of February, nineteen, thirty two and that's kind of where the heart of our story begins. Baby Charles was sick that Britain
or we, so they decided to stay at their country home rather than make him travel when he was sick and they were gonna me
work during the week, even though trial Senior had to go to New York on business through Tuesday night. So what
that she sent for her baby nurse to come stay with them at their country, home Betty Gal
is there baby nurse? She was an uncle what at the time, so she came to where they were so Tuesday.
First as when, all the action starts to happen, and I will just give you a few of the a run down
the events of that day. I should say when they remembered happening. What they remembered happening on Baby Charles seem to feel a little better. So at seven thirty p m the two women
mentally added lotion on his chest and put him to bed. They then tents, blankets,
around him so that they wouldn't come off during the night as he slapped yeah, and then they both left him turn to go to sleep.
And went downstairs in gaol
to do some chores around the house.
She went in to check on the baby at about eight p m. He was fine, you with the fleet. Everything was good and though she left the room again and then
I'll senior came home. He rolled up in his car around eight twenty washed, his hands in the bath
next to the nursery and joined his wife for dinner. By
thirty five now, just as in
during dinner he did recall later hearing something that sounded like someone dropping a wooden box in the kitchen. So he heard something but otherwise uneventful, yes or nothing. Much happens for a little bit until gown
look in on the baby again at ten p m. He wasn't there anymore and the blankets first,
pinned down where they should be? But there is no baby in the crab and though she rushed to check with both parents. The thief may be: one of them had had picked him up and taken him somewhere, but they hadn't, though
a senior Russia's out into the rain, with his rifle fines.
Can ladder outside of the nursery window, and at that point they call the New Jersey State police. When the police got there, there were some
pieces of evidence on the scene. Thank goodness I mean you would want to have something to go by. Some of them were held
some of them worked. For example, they were footprints leading away from the home and off the property, which had some kind of pattern on them, as if someone had covered them up with burlap or something some sort of material to make. The prince seem less animal testing
um yeah exactly so. They knew deaf
Someone else had been there, but had no way to really
His shoes or anything like that. I will end with the ladder to the broken ladder that Limburg senior
outside, and it was the uniquely designed to be very portable Meda
All these are pieces. The woods it seemed like a good potential clue wasn't just something somebody had bought at the store, the lowest section. There
been damage may be broken wall
with climbing down the ladder, and that might have been the noise that Charles Senior heard at dinner
There was also a nine and a half inch would handle chisel there. It was probably use deprive the window open,
And last but not least, there were the ransom note and it was asking for fifty thousand dollars and it offered a lot of clooth, not the much further
formation it contained, but the way it was written and we're gonna
to you and then give you a few extra notes on this.
Change, punctuation and the strange spelling. But here it goes dear, sir, have fifty thousand dollars ready two thousand five hundred dollars and twenty dollar bills? Fifteen thousand intent
dollar bills and ten thousand in five dollar bill. After two to four days. We,
inform you were too
over the money. We warn
from making any during public or for the police. The child is in good care.
the for all letters are thing the and three holes. So if you will
the snow, and you can probably check it out online you'll see that the positions of the dollar signs earn a weird place there. After the failure of vigour,
after the figure rather than before, and the language
In the note pointed to someone who is probably european, I mean you can tell a lot. Sarah was reading that she said good instead of good, and so the police assumed that it
a who was of german or scandinavian descent, yeah, and so of course, though, even though the noted thing don't make this public don't get, the police involved the news of the kidnapping.
Reaches the public immediately and becomes a huge story. There is the man everybody is searching,
were little Charles Limburg, Junior and parents, with kids about the baby's age, even report being stopped on the street by police and question you now to find out. If this was the case,
child gets so every this, isn't big news, everybody knows about it and they receive
two more notes from the kidnapper. Maybe in reaction to this I'm not sure and really quick succession. The first one raised the ransom to seventy
in dollars, and if you read that no you know he says things like you, weren't supposed to go to the police to investigate this public, I'm gonna have to keep baby.
until things quite town, so he wasn't happy about.
attention that they were getting yeah and the line were held
trouble, though, even though these new notes were coming and they were having trouble contacting or communicating with the kidnappers and then something very.
