The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax 

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                                                 Lindbergh Archivist  Discovers  NEW EVIDENCE 

another prank?         the mother       father       the nursemaid     

 the butler       nursemaid's statement to police        Chief Williamson's Story

grandfather's will        floorplan    LKH  Forum arguments    

 Ransom Kidnapping in America 

 early hours of the case as reported by the AP 

 story reported by NY Times 3/2/32

(click thumbnail photos w/blue frames to see larger photos)

hopewell.jpg (99953 bytes)

  Charlie disappeared between the hours of 7:30 and 10:00 PM from his crib on the second floor nursery of his isolated home, Highfields, situated on almost 400 acres of isolated land in Hopewell, New Jersey.

The  child's nursemaid, Betty Gow, along with the child's mother,  Anne Morrow Lindbergh, prepared him for bed  in a homemade flannel shirt beneath a brand new sleeping suit at 7:30 PM. 

The shirt was created from an old nightgown belonging to Betty and is on view at the W Trenton Police Museum.  It was used to identify the remains of the child when found on May 12. 

8/20/03  Forensic Evidence Removed By American Lindbergh Family 

 sleeping suit.jpg (67314 bytes)Betty discovered the child missing at 10:00 PM when she entered the darkened nursery to check up on him as she was supposed to at precisely 10:00 PM.   She immediately realized that she was unable to hear the usual sounds of the child breathing.




floorplan.jpg (75720 bytes)


 click here  to read Betty Gow's entire  Statement to Police  

Betty immediately asked Anne, who had just come out of the bathtub, "Do you have the baby?" When Mrs. Lindbergh confirmed that she did not have the child both women instinctively assumed that the father of the baby might be playing another prank on them. 

Two months earlier Lindbergh pretended the child had been kidnapped and allowed the panic - stricken household to search for half an hour before revealing his prank

He had hidden his child, age 18 months at that time, in the trash closet! As a joke.

On this night, Tuesday March 1, 1932  Betty ran downstairs to Charles Lindbergh, sitting alone in his study directly underneath the nursery and asked, "Mr. Lindbergh, do you have the baby? Please do not fool me!" 

Lindbergh darted upstairs, never even entering the baby's room to look under the crib or in a closet. In their bedroom Anne watched as he retrieved and loaded a shotgun from the closet.  Then, brandishing this gun over the baby's empty crib he proclaimed to his wife, in earshot of the nursemaid:  

 "Anne, they have kidnapped our baby!"

FATHER IN CONTROL     Immediately Lindbergh took charge. He told his wife and the nurse to remain in the nursery. They continued to search it thoroughly in the hope that he was wrong or playing another "joke."  Lindbergh ordered Oliver Whateley, the butler, to call the police, a very strange request for a distraught father.  The butler telephoned the police and was then ordered by Lindbergh to go out of the house and buy batteries for the flashlight.  

Lindbergh then called his lawyer, Henry Breckenridge,  and afterward, the State Police in Trenton.  He told the Police that his son, 20 months old, was kidnapped and was wearing a sleepingsuit. He had not seen his son, supposedly, in two days. How did he know what his son was wearing when he was "kidnapped"?  By everyone's account, including his own, he had NOT looked at the child after returning home that evening. 

The police finally arrived

 Lindbergh claimed to discover a sealed envelope on the window sill of the nursery. nurserynote.jpg (66187 bytes) He gave orders to the household ( and to police officers!) NOT to  open it and it would take several hours for it to be opened . He showed no concern for  knowing what the supposed kidnappers wanted in return for his child.

The envelope had no writing on it  yet Lindbergh claimed it was the ransom note left by  kidnappers. After several hours, when the envelope was, finally,  opened it would, of course,  turn out to be a ransom note.  

Whether it was a legitimate demand by a real kidnapper or simply a hoax by the father of the missing baby (a la Ramsey "kidnapper" ) remains a big question. 



Anne was somehow able to write a very calm and detailed account of  the earliest moments of Charlie's disappearance. The  entire letter, written to Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh,  her mother- in- law who lived in Detroit, can be found in Anne's diary from that period  - 

 Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead, (Harcourt Brace 1973)  

It was dated Wednesday, March 2, 1932 and the letter starts with a warning to her husband's mother to please  " destroy after reading. "

"At 7:30 Betty and I were putting the baby to bed. We closed and bolted all the shutters except on one window where the shutters are warped and won't close." 

She says that Betty went in to the nursery again some time between 7:45 and 8:00 but he was  " fast asleep and covered." 

"Charles was late in coming home, not till 8:20. Then we went upstairs. He washed his hands in the bathroom next to the baby's- we heard nothing- perhaps because of the water. Then downstairs to supper at about 8:35 to 9:10 (at this time Betty was still eating her supper- we were all in the west wing of the house). At 9:10 Charles and I went upstairs. Charles ran a bath, then went down again. I ran a bath. No noise heard. From about 9:30 to 10 Charles was in his study, right next to the window under the baby's; no ladder could have been put up then. Betty and Elsie were upstairs still in the west wing."

windownew.jpg (60189 bytes)She tells her mother-in-law that  

Betty "thought Charles had taken him for a joke. I did, until I saw his face." 

and she describes the situation like this:

1- A well-made small pair of ladders, found to the left of the house, evidently built and planned for that exact height window; 

2- mud on the sill of the window with the shutters unbarred;

 3- and a letter on the sill telling us that the baby would be taken good care of, that they wanted several thousand dollars, divided into three divisions, that they would let us know in four days where to leave the money. 

Experