This Day In History: 03/01/1932 - Lindbergh Baby Kidnapped

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On this day in 1932, in a crime that captured the attention of the entire nation, Charles Lindbergh III, the 20-month-old son of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh, is kidnapped from the family's new mansion in Hopewell, New Jersey. Lindbergh, who became an international celebrity when he flew the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, and his wife Anne discovered a ransom note demanding $50,000 in their son's empty room. The kidnapper used a ladder to climb up to the open second-floor window and left muddy footprints in the room. The Lindberghs were inundated by offers of assistance and false clues. For three days, investigators found nothing and there was no further word from the kidnappers. Then, a new letter showed up, this time demanding $70,000. Soon after, the baby's body was discovered near the Lindbergh mansion. He had been killed the night of the kidnapping and was found less than a mile from home. The kidnapping looked like it would go unsolved until September 1934, when a marked bill from the ransom turned up. It was tracked back to a German immigrant and carpenter, Bruno Hauptmann. When his home was searched, detectives found a chunk of Lindbergh ransom money. The resulting trial was a national sensation. Money, handwriting, ladder evidence, and intense public pressure were enough to convict Hauptmann and he was electrocuted in 1935. In the aftermath of the crime--the most notorious of the 1930s--kidnapping was made a federal offense.

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