The Lindbergh Kidnapping Story Breaks: New York Times Report on Tuesday, March 1, 1932
On a cold rainy night, Tuesday, March 1, 1932, in the remote rural area near Hopewell, New Jersey, Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., twenty months old, was kidnapped. Sometime between 8:00 p.m., when his nurse, Betty Gow, checked on the sleeping baby, and 10:00 p.m., when she once again checked on him before retiring for the night, "The Eaglet" (as the newspapers called him) had been removed from his crib.
The only remembered event that indicated that something had gone amiss was earlier, about 9:00 p.m., while the Lindberghs were sitting in the living room. Col. Lindbergh had heard a noise that sounded as if an orange crate had fallen off a chair in the kitchen.
At 10:25 p.m., Ollie Whately, the Lindbergh caretaker, called the Hopewell Police, and shortly thereafter Col. Lindbergh called the New Jersey State Police. In the cold dark, Lindbergh hunted for signs of the kidnapper, carrying his Springfield rifle. He could see nothing. A number of State Police officers were on the scene, when around midnight their chief, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, arrived to take command.
An investigation outside the house revealed a broken three-piece homemade extension ladder. The side rails of the middle section were split, suggesting that the ladder broke when the kidnapper descended with the baby. Investigators also discovered a chisel and large footprints leading away from the house in a southeasterly direction. In a remarkable oversight, the footprints were never measured.
By the next morning, word of the kidnapping had been broadcast to the world and reporters, cameramen, curious onlookers, and souvenir hunters swarmed over the Lindbergh estate. Any evidence not yet retrieved by police was lost in the stampede.
by Douglas Linder
by Douglas Linder