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  #21  
Old 04-12-2013, 10:29 PM
kidtwist kidtwist is offline
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I quite liked The Case that Never Dies: The Lindbergh Kidnapping by Lloyd G. Gardner.
I prefer books like this one that aren't peddling a particular theory.

Last edited by kidtwist : 04-12-2013 at 10:33 PM.
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  #22  
Old 04-12-2013, 10:30 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louisa View Post
During the trial when Hauptmann was asked if he made the ladder he replied (with derision) 'I am a carpenter'.
Does that mean "I am a carpenter so of course I made the ladder" or "I am a carpenter so of course I wouldn't make such a crap ladder"?
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  #23  
Old 04-12-2013, 10:30 PM
kidtwist kidtwist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Does that mean "I am a carpenter so of course I made the ladder" or "I am a carpenter so of course I wouldn't make such a crap ladder"?
The latter.

I believe the line got a big laugh at the trial.
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  #24  
Old 04-13-2013, 09:07 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Another fascinating detail in the case is the suicide of the Lindbergh baby's nanny, Betty Gow. There have been many differing interpretations given to it.
It was actually Violet Sharpe, who was a housemad at Lindbergh's in-laws' house in Englewood NJ, who committed suicide for reasons never established.

On the night of the kidnap Lindbergh said he heard a noise like 'an orange crate' being broken up, and when the ladder was discovered it was broken at the top joint (it was in three sections, presumably to ease transportation). It was suggested that the ladder broke under the weight of the kidnapper who was carrying the baby, which he dropped to its death on the ground below. It is also interesting the the kidnapper(s) sent the baby's sleeping-suit to the Lindberghs presumably to prove that the baby was still alive. The remains of the baby found in the grounds at a later date was not wearing a sleeping-suit, only a flannel shirt which its nurse, Betty Gow, claimed to have made.

Even though Hauptmann considered himself a skilled carpenter, there seemed little point in producing a ladder which was a masterpiece of the joiner's craft if it were to be used only once. It is also significant that Hauptmann stopped working shortly after the kidnap, but continued to enjoy a relatively affluent lifestyle.

Regarding books, Ludovic Kennedy's The Airman And The Carpenter is a good read, but presumes from the start that Hauptmann was innocent and was stitched up. The Case That Never Dies is also worth reading.

G
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  #25  
Old 04-13-2013, 11:29 AM
louisa louisa is offline
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I am going from memory now, from an old Murder Casebook about this case.

Am I right in thinking that Ann Lindberg had a sister who was, to put it in basic terms, as mad as a box of frogs? Some kind of mental disorder anyway. I believe the sister lived with the Lindberg's and on one previous occasion they had found their baby in the dustbin where the sister had put him.

The thinking was that maybe the sister had committed this murder and the family decided to cover it up. They could not afford the scandal.
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  #26  
Old 04-13-2013, 01:15 PM
RavenDarkendale RavenDarkendale is offline
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We can draw some conclusions:

1) An innocent baby was murdered and discarded in a shallow grave like it was garbage

2) Kidnappers sent ransom notes anyway, knowing the baby was dead, thus creating the cruelty of false hope

3) The ransom money was paid, in gold certificates that were being replaced by silver ones to help find the kidnapper if all else failed

4) Hauptman had some of these marked gold certificates.

5) The ransom notes were in his writing, syntax, and spelling. I have read that the handwriting match was controversial, with some experts convinced Hauptman wrote the ransom letters, and some convinced that it wasn't his writing but an imitator

6) Haptman's trial was something of a farce, with his guilt predetermined.

7)Hauptmann's fingerprints were not on the wood, even in places that the man who made the ladder would have had to touch. The prosecution refused to believe this and had the ladder wiped clean so they could claim the prints were there.

8) Hauptmann turned down a $90,000 offer from a Hearst newspaper for a confession and refused a last-minute offer to commute his execution to a life sentence in exchange for a confession.


9) A man who could very well have been innocent was executed

10) Lindbergh, America's Hero, said that he could find "no honorable alternative" to resign his commission as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps after President Roosevelt had publicly questioned his loyalty be cause he said, "America does not have any business attacking Germany." He supported what he called "limited suppression of the Jewish people" which included executions to thin the herd, but thought Hitler insane and the Final Solution going too far and too cruel.

11) To this day, people claim to be the Lindbergh baby.

Closing interesting fact: Lindbergh had three secret families, and had three children by one lady, two by her sister, and two by a third woman. He and his wife Ann Morrow had five other children besides Lindbergh, Jr. Go figure
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Last edited by RavenDarkendale : 04-13-2013 at 01:35 PM.
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  #27  
Old 04-13-2013, 02:30 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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My only problem with family cover-up theories, even though a lot of them make sense, is that I don't see the family dumping their baby in the dirt like that. I don't see someone who cared for that child doing that, so that includes the household staff that would most likely be involved. Which isn't to say it was a stranger, but if it was Charles, Anne, or the nanny, I see the child being disposed of with more respect and care. Wrapped in a blanket, placed where he would be found easily so they could bury him properly. That's what I would expect.
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  #28  
Old 04-13-2013, 04:10 PM
The Good Michael The Good Michael is offline
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One reason I think Hauptmann acted alone in the kidnapping is because the ladder was left at the scene. This was presumably a folding ladder and if there had been two men on the job, why not take down the folding ladder. It was brought there so why not fold it up and bring it back. I think it was because the lone kidnapper's hands were full.

Mike
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  #29  
Old 04-13-2013, 04:46 PM
Archaic Archaic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Good Michael View Post
One reason I think Hauptmann acted alone in the kidnapping is because the ladder was left at the scene. This was presumably a folding ladder and if there had been two men on the job, why not take down the folding ladder. It was brought there so why not fold it up and bring it back. I think it was because the lone kidnapper's hands were full.
That's certainly possible.

But once the kidnapping was achieved, even if it was 2 men, their goal would be to get away from the crime scene as fast as possible.

So why bother running with a cumbersome folding ladder that had already broken?

Hauptmann seemed to be an intelligent man, and a skilled carpenter. One would think he would know how to build a ladder that could at least bear his weight. The fact that it didn't bear a man's weight is why the baby's head was badly injured, causing his rapid death, and obviously jeopardizing the entire ransom concept.

I don't think the baby's death was intended. In such a high-profile and high-risk crime one would think the plotters could have come up with a more reliable ladder- the whole plot of kidnapping the baby from his room depended on the ladder.

The whole case is very convoluted.

As has been mentioned, the public, the media, and law enforcement were highly prejudiced against Hauptmann from the start. Besides being an immigrant, he was actually a veteran of WWI, having been drafted into the German Army. The horrors of WWI were a very recent memory for the American public, as they were for the whole world. German military aggression was blamed as the cause of the war, and the many millions of deaths. So being both an immigrant and an "enemy Hun" only increased the prejudice against Hauptmann.

Best regards,
Archaic

PS: Thanks Graham, you're right, it was Violet Sharpe who committed suicide, not Betty Gow. I was going from memory. Some people thought Violet and a "young man" might have been involved in the kidnapping; hence her suicide when it all went wrong and the baby died. Not sure if any researchers still believe that today; do you know?
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  #30  
Old 04-13-2013, 04:52 PM
The Good Michael The Good Michael is offline
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Archaic,

The ladder was a pretty inventive thing. It must have taken quite a bit of time to build it. Why leave something that can be traced? And it was traced and was connected to Hauptmann. I think two men would have easily dismantled it and put it pack in the truck they must have brought

Mike
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