range. I mean definitely unusual happens, an outsider, this random citizen steps and help in its this guy Doktor John F Com,
and he is a semi retired. Seventy two year old, New York City, school teacher and Bronx resident in EAST is kind of this act of this sort of die. He writes into the newspaper frequently write letters to the editor at a local paper, the Bronx Home NEWS and his he's just the civic advocate of sorts
and stepped into the super huge new story, yeah in a really interesting way. He writes an open letter to kidnappers in the Bronx Home NEWS offering to act as an intermediary in the situation. So what he wants to do,
What he's offering to do is to facilitate the transfer of the money and to keep the kidnappers, identity, secret and the process he also offered to add
thousand dollars of his own cash to ensure the safe return of Limburg Baby- and this was published in the Bronx Homes-
on March, eighth. So the ideal
development in this whole thing, yet absolutely honest
Baker development is that the kidnappers contact him by the next evening actually want to keep take him up on this and they sent him a letter. The letter was can
to be real because it had the same pattern of interlocking circles on it as the other letters that the Limburg received dead. So at this point the family also gives
I want in their blessing to act as an intermediary in the situation, so we see like we have a little a plan for
here to get the two sides together on it, seems to pick up the pace of the whole thing right away, because Condon had two meetings with the kidnapper and he used the code name Jaffee, which was kind of
lowering of his initials John F Condon, and he use that to communicate with the kidnapper through newspaper columns, the kidnapper identify
himself as John and would then notes to to various meeting points and though at first
meat, Jesse and John me at a Bronx cemetery and justly tells him. Then he needs proof before they proceed with any kind of
changing cash or anything like that. He'd need proof that Charles Junior was alive and so March. Sixteenth Jaffee receives the baby's Pj'S in May
and the kidnappers demand the cash into weak, though things like something starting to happen,
So then they schedule a second meeting on April. Second Jeff see, let's John DOE, that the money is ready and they
that meeting the kidnappers and yet another cemetery that seems to be the place. This kidnapper wants an ominous, definitely and
work is actually waiting nearby and the situation is waning, you're buying a car
the money transfer does occur. At this point, the kidnapper gives Condon a note telling him that the baby is on a twenty four eight foot boat called the Nellie located off the coast of ass. The two sits near Martha's vineyard, and so of course, people are dispatch
go and find this vote immediately. Unfortunately, it's never found baby. Charles,
was found on May twelve and eighteen thirty, two, a man out walking in the words, came across a badly decompose body of a child about only four miles from Limburg Tom
and it seemed that the baby had died from a skull fracture, possibly a fracture them
heard on the night of his disappearance and some people believe that the kidnappers
all that noise that Limburg Senior heard Molly was eating
in our might have than might have been the baby you're. So
tragedy for the family for sure, but the story doesn't and there there was
Chile and arrests made mostly because the money that they kidnapper had received on that day that they made the exchange, was primarily gold certificates and the Treasury Department had recorded the serial numbers on those. So after they couldn't find the bow
in March nineteen thirty two, the serial number
were released to banks and published in major newspapers everywhere, young
eventually, those goals are from a ransom. Payment started to pop
around the New York area and so that the police were onto it. But in the meantime, youth Congress was passing the federal Kidnapping ACT, which is known as the Limburg LAW
while more than two years, but finally investigators did get a break. In this case. A service station attendant New York City recorded the life
the law made kidnapping across state lines a federal crime and made it punishable by death at that time? In it
go while more than two years. But finally, investigators did get a break in this case
station, attend at New York City, recorded the license plate number of a man who had paid with a ten dollar gold certificate, so they traced the license plate to abroad.
President Bruno Hauptmann, and he was a german
winter who'd entered the: U S illegally, and nineteen twenty three he'd me
German waitress named ANA Shifter had a kid, but in the spring of nineteen thirty two. Suddenly he quit carpentry and started investing in the stock market, so very suspicious police arrested him on September nineteen, the night
thirty four and found a twenty dollar gold certificate in his wallet. So even more suspicious and there were
incriminating clues as well yeah. He had about twelve thousand two thirds
seemed thousand dollars in gold, ransom certificates in his garage, so that's pretty suspicious, and then he had these sketches of alarm
that match the latter they had found at the Winberg home wish, as you remember, what kind of a unique contraption yeah, and also concerning that latter. There also found a missing cross beam on the attic, for that was actually one of the boards used to build the latter and the only tool missing from this carpenters tool. Chess with the chisel found at the crime, thin
and when investigators took the door trim off his sons closet, they found the former phone number and address of John Condon written there in pencil.
handwriting analyse looked at that scribbled note and looked at happening.
