Famous Kidnapping Cases  

A case that proved to be a milestone in legal history was the Lindbergh case. Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., the 20 month old son of a famous aviator was kidnapped at about 9 p.m., on March 1, 1932, from his home near Hopewell, New Jersey. A ransom note demanding 50,000 dollars was found on the nursery window sill.

New Jersey State Police assumed charge of the investigation. A second ransom note was received by Colonel Lindbergh on March 6, 1932, increasing the ransom demand to 70,000 dollars. On March 8 came the third ransom note informing that an intermediary appointed by the Lindberghs would not be accepted and requesting a note in a newspaper. Finally, Dr. John F. Condon, a retired school principal, was agreed upon as a go-between by both parties.

Around March 10, 1932, Dr. Condon received 70,000 dollars in cash as ransom, and immediately started negotiations for payment through newspaper columns, using the code name ‘Jafsie.’ Thus, commenced a series of exchange of 13 notes between Dr. Condon and the kidnapper, at the end of which 50,000 dollars were handed over to the kidnapper in lieu of a note instructing that the kidnapped child could be found on a boat named ‘Nellie’ near Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

However, the baby could not be located there and it was on May 12, 1932, that remains of the child’s badly decomposed body were found about four and a half miles southeast of the Lindbergh home. The head was crushed, there was a hole in the skull and some of the body parts were missing. The Coroner's examination showed that the child had been dead for about two months and that death was caused by a blow on the head.

Hundreds of photographs and descriptive data of known criminals of all types and other possible suspects were exhibited to the few eye-witnesses in this case in an endeavor to identify the person who had collected the ransom. On May 2, 1933, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York discovered 296 ten-dollar gold certificates and one twenty- dollar gold certificate, all Lindbergh ransom notes. It was thanks to these gold certificates that finally, Hauptmann, a native of Saxony, Germany, the culprit was caught and found guilty of murder in the first degree.

On April 3, 1936, at 8:47 p.m., Bruno Richard Hauptmann was electrocuted. The kidnapping and murder of the son of Charles A. Lindbergh led to a federal statute prescribing severe penalties for transporting the victims of kidnapping across state or national boundaries.

The residents of Long Island, New York call the Weinberger case as the ‘crime of the century’. The Weinberger case resulted in a new legislation signed by President Eisenhower that reduced the FBI's waiting period in kidnapping cases from 7 days to 24 hours.

On July 4, 1956, Peter Weinberger, a month-old child was found missing from his home in Westbury, New York. The kidnapper left a ransom note, wherein he apologized for his actions but said he needed 2,000 dollars. The Nassau County Police Department took charge of the case. The police left a phony ransom package at the spot, but the kidnapper never showed up.

On July 10th, six days after the kidnapping, the kidnapper called the Weinberger home again with additional instructions on where to take the money. However, he did not show up again and all that the police found was another handwritten note.

After examining and eliminating almost two million samples, on August 22, 1956 an agent at the US Probation Office in Brooklyn noted a similarity between the ransom notes and writing in the probation file of one Angelo LaMarca. As investigators soon learned, LaMarca was a taxi dispatcher and truck driver who had many unpaid bills and was being threatened by a loan shark. On seeing the one month old baby, he committed the crime on impulse. Although, the kidnapper was arrested on August 23, 1956 but the baby had already been abandoned alive by him in some heavy brush just off a highway exit.

Later, on searching the area, all that the police found was a diaper pin and the decomposed remains of Peter Weinberger. On December 14, 1956, LaMarca was sentenced to death. After a number of legal appeals, he was executed at Sing Sing Prison on August 7, 1958.

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Kidnapping-Facts      As per the law, kidnapping is defined as the taking away of a person by force, threat or deceit with intent to detain the individual’s against his or her will. The practice of kidnapping, in the wider and not strictly legal sense, has been known since the beginning of history. More..

 


 

 

 
   
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