Cemetery John, The Undiscovered Matermind of the Lindbergh Kidnapping by Robert Zorn
I've always been interested in the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder. When I saw this book on the library shelf, I just had to read it. It was well written and I greatly enjoyed reading it. Of course, it stoked my interest and I got online and did some Google searches to find photos of this famous and tragic incident.
Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Sr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, on 2/4/1902 to Swedish immigrant Charles August Lindbergh (birth name Carl Mansson) (1859–1924), and Evangeline Lodge (1876–1954), of Detroit. Charles spent most of his childhood in Little Falls, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C. The Lindberghs separated in 1909. Lindbergh, Sr. was a U.S. Congressman (R-Minnesota) from 1907 to 1917 who gained notoriety when he opposed the entry of the U.S. into World War I. Mrs. Lindbergh was a chemistry teacher at Cass Technical High School in Detroit and later at Little Falls High School, from which Charles graduated in 1918. Lindbergh enrolled in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the Fall of 1920, but dropped out in the middle of his sophomore year and headed for Lincoln, Nebraska, in March 1922 to begin flight training. Lindbergh enrolled as a student at the Nebraska Aircraft Corporation's flying school and flew for the first time in his life on April 9, 1922, when he took to the air as a passenger in a two-seat Lincoln Standard "Tourabout" biplane trainer piloted by Otto Timm. Lindbergh left Lincoln in June to spend the summer and early fall barnstorming across Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana as a wing walker and parachutist with E.G. Bahl and later H.L. Lynch. During this time he also briefly held a job as an airplane mechanic in Billings, Montana, working at the Billings Municipal Airport. Lindbergh's first solo flight did not come until May 1923 at Souther Field in Americus, Georgia. Lindbergh took off from Americus for Montgomery, Alabama, on his first solo cross country flight, and went on to spend much of the rest of 1923 engaged in virtually nonstop barnstorming under the name of "Daredevil Lindbergh". Lindbergh had been ordered to report to Brooks Field on March 19, 1924, to begin a year of military flight training with the United States Army Air Service both there and later at nearby Kelly Field. Late in his training Lindbergh experienced his most serious flying accident on March 5, 1925, eight days before graduation. He was involved in a midair collision with another Army S.E.5 while practicing aerial combat maneuvers and was forced to bail out. In October 1925, Lindbergh was hired by the Robertson Aircraft Corporation (RAC) in St. Louis (where he had been working as a flight instructor) to first lay out, and then serve as chief pilot for the newly designated 278-mile Contract Air Mail Route #2 (CAM-2) to provide service between St. Louis and Chicago (Maywood Field) with two intermediate stops in Springfield and Peoria, Illinois. Twice during the 10 months that he flew CAM-2, Lindbergh temporarily lost "custody and control" of mails that he was transporting when he was forced to bail out of his mail plane owing to bad weather, equipment problems, and/or fuel exhaustion. In the two incidents, which both occurred while he was approaching Chicago at night, Lindbergh landed by parachute near small farming communities in northeastern Illinois. On September 16, 1926, he came down about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Chicago near the town of Wedron, while six weeks later, on November 3, 1926, Lindbergh bailed out again about 70 miles further south hitting the ground in another farm field located just west of the city of Bloomington near the town of Covell. After landing without serious injury on both occasions, Lindbergh's first concern was to immediately locate the wreckage of his crashed mail planes, make sure that the bags of mail were promptly secured and salvaged, and then to see that they were entrained or trucked on to Chicago with as little delay as possible. Lindbergh continued on as chief pilot of CAM-2 until mid-February 1927, when he left for San Diego, California, to oversee the design and construction of the Spirit of St. Louis.
Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Sr.
