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The Lindbergh Case

1. Describe the crime, including a timeline of events, people involved, evidence collected and its importance..

Charles and Anne Lindbergh’s baby was kidnapped from his room at about 9pm and a ransom note was found demanding $50,000. The note was discovered by at 10pm by the nurse that took care of the baby. The note was found on the windowsill and the local police were contacted. The police found muddy footprint from the kidnapper were found under the window and there was mud inside the nursery. A ladder had been used to reach the second floor nursery, but one of the two sections of the ladder was broken where it met the other. The police did not find any blood or fingerprints in the nursery, on the ladder, or the area below the window. Another ransom note was found five days later and the ransom increased to $70,000. More ransom notes were received and Dr. Condon, a retired principal, was the middle man used to communicate with the kidnapper and the Lindbergh’s. Condon received the fifth ransom note from a taxi driver, Joseph Perrone. The fifth note gave directions to the sixth note which led him to meet a man named “John” in a cemetery to talk about how the ransom would be paid. An item of the baby’s clothes and another ransom note were given to Condon. The nurse found the thumb guard that the baby had been wearing when he was kidnapped on the edge of the Lindbergh estate. Condon received another ransom note that threatened to increase the ransom to $100,000. More notes were given to Condon and he eventually meet John again. John was given the $50,000 ransom that he and Condon agreed on and John gave him the information to find the baby in a boat on Martha’s Vineyard. The police searched the boat and the child was not found.

The body of the baby was found four miles from the Lindbergh’s estate by William Allen. The body was poorly hidden and decomposed. Upon examination, the coroner found the baby had been dead for two months and had died from a blow to his head.

2. What information did police have that kept them connected to the case after the body was found?

After the body was found, the police were able to track down the killer because the money used to pay the ransom was marked. The money was paid in gold certificates and the Federal Reserve ordered that all banks turn in the gold certificates and take them out of circulation. Every bank in the area had the serial numbers for the gold certificates that made up the ransom.

3. What importance did the ladder hold?

The ladder used to climb to the second floor of the Lindbergh’s nursery was a key piece of evidence in finding the kidnapper. This ladder was homemade by the kidnapper and was one of a kind. Once the police arrested Hauptmann, they searched his house and found a blueprint of the ladder and found a piece of wood that was the same type used to make the ladder.

4. What other evidence pointed specifically to Hauptmann?

The other evidence that pointed to Hauptmann were the handwritten ransom notes. The police made Hauptmann write something out and compared his handwriting to the ransom notes and they matched. There was a chisel found outside the Lindbergh’s house and it belonged to Hauptmann and was missing from his toolbox. Condon was able to identify Hauptmann as the man in the cemetery who called himself John who picked up the ransom money. This evidence all pointed to Hauptmann.

5. How did the case end: was anybody found guilty of the crime? What was the sentence for the crime?

The case went to court and Hauptmann pleaded he wasn’t guilty. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to death. He died a few years later in prison from the electric chair.


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