Remembering the Lindbergh baby kidnapping
One of the most notorious crimes in New Jersey history happened on March 1, 1932.
Charles Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, was kidnapped from their East Amwell home. The baby was abducted from his crib on the upper level of the home, with a crude ransom note asking for $50,000 left on the window sill.
Another ransom note, this one asking for $70,000, came five days later. The ransom was eventually paid, but the child was not returned. The child’s lifeless body was found in a shallow grave in the woods in nearby Hopewell. The crime garnered international attention with tips and offers of help pouring in.
The investigation was led by New Jersey State Police Superintendent Norman Schwarzkopf Sr., and centered on tracking the ransom money as the serial numbers had been recorded.
A German immigrant, Bruno Richard Hauptman, was caught with one of the bills from the ransom; a search of his home turned up an additional $14,000 of the ransom. He was arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder.
The trial took place in Flemington and it was a spectacle, being called the “Trial of the Century." Reporters and curiosity seekers from all over descended on the town. It was reported that there was not a hotel room to be found in the area.
Although he protested that he was innocent, Hauptman was convicted and sentenced to death. He was offered a sentence of life in prison in exchange for a confession, but he declined. He was put to death by the state of New Jersey via electrocution on April 3, 1936.
His wife tried to clear his name for the rest of her life. She died in 1994.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.