The $25,000 Orteig Prize was first offered by the French-born New York hotelier (Lafayette Hotel) Raymond Orteig on May 19, 1919. Although that initial time limit lapsed without a serious challenger, the state of aviation technology had advanced sufficiently by 1924 to prompt Orteig to extend his offer for another five years. Lindbergh took off in the early morning of Friday, May 20, 1927. Dubbed the Spirit of St. Louis, his plane was a fabric covered, single-seat, single-engine "Ryan NYP" high-wing monoplane carrying a heavy load of 450 gallons of gasoline weighing approximately 2,710 lbs. Over the next 33 1/2 hours he faced many challenges including flying over storm clouds at 10,000 feet and wave tops at as low at 10 ft ), fighting icing, flying blind through fog for several hours, and navigating only by the stars (when visible) and "dead reckoning" before landing at Le Bourget Airport at 10:22 PM on Saturday, May 21, 1927 to a crowd of estimated 150,000 people. His plane was mobbed and he was carried above the crowd's heads for nearly half an hour before being rescued. He and his plane were shipped back to the United States where he was celebrated with a ticker tape parade in New York on June 13, 1927.
Ticker Tape Parade in New York City for Charles Lindbergh
Anne Morrow Lindbergh was the daughter of Dwight Morrow who, as partner at J.P. Morgan & Co., had acted as financial adviser to Lindbergh and who had been appointed U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in 1927. Lindbergh was invited by Morrow on a goodwill tour to Mexico, and he met Anne in Mexico City in December 1927. Anne was born in 1906 so she was 4 years younger than Lindbergh. She was the first girl he ever asked for a date. He taught Anne how to fly and they made trips together. The couple were married on May 27, 1929, and eventually had six children: Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr.; Jon Morrow Lindbergh (b. August 16, 1932); Land Morrow Lindbergh (b. 1937); Anne Lindbergh (1940–1993); Scott Lindbergh (b. 1942); and Reeve Lindbergh (b. 1945).
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Lindbergh landing at the Morrow estate, Next Day Hill, in Englewood, New Jersey.
Charles and Anne Lindbergh
Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. was born June 22, 1930 in Englewood, NJ.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh holding their first child, their son, Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh pushing little Charles Lindbergh in his stroller with one of their dogs.
Notice the black and white Scottish Terriers? The black one was the one riding in the carriage in the photo above.
Charles Lindbergh, Jr. at his first birthday.
With fame, came the problems that all famous people face. Reporters, crazy people, rude people were hectoring the Lindberghs. Charles Lindbergh purchased 425 acres outside of Hopewell, NJ in the Sourland Mountain area. He wanted the remoteness to protect his family from all the reporters and fame seekers.
Lindbergh's new house, Highfields, in East Amwell near Hopewell, New Jersey. There was still construction going on when the kidnapping happened. They had been staying with Anne's parents at their estate, Next Day Hill. But they had come to stay for the weekend at their new house on this raw weekend in March, 1932. Anne was with the baby and he got sick so she decided to stay over. She called Next Day Hill to request the baby's nurse to come to Highfields. Betty Gow had been with the family since the birth of the baby and was as close to him as his parents. Charles flew in the evening of the kidnapping and was at home when it occurred.
A map of the Lindbergh baby's nursery
The Lindbergh baby's crib.
At 8:00 pm on March 1, 1932, the nurse-maid, Betty Gow, put 20-month-old Charles Lindbergh, Jr. in his crib. She pinned the blanket covering him with two large safety pins so as to prevent it from moving while he slept. Charles had gone downstairs to his study/library (directly below the nursery) to read while Anne was in their bedroom. At around 9:30 pm, Col. Lindbergh heard a noise that made him think some slats had fallen off an orange crate in the kitchen. At 10:00 pm, Betty Gow discovered that the baby was missing from his crib. She in turn went to ask Mrs. Lindbergh, who was just coming out of the bath, if she had the baby with her. Then the nurse ran downstairs to see if Charles had the child. The search was on. Charles checked out the house while carrying his rifle. Back in the nursery they found a ransom note on the windowsill. Within 20 mins the police from Hopewell, NJ were on their way. First on the scene was Chief Harry Wolfe of the Hopewell police. Wolfe was soon joined by New Jersey State Police officers. The police searched the home and scoured the surrounding area for miles. After midnight, a fingerprint expert arrived at the home to examine the note left on the window sill and the ladder. The ladder had 400 partial fingerprints and some footprints left behind. The room had been wiped clean of ALL fingerprints. Not even the baby or his nurse or his parents' fingerprints were in the room. Soon other officials were rushing to get involved and offer their services hoping for some of the fame to come their way. Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, was one who took over. Herbert Hoover wanted in on it but Schwarzkopf held him off and refused to let him help. At first, everyone thought it was organized crime and they contacted Mickey Rosner, thought to know mobsters. Rosner, in turn, brought in two speakeasy owners: Salvatore "Salvy" Spitale and Irving Bitz to be Lindbergh's intermediaries with the mob. Unknown to Lindbergh, however, Bitz and Spitale were actually in cahoots with the New York Daily News, a newspaper which hoped get a scoop. The mob all seemed to be as shocked as the Lindberghs and offered their own rewards to anyone who came forward. The public was offered a $75,000 reward for the safe return of "Little Lindy". Since this was during the Great Depression, this was a huge sum!