Penmanship in general and determined
it was stylistic fully consistent with a ransom notes that had been sent by the kidnapper and then maybe most encouraging
then Condon later identified him as John who
had met in the cemetery. Yeah
in his defence helped. Him said that he was holding the money for a friend's named, is adore fish who had returned to Germany in nineteen thirty three and had since died, but that really
help on that all he was still indicted for murder, in the first degree, on October, eighth, nineteen, thirty four. So how
Trial began on January second, nineteen, thirty, five and Fleming two New Jersey, and it was really highly publicized. As we talked about in the intro to this tide, cast hundreds press onlooker
gathering all around the courthouse as it was going on, and it lasted for more than five weeks
the jury deliberation at the end that lasted for eleven hours, you have to imagine it was telling pretty hard for them to find a jury in the first place that didn't know about this crime.
Health calling for the death penalty. During the deliberations, though pretty in tat fear, everyone was outraged when it happens and they wanted to see what they felt was a fitting punishment for it. So there were the series of appeals, after that it went all the way to the Supreme Court, but they were ultimately unsuccessful and
liberation, though pretty and tat every one was outraged when it happens and they wanted to see what they felt was a fitting punishment for it. So there were the series of appeal
after that it went all the way to the Supreme Court, but they were
ultimately unsuccessful and help with executed April. Third, nineteen thirty six. But if you're
What we said in the introduction help minute himself never confessed to the crime and how he said that he had been beaten by the police and forced to produce
handwriting samples at match the ransom note. So he kept kind of calling to a story up until the end, and there are some people who really believed him. Some people believed, for example, what the defence
aw had argued that content was somehow involved, I mean there were. There are a lot of theories out there. I guess sister, what happened a like a lot of
trials everyone seems to have their own theory about what actually happens, but regardless the Limburg family,
seemed ready, if not to put the whole
behind them than at least to get away from all the media attention in this situation,
had been and when they were concerned about another kidnapping, as they did go and have other children absolutely so they move.
Europe for awhile with their son John, and they didn't returned to the- U S and told before World war to the others
I'm international article that was written in ninety ninety nine by Reeve Lindbergh. Who is another one of those, the Lindbergh kid and she talks about growing up quote in the steadied.
The sea and anonymity of Connecticut Suburb, with its shaded streets and unmarked mailboxes,
and how, even though she didn't know her brother, she felt his loss in their sort of cloistered childhood. Pretty fad sad note too,
non, but yeah. Definitely and obviously the family are Charles Limburg Senior at least kept coming back into the spotlight at various times throughout his life up until he died in the seventies that they all
kind of scientists, private life and gas. Very sad story,
What we do want to leave you wanna down or new, like that after we have them,
rightly related in a more happy listener. Mail messages from Jane. He and she wrote that she's been listening to the path for a while, and she is
we travelling around South America with her boyfriend and they ve been taken.
the pictures and thing with light ass, she read em. I just listen to your PA cast on a frantic berry and although I've never read the little prince, I do have an interesting back to share with you a few weeks ago. I would pay
the southern sudanese mountain near petticoat.
Argentina. Most famous mountain in this region, which is visible from the town itself, is called Fitzroy the
theory, the fill them now around its very locked rocky who's. The late Fitzroy itself is one of the top five most difficult rock climbing tense in the world. Any ways
pike we came upon, a sign that listed the man, the different heat that we could see from my vista, and one of them is called hurry.
I happen to find a little herb and my guide book explained the seeming point, frantic superior but hopefully fell in love with the foreign born and Desolate Anthedon Patagonia during his many flights, while station air for the private company who worked for the landscape stuck with him so much tat, he even included it in his illustrations of the little credit, though she she pointed to the little prince and you can,
look at this mountain and compare it to some of the illustration they are remarkably similar will not to re, read that, but in fact carefully on the illustration, though, I think that differ call that geography inputs not only like the desert
in about the thank you for sharing. So, if you
to share any of your own travel experiences with us, maybe ones that relate to a former podcast or maybe a future wine you'd like us to do. You feel free to email, asset, history, pod, CASTOR House, the forks dot com, or you can like us up on Facebook and are also on twitter at Mister history. We also have a cell phone
case relating to flight on our website. One in particular is really interesting. It's what was man's first attempt at flight, and you can look up on our homepage. W W W dont have suffered such
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