5 Things You Didn't Know About the Kidnapping of the Lindbergh Baby

On May 12, 1932, the body of the Lindbergh baby was found a few miles from the home of his parents, Colonel Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator, and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Find out how much you know about what was widely described as the crime of the century.


Lindbergh Paid $50,000 in Ransom to the Kidnapper # Lucky Lindy is standing in front of his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. Image source: WikiCommons Just after the baby’s kidnapping from his second-floor nursery on March 1, 1932, a ransom note demanding $50,000 was found on the windowsill of his room. Arrangements were made with a local doctor to act as the go-between to comply with the kidnapper’s demands. The doctor paid the money to an unknown man in the Bronx in early April. Although a search was conducted to find the baby after the doctor received a tip from the kidnapper that the baby was onboard a boat in Massachusetts, he wasn’t found.

The Baby’s Body Was Found by Accident # The kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby caused Congress to pass the Lindbergh law, which made it illegal to transport a kidnap victim across state lines. Image source: WikiCommons The baby’s body was discovered close to Mount Rose in New Jersey by a man named William Allen. It was identified by the coroner in Trenton the following day. The examination by the coroner showed the infant had died several months prior. The cause of death was a blow to the head.


Authorities Recorded the Serial Numbers of the Bills Paid in the Ransom The ransom for the child’s return had been paid using gold certificates, and the FBI issued pamphlets to its offices containing those numbers. On May 2, 1933, a New York bank discovered they were in possession of 296 of the gold certificates with $10 denominations and one gold certificate for $20. One of the deposit tickets was signed J.J. Faulkner with a New York address; however, that person was never located.

A Description of the Kidnapper Was Obtained Through the Passing of the Gold Certificates The go-between in the kidnapping, Dr. John Condon, had described the man he had met to pass the ransom money to, and the facial characteristics matched those of a man who had been passing the gold certificates in New York in August 1934 around Harlem and Yorktown. In September, a gas station attendant received one of the bills when the man paid for his gasoline, and it was traced to Bruno Richard Hauptmann in the Bronx.

$13,000 in Gold Certificates Tied Hauptmann to the Murder and Kidnapping Plot Authorities found around $13,000 in gold certificates at Hauptmann’s house that contained serial numbers which matched the ransom money, along with a vehicle that matched the description of the one seen the day before the kidnapping near Lindbergh’s home. Hauptmann, a carpenter from Germany, was arrested due to a large amount of circumstantial evidence—including Dr. Condon’s phone number, which was jotted down inside a closet in the house. He was found guilty of the child’s murder, and although he appealed to the Supreme Court, the verdict was not overturned. He was executed on April 3, 1936, for the murder of the Lindbergh baby.