A picture showing the kidnapper's ladder under the baby's nursery window.
The ladder could be broken into sections for car transport. It could then be carried, linked with a wooden dowl, and used against the house. It was found not far from the house along with a tool.
Violet Sharpe, a 28 year old who worked for the Morrows at Next Day Hill as a serving maid, was a British woman who was hired 2 years prior to the kidnapping when she came into America from Toronto. Upon questioning on 3/10, she told the police that on Tuesday, 3/1/1932, Anne Lindbergh called the Morrow household to ask for Betty Gow, the baby's nurse, to return to Hopewell because the baby had a cold and they were staying until he was well. Violet told the police she and an "acquaintance" went out at 8:30pm accompanied by another couple. But Violet couldn't remember the couples' names nor could she remember the name of her date or where they had gone. On April 13 Violet added more details saying they went to the Peanut Grill, a roadhouse. When Inspector Walsh said he could not believe she would accompany three strangers to a roadhouse, Violet was offended so she gave more details. She said she was taking a walk with her sister, Emily, when a man in a green Nash sedan waved at them. Violet thought the man was someone on the Morrow staff and waved back. The man then pulled alongside Violet and Emily, and Violet realized she didn't know the man after all. The man offered Violet and Emily a ride, but they declined. The man then asked if he could have Violet's phone number so he could call and ask her out. Violet agreed and gave him the Morrow number. The following Tuesday, March 1, Ernie called her and asked if she wanted to go to a movie. She said he introduced her to another couple who doubledated with them to the Peanut Grill where they danced. She said she drank coffee while the others drank beer. Violet returned home a few minutes before eleven. Soon thereafter, the telephone rang to inform the Morrow household of the kidnapping. She described "Ernie" as tall and thin with fair complexion and wearing a gray hat, navy-blue suit, and a dark gray overcoat. She still didn't remember the names of the other couple but gave a description. She was supposedly on the verge of an engagement with the Morrow's butler, Septimus Banks. Why would she go on a date with a strangers? Her sister, Emily, left for England on April 6 without informing the police. The police found that Violet had a savings account with a $1,600 balance. How did she save that kind of money in 2 years making $100/month? Violet could not be questioned later because she entered Englewood Hospital on May 11. Her doctor said she had problems with her adenoids and tonsils.(?) On 5/12, a day later, the baby's body was discovered. Violet became moody and isolated herself from everyone else. She returned home from the hospital and Inspector Walsh scheduled another interview for May 23. She gave a revised story. She was questioned a 3rd time on 6/9/1932. This time he brought a photo of Ernest Brinkert to ask her if this was "Ernie". It seems the police had found a card for Ernest Brinkert in Violet's possessions (the same time they found the savings passbook). Violet agreed the photo was of the man she called "Ernie". Brinkert was known as a petty thief. A 4th questioning was arranged but, as the police were on their way, Violet ran upstairs taking some silver polish with her. She ingested the silver polish which contained potassium cyanide. She walked downstairs, started to speak to a chambermaid, Emily Kempairien, but she fell forward. She died before the ambulance could make it to the house. The police put out a warrant for Ernest Brinkert. Ernest was eventually arrested, but upon Dr. J.F. Condon's strong evidence that Ernest was not "John", police were confused. Then a man named Ernest Miller, came forward claiming he was the "Ernie" who took Violet to the Peanut Grill. He had heard police were looking for an Ernie who dated Violet Sharpe from the Morrow household. Police wondered why Violet identified the photo of Brinkert as the man she dated when he was not.
