Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas on August 27, 1974 · Page 6
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Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas · Page 6

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, August 27, 1974
Page 6
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Northwest Arkansas TIMES, Tue's., Aug. 27, 1974 FAYETTEV1LLE, ARKANSAS Reporter Recalls Tragedy Of Kidnaping Of Lindbergh Baby Editor's Note: Samuel G. B1 a c k m a n, former General News Editor of The Associated Press, covered the Lindbergh kidnap case when he was an AP reporter. Blaekman, now retired, tells the story of that tragedy. Bv SAMUEL G. BLACKMAN NEW YORK (AP) -- Forty- two years have passed since Col. Charles A. Lindbergh's son, 19-month-old Charles Jr., was kidnaped from the Lindhome in Hopewell, N.J. Bruno Richard Hauplmann, a 36-year-old Bronx carpenter, died in New Jersey's electric chair for the child's murder. But the then-governor, the late Harold G. Hoffman, stirred wide controversy by expressing doubt even on the eve ot the execution and many years later that Hauptmann committed the crime -- or could have done it alone. I covered the kidnaping that blustery night of March 1. 1932, and the execution of Hauptmann the night of April 3, 1936. The case against him was largely one of circumstantial evidence and Hauptmann continued to insist he was innocent. In the intervening years there has never been a shred of evidence to alter the v e r d i c t that Hauptmann actd alone. The baby, first son of the famous flier and the former Anne Morrow, had been lucked early in the evening into his crib because he was suffering from a cold. Several hours later nursemaid Betty Gow visited the nursery on the second floor and found the baby missing. Lindbergh, reading in the downstairs library, searched the nursery in vain. "Anne, they have stolen our )aby," he testified later that he told his wife. He notified the state police, ,ook a rifle from a closet and began a search of the estate. He was accompanied by ,hree state troopers when I came across him. "I'm Col. Lindbergh," he said, introducing himself. "I can't say anything now." With flashlights blinking, he and two troopers continued the search. One stayed behind and related what was then known -Miss Gow had found the crib empty, and a $50,000 ransom note, a wooden ladder and a chisel had been found. Much of the case against Hauptmann turned on this ransom .note (and on l a t e r ones) and on the ladder. The original note, crudely and ungrammaU- c a 11 y written, demanded "25.000 in 20$ bills 15,000$ 10$ bills and 10,000$ in 5$ bills." The note said: "After 2-4 days we will inform you where to deliver the money." The "singnature" on the note, and promised on future ones, was two interlapping circles with three square holes. INTERMEDIARY Dr. John F. Condon, a Bronx schoolteacher, 1 " was named ;jn termediary and ^became famous as "Jafsie" (from his iniitals J.F.C.). On the night of Aril 2, 1932, C o n d o n . p a i d the $50,000 to a man who from a hedge in e Bronx cemetery yelled, "hey doctor" and again, "hey, doc tor, over here." In return Con don got a note which said, "The joy Is on the Bond Nelly -- you rill (ind Ihe Boad (cq) between lorseneck Beach and Gay Head near Elizabeth Island." -- presumably the waters off Martha's Vineyard, Mass. Lindbergh searched there and n many other places in vain, For two months by land, sea and air he pursued flimsy clues and · phantom ships and then earned when he returned May 12 from a search oft the Vir- Jnia Capes that the child's jocly had been found in a shal- ow grave five miles from the Lindbergh home. The ransom money led to Hauplmann's arrest. The government had distributed 250,000 circulars giving the serial numbers of the notes --· $35,000 in gold cerlificales, $15,000 in olh- cr paper currency. On April 5, . 1933, President Roosevelt-, in a.measure born ot the depression, ordered that all persons possessing more than $100 of gold certificates exchange them hy May 1 for oth- currency at banks of the Federal Reserve System. On a central map at state police headquarters in Trenton, N.J., Col. H. Norman .Schwarzkopf, Ihe superintendent, stuck c locator pin where each note was found. Most of them were in the Bronx. NOTE FOUND It was there that Water Lyle a gas station . attendant, received a $10 gold note on Sep tember 15, 1934, and wrote on li the license number of the car whose driver boughl five gal Ions of gas. Hauptmann was arrested four days later. He hat a $20 gold note on his persoi and in his garage they found 14,600 more. Hauptmann's explanation was hat the money had been given rim in a shoe box by a friend ind business partner, Isidor 'isch, when Ffsch left for Germany. He died there before louplmann was arrested. When this moneyt was offeree in evidence in the- trial, Ally. en. David :--.T: Wilenlz," who prosecuted the case, asked a witness, Frank J. Wilson, special agent in charge of the in- :elligence unit of the Internal Revenue Service: "So far as you know, Mr. Wilson, since the indictment of Bruno Richard Haiiptmann foi murder has there been one ran som bill turned up?" "No sir," Wilson replied. He conceded that all the ran som gold notes were never ;de- lected, saying,tha,t "several billions" of dollars worth o f . g o l c certificates had b e e n exchanged arid it had been impos sible to detect every one. Wiienzt could not be rcachcc Monday, but he has told me ii many interviews that nothing has e v e r been developed to change any of the testimony. NO CHANGES In an interview on the 40tl anniversary of the kidnaping hi said: "Nol one thing that know of has developed since the trial that' could' cast doub on the positive proof ^hat t h defendant wrote the ransom notes; nothing has developed ti disprove that he hid the ransoir money in his garage or tha lumber from his attic was usei in the construction of the lad der." 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Arthur Koehler, a wood fech- logisl ot the United States orest Products Laboratory of adison, Wis., one of the ate's star witnesses, traced a wood in the; kidnap.- ladder orri'"'a'·''" rnill""ih "McCorniick, C., to boards from Haiipt- ann's attic. Koehler said a ladder rail ad once been part of a floor oard in the attic. Koehler said e laid the board on a joist in e attic and found the nail oles in the board matched lose in the joist. Koehler said that knives with; ane lumber at a mill often ave tell-tale markings on the ood. -He said he detected a ny groove'which lie knew had e'en made by a knife of a cer- ain type. ; He 'spent 18' months becking 1,598 planing mills to ace the origin of the wood. MARKINGS SAME One with markings spaced ke those on the ladder rail led th South Carolina firm, ioehler said. He traced 45 car- oads.of lumber from the mill 25 firms and in November S33, -- 10 months -before Tauptmann's arrest -- found a umber company in the Bronx vhich had lumber with mark- ngs- matching those on the- l?id- er rail. Hauptmann " h a d ought $10 worth' of lumber lere in 1031. Wilentz argued the l a d d e r roke as Hauptmann was leav- ig the nursery "and down he ·ent with this child." He said ic child .died instantly and icn said of Hauptmann: "Knowing the child was dead he yanked and ripped that sleeping garment of that child off bis body ... he didn't need the child . . . he .needed the sleeping garment. . . some few miles away he scooped up a hastily improvised and shallow grave and put this child in it face downwards." Condon received the sleeping garment in the mail as proof that he was dealing with the right man. 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