One of the most infamous kidnappings in American history occurred on March 1, 1932, when Charles Lindbergh Jr., son the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh, was taken through the second-story window of his parents' new mansion in Hopewell, New Jersey. See how much you know about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping with these trivia questions...
What Happened the Night of March 1, 1932? Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr. was the eldest son of aviator Charles Lindbergh and was abducted from his family home on the evening of March 1, 1932. Lindbergh had become an international celebrity when he flew the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 just five years earlier. Reports from the FBI indicate that Charles Lindbergh Jr. was taken from his crib while sleeping at around 9:00 pm. The child's nurse discovered the empty crib around 10:00 pm, at which point she notified the parents who conducted a full search of the property, leading to the discovery of the first ransom note. The Lindbergh's contacted the police and a full investigation was launched immediately after. Newspaper writer H. L. Mencken called the kidnapping and subsequent trial "the biggest story since the Resurrection." It had become the Crime of the Century.
Aside from the Police, Who Helped with the Investigation? The distraught Lindbergh family leveraged their considerable fame and public approval to make the kidnapping a national headline and enlist the help of people across the country from every walk of life. This included the criminal underworld, with various leaders of organized crime offering their services and attempting to establish contact with the criminals. Perhaps the most famous offer came from Al "Scarface" Capone, who in addition to his condolences offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the kidnappers. Ultimately, it would be a retired school principal from the Bronx named John Condon who offered the biggest help in finding Charles Jr.
How Did John Condon Help the Investigation into the Kidnapping? The kidnapper was very careful in their negotiations with the Lindbergh family. After rejecting the family's first proposed go-between, Dr. John Condon stepped up and offered to act as an intermediary. Over the course of the next month, Dr. Condon received 13 different ransom notes and met with a man known only as "John" on two separate occasions, including a meeting on April 2, 1932, when Dr. Condon handed over $50,000 in ransom money and in return, learned that the Lindbergh baby was on a boat off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. Authorities immediately began the search for the boat but came up empty-handed. In the end, the Lindbergh baby was found dead and partially buried less than a mile from the family home on May 12, 1932.
Who Kidnapped the Lindbergh Baby? The FBI worked to trace marked bills from the ransom money over the course of the next couple years. Then, in September 1934, a big break came when a gas station attendant wrote down the license plate number of a suspicious man who paid for five gallons of gas with a $10 bank certificate. Authorities traced the plates to a Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German immigrant and carpenter living in the Bronx. After arresting Hauptmann, police investigated his home and found $13,000 in marked ransom money along with the phone number and address of Dr. Condon written on the inside of a door frame. Dr. Condon positively identified Hauptmann as "John," and after being found guilty of first-degree murder, Hauptmann was electrocuted on April 3, 1936.