Col. Henry Skillman Breckenridge, an attorney, who was a friend and confidante of Charles Lindbergh.
Dr. J.F. Condon "Jafsie" (came from saying his initials, J.F.C., quickly) was a well-known Bronx personality and retired school teacher and principal. Proclaiming his willingness to help the Lindberghs he added $1000 of his own money to the reward. Condon received a letter through the Home News signed with the famous signature. It authorized Condon as their intermediary with Lindbergh.
J.F. Condon coming into court with Prosecuter David T. Wilentz.
Flyers for the kidnapped Lindbergh baby.
The first ransom note, left on the windowsill.
A few days after the kidnapping, a new ransom letter arrived at the Lindbergh home via the mail. Postmarked in Brooklyn. Some of the ransom notes with the signature.
Simplified version of the famous "singnature".
Some of the communications between the kidnappers and the Lindberghs happened using the newspaper Personal ads. "Jafsie" was Dr. J.F. Condon, the go-between.
A meeting between "Jafsie" and a man who claimed to be one of the kidnappers was eventually scheduled for late one evening at Woodlawn Cemetery. According to Condon, the man sounded foreign but stayed in the shadows during the conversation, and he was unable to get a close look at his face. The man said his name was John, and he told Condon that he was a "Scandinavian" sailor, part of a gang of three men and two women. The Lindbergh child was unharmed and being held on a boat, but the kidnappers were still not ready to return him or receive the ransom. When Condon expressed doubt that "John" actually had the baby, "John" promised some proof. The stranger asked Condon, "... would I burn [be executed], if the package [baby] were dead?" When questioned further, he assured Condon that the baby was alive. On March 16, 1932, John Condon received a package by mail that contained a toddler's sleeping suit, which was sent as proof of their claim, and a seventh ransom note.
The ransom was packaged in a wooden box per the kidnapper's instructions. The ransom money itself was made up with a number of gold certificates that were to be withdrawn from circulation in the near future. It was hoped that anyone passing large amounts of gold notes would draw attention to themselves and help aid in identifying the abductors. Also, while the bills themselves were not marked, the serial number of each bill was recorded. On April 2, Condon was given a note by cab driver Raymond Perrone, who said he had been paid by a man to deliver the note. This note was the first in a series of convoluted instructions that led Condon and Lindbergh all over Manhattan. Eventually, they were sent to St. Raymond's Cemetery. Condon met a man he thought might have been "John" and told "John" that they had only been able to raise $50,000. The man accepted the money and gave Condon a note that supposedly had the baby's location in it. Lindbergh, who saw the man only from a distance, had insisted the police not be informed of the meeting, and the suspect got away without being followed again. The note stated that the child was being held on a boat called the Nelly at Martha's Vineyard. The child was supposedly in the care of two women who, according to the note, were innocent. Charles Lindbergh drove to the coast and went up in his plane. For 2 days he flew and searchers in boats combed the area but no boat named Nelly was found.
St. Raymond's Cemetery, 2600 Lafayette Avenue, New York, NY
On May 12, 1932, delivery truck driver William Allen pulled his truck to the side of a road about 4 1/2 miles from the Lindbergh home. He got out to relieve himself and walked into the woods. He happened to see something. It was the skull of a child. He looked more carefully and found a skeleton. Allen notified police, who took the body to a morgue in nearby Trenton, New Jersey. The body was badly decomposed, and it was discovered that the skull was badly fractured. The left leg and both hands were missing, and there were signs that the body had been chewed on by various animals as well as indications that someone had made an attempt to hastily bury the body.
The baby was wearing a sleep shirt under his sleeping suit when he was kidnapped. The black sleep shirt was found on the corpse. Compared to one like the baby wore.
Bruno Richard Hauptmann and his bride, Anna Schoeffler. Hauptmann was born on November 26, 1899 in Kamenz in the German Empire, the youngest of five children. He had three brothers and a sister. Hauptmann attended public school, but quit at the age of 14. He then worked during the day while attending trade school at night. He studied carpentry for the first year and then switched to machine school for two years. In 1917, his father died. In the same year his brother, Herman, was killed fighting in France in World War I. Then he found out his brother Max had been killed in Russia. Hauptmann was conscripted shortly after. Hauptmann would claim that he was deployed to Western France with the 177th Regiment of Machine Gunners in either August or September 1918 then fought in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel. He would also say he was gassed in either September or October 1918. He also claimed that while his position was being shelled, he was hit in the helmet with a piece of metal. According to him, this knocked him out for hours, and he was left for dead. When he came to, he crawled back to safety and was back to the machine guns that evening.
After the war, Hauptmann and a friend robbed two women wheeling baby carriages full of food on the road between Wiesa and Nebelschütz. The friend wielded Hauptmann's army pistol during the commission of this crime. Hauptmann's other charges include burglarizing a mayor's house (using a ladder). Released after three years in prison, he was arrested three months later on suspicion of further burglaries. He managed to escape and became a stowaway to America. Landing in New York in September 1923, the 24-year-old Hauptmann was taken in by a member of the established German community and worked as a carpenter. He married a German waitress in 1925 and became a father eight years later. He and his family lived in a 2nd story apartment on the corner of Needham Avenue and East 222nd Street in the Bronx. He had built a small wooden garage across the street where he stored his car.
On 9/17/1934, a $10 gold certificate, part of the ransom, was given to a gas station attendant as payment. Gold certificates were being withdrawn from circulation which made this suspicious. So the gas station attendant wrote down the license plate number of the car on the bill. When the bill went through the bank, it was checked against the list of ransom numbers and matched. The police were called and talked to the gas station attendant. When they ran the license plate it belonged to a dark blue Dodge sedan owned by Hauptmann. His apartment was put under surveillance. The police wanted to get him away from home so he wouldn't try a shootout with his wife and son in the crossfire. On the morning of September 19, 1934, the team followed Hauptmann as he left his apartment but were quickly noticed. As a result, Hauptmann attempted to get away by ignoring red lights and traveling at the high speed of 50mph! As the chase continued, Hauptmann was accidentally boxed in by a municipal sprinkler truck between 178th Street and East Tremont Avenue. He was arrested and his apartment and garage were torn apart looking for clues.
When Hauptmann was arrested, he had on his person a twenty dollar gold certificate. A search by police of Hauptmann's garage found $1,830 of the ransom money hidden behind a board. Another $11,930 was found in a can near a window in the garage. He was questioned and beaten by the police. He continued to deny being involved in the murder. The money supposdely had been left with him by a friend and former business partner, Isidor Fisch. Fisch had died on March 29, 1934, shortly after returning to Germany. After Fisch's death, Hauptmann opened the shoe box left with him and saw it contained a considerable sum of money. He took the money because he claimed Fisch owed it to him from a business deal that he and Fisch had made. Other evidence was found to connect Hauptmann.
Corbis had a lot of photographs of this tragic event. Check them out for more photos.
The closet with Condon's address and phone number written inside on the finish mold around the door.
The attic flooring shows where some lumber had been sawn off and removed. It was supposedly matched to some of the lumber that was used to make the ladder.
Bruno Hauptmann at his trial for kidnapping and murdering the Lindbergh's baby boy.
Charles Lindbergh entering the courthouse to testify in Hauptmann's trial.
The reporters were literally coming out of the woodwork to get stories and pictures.
Anna S. Hauptmann in Hunterdon county court, Flemington, N.J., January 30, 1935 after she had testified in defense of her husband. She maintained his innocence throughout the rest of her life. She died at the age of 95 yrs old on 10/10/1994 in Lancaster, PA. She was survived by their only child, Manfred Hauptmann.
Anna Hauptmann when she heard the "Guilty" verdict and sentence of death.
Rev. H. Dobson-Peabody who ministered to Hauptmann and though the was innocent. Also pictured is one of the hokesters, John Hughes Curtis.
Bruna Richard Hauptmann being strapped in the electric chair.
What happened to some of the other people involved in this famous case.
The Lindberghs moved to England to "seek a safe, secluded residence away from the tremendous public hysteria" that surrounded them in America. The family rented "Long Barn" in the village of Sevenoaks Weald, Kent, England. In 1938, the family moved to Ile Illiec, a small four-acre island Lindbergh purchased off the Breton coast of France. In April, 1939, they came back to the States to a rented seaside estate at Lloyd Neck, Long Island, NY. General H. H. ("Hap") Arnold, the Chief of the United States Army Air Corps in which Lindbergh was a Colonel in the Reserves requested him to accept a temporary call up to active duty in order to help evaluate that service's readiness for a potential war. At the behest of the U.S. military, Lindbergh traveled several times to Germany to report on German aviation and the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) from 1936 through 1938. The American ambassador to Germany, Hugh Wilson, invited Lindbergh to dinner with Göring at the American embassy in Berlin in 1938. For Lindbergh's 1927 flight and services to aviation, on behalf of Adolf Hitler, Göring presented him with the Commander Cross of the Order of the German Eagle. However, Lindbergh's acceptance of the medal caused controversy after Kristallnacht, an anti-Jewish pogrom that broke out in Germany a few weeks later. Lindbergh declined to return the medal. At the urging of U.S. Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, Lindbergh wrote a secret memo to the British warning that if Britain and France responded militarily to German dictator Adolf Hitler's violation of the Munich Agreement in 1938, it would be suicide. Lindbergh stated that France's military strength was inadequate and that Britain had an outdated military over-reliant upon naval power. He recommended they urgently strengthen their air arsenal in order to force Hitler. In late 1940, he became spokesman of the antiwar America First Committee. He soon became its most prominent public spokesman, speaking to overflowing crowds in Madison Square Garden in New York City and Soldier Field in Chicago. Lindbergh argued that America did not have any business attacking Germany and believed in upholding the Monroe Doctrine. President Roosevelt publicly criticized Lindbergh's views on neutrality. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Lindbergh sought to be recommissioned in the USAAF. The Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, declined the request on instructions from the White House. He worked as an engineering consultant during most of the War. He showed Marine Vought F4U Corsair pilots how to take off with twice the bomb load that the fighter-bomber was rated for and on May 21, 1944, he flew his first combat mission: a strafing run with VMF-222 near the Japanese garrison of Rabaul. In his six months in the Pacific in 1944, Lindbergh took part in fighter bomber raids on Japanese positions, flying about 50 combat missions (again as a civilian). On July 28, 1944, during a P-38 bomber escort mission with the 433rd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, Fifth Air Force, in the Ceram area, Lindbergh shot down a Sonia observation plane piloted by Captain Saburo Shimada, Commanding Officer of the 73rd Independent Chutai. After the war, while touring the Nazi concentration camps, Lindbergh wrote in his autobiography that he was disgusted and angered.
After World War II, he lived in Darien, Connecticut and served as a consultant to the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force and to Pan American World Airways. With most of Eastern Europe having fallen under Communist control, Lindbergh believed most of his pre-war assessments were correct all along. But Berg reports after witnessing the defeat of Germany and the Holocaust firsthand shortly after his service in the Pacific, "he knew the American public no longer gave a hoot about his opinions." His 1953 book The Spirit of St. Louis, recounting his nonstop, transatlantic flight, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1954, and his literary agent, George T. Bye, sold the film rights to Hollywood for more than a million dollars. Dwight D. Eisenhower restored Lindbergh's assignment with the U.S. Air Force and made him a Brigadier General in 1954. In that year, he served on the Congressional advisory panel set up to establish the site of the United States Air Force Academy.
Charles was hurt by Anne's three-year affair in the early 1950s with her personal doctor. It is said that Lindbergh had seven illegitimate children from affairs. From 1957 until his death in 1974, Lindbergh had a relationship with German hat maker Brigitte Hesshaimer (1926–2003) who lived in a small Bavarian town called Geretsried. On November 23, 2003, DNA tests proved that he fathered her three children. The two managed to keep the love affair secret; even the children did not know the true identity of their father, whom they saw when he came to visit once or twice per year using the alias "Careu Kent." Brigitte Hesshaimer's daughter Astrid later read a magazine article about Lindbergh and found snapshots and more than a hundred letters written from him to her mother. She disclosed the affair after both Brigitte and Anne Morrow Lindbergh had died. At the same time as Lindbergh was involved with Brigitte Hesshaimer, he also had a relationship with her sister, Marietta (born 1924), who bore him two more sons. Lindbergh had a house of his own design built for Marietta in a vineyard in Grimisuat in the Swiss canton Valais. Two of the seven children were from his relationship with the East Prussian aristocrat Valeska, who was Lindbergh's private secretary in Europe. They had a son in 1959 and a daughter in 1961. She had been friends with the Hesshaimer sisters and was the one who introduced them to Charles Lindbergh. In the beginning, they lived all together in his apartment in Rome. Ten days before he died in August 1974, Lindbergh wrote three letters from his hospital bed to his three mistresses and requested 'utmost secrecy'.
Over the course of their 45-year marriage, Charles and Anne lived in New Jersey, New York, England, France, Maine, Michigan, Connecticut, Switzerland, and Hawaii. Lindbergh spent his final years on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where he died of lymphoma on August 26, 1974 at age 72. He was buried on the grounds of the Palapala Ho'omau Church in Kipahulu, Maui. As for Anne, after suffering a series of strokes in the early 1990s, which left her confused and disabled, Anne continued to live in her home in Connecticut with the assistance of round-the-clock caregivers. During a visit to her daughter Reeve's family in 1999, she came down with pneumonia, after which she went to live near Reeve in a small home built on Reeve's Vermont farm, where Anne died in 2001 at the age of 94 from another stroke.
As for the book, Cemetery John, Zorn thinks he has discovered the other kidnapper(s) in John Knoll. He makes a good case. It was pretty obvious that Hauptmann (if he was involved) was not alone. But once he was taken into custody, all investigations stopped and no one else was ever caught. Zorn's book was easy to read, interesting and presented his case well.
Does John Knoll look more like the "John" that Dr. J.F. Condon described who met him at St. Raymond's Cemetery and took the ransom money?
John Knoll met and married his 2nd wife, Lilly Karg. It was said that it was not a happy marriage and that John Knoll was abusive to his first two wives. John and Lilly left New York and moved in with his sister and her husband in St. Clemens, Michigan shortly after Hauptmann was arrested.
Here is a photo taken on the S.S. Manhattan in December 8, 1934. They left for Germany 3 1/2 weeks before Hauptmann went on trial. John and Lilly are seated behind this table of women. He doesn't look very happy. His new wife is wearing a black dress with a sequinned collar.
Lilly Karg Knoll looking nervously at her husband.
John Knoll came back to America in February, 1935 just days after the conviction of Hauptmann. Lilly didn't come back with him as she had found out she was pregnant. In August, 1935 she gave birth to their son, John Robert "Bobby" Knoll in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Lilly stayed with John until their son was 8 months old. She then left him and took their son back to Germany. She stayed there for at least 10 yrs. John Knoll married a 3rd time to a woman named Ida who was 7 years older than Knoll. This marriage lasted.
(Thanks to Wikipedia for most of this information!)
My own questions:
* If Bruno Richard Hauptmann was a trained and experienced master carpenter why would he build such a rickety ladder? It was made in 3 sections (which indicates 3 people carrying it from the car). Once they decided to go ahead with the plan, they only used 2 sections. Why? If they had used all 3 sections, the baby might not have died. With 2 sections the person to receive the baby was stretching it to the limit.
* Was the plan to snatch the child from the Morrow estate but then the child wasn't there? If so, how did they know the child wasn't at the Morrow estate? How did they know the interior and workings of the Morrow estate? It was much better fortified against intruders. It makes more sense for them to try it at the Lindbergh estate, Highfields. If Highfields was always the original plan, how did they know Anne and the baby were there?
* It was supposedly a raw, windy night. If the kidnapper came up the ladder, into the room, how come there was no noise to alert Charles? If the kidnapper was alone, how could he have handled getting back out the window with the baby and without noise? If an accomplice had followed him up the ladder, then he handed the baby out to the accomplice. Then he would have had to scurry out the window and down the ladder? But he left the ransom note on the windowsill? Why not leave it on the crib, the table, the mantle? But they left it on the windowsill where wind could have knocked it down?
* Did someone sneak in the house, up the stairs and take the baby and then hand the baby out the window to an accomplice? If so, why not take the baby back out the way he came in?
* Evidently the baby was dropped from the window either accidentally while handing the baby out or the baby was thrown to someone below and he was missed and hit the ground. Did this fall kill the baby? Or didi it injure the child and then the baby was killed by panicked kidnappers? Or did the baby fall at all? Maybe the kidnappers bludgeoned the baby to kill him and it was intentional homicide all along. Maybe they never intended to keep him alive.
* What were they going to do with a live, kidnapped 20 mos old child? Did they have women involved to care for the child (as the ransom notes said)? If so, who? Anna Hauptmann doesn't seem to have been involved, John and Walter Knoll were not married at the time. Any household staff (like Violet Sharpe) would have been a suspect if she turned up missing after a successful kidnapping. Who was suppose to care for the kidnapped baby boy after the snatch?
* Why didn't the baby make any noise? Did they chloroform the baby to insure quiet? An awake baby grabbed and shoved in a burlap bag, handed out the window on a cold, windy night would have started screaming and Charles would have heard.
* How did the kidnappers know the family would be at Highfields? They weren't living there yet and usually only spent a weekend. It was unpredictable that the baby would get sick and Anne would keep Little Lindy at Highfields. They may have thought Charles wasn't suppose to be at home and yet, he flew in and drove home and was home in time for dinner. But, even if Charles hadn't been home, there was still Anne, Betty Gow, the butler and his wife, the housekeeper. It wasn't like the child was unprotected. Highfields might have been an easier target for insertion and extraction but how did they know the family was there? These kidnappers were from NY. Had they been making trips to survey the place. Even if they did, how did they know the family would be there that night?
* Who wiped the entire nursery down to get rid of all fingerprints? According to reports there were NO fingerprints in the entire nursery? That would have taken some time wouldn't it. If they knew enough about fingerprints (and they must have since they wiped it down) then why not wear gloves so they wouldn't have to take the time to wipe down the room.
* The ransom notes that had the peculiar signature started with the one left in the nursery. The unique signature was a smart move to weed out any and all the crazies that did come out with confessions, fake ransom letters, hoaxes, etc. Also the idea of hiding the child with 2 women on a boat was pretty brilliant. No one would have thought of this and the boat would have been a move-able location. Always on the move, never in one place at a time. This indicates some thought and intelligence and yet, the letters were badly spelled, poor grammar and word usage. From the phrases and words, it was deduced that they were written by a German immigrant (to me it seemed Italian). The notes often said the kidnap plot had been planned for a year. How could they plan it when the Lindberghs were building their house, not living in it fulltime? They were off schedule when the baby was taken? Why did the kidnappers take the baby that day? Why not the normal Saturday or Sunday they had been there? Who called and told the kidnappers that "tonight is the night?" Who planned this? Who had the smarts to plan this and yet wrote such bad notes? Someone that spoke like the notes and was an insider in the household would have been a pretty obvious suspect. Some say the bad spelling and grammar were faked to cover intelligence but they were always the same. Wouldn't there be a slip up in all the notes that were received? Doesn't the consistency speak for the writer being poorly educated in English?
* How did they know where the nursery was in the house? They didn't search the house looking for the baby, they went right to the nursery. The ladder was placed outside the nursery window.
* Why didn't they wait until later in the night when everyone was asleep? Why take the chance of a kidnapping when Charles was awake and reading right below the nursery. There were no curtains so the light would have shown through the windows below the nursery and they still used a ladder just outside the window where Charles was reading?
* If they didn't expect Charles Lindbergh to be home that night why didn't they withdraw when he did come home? Why risk so much? If they had waited a year why not wait until another time or at least a few more hours until everyone was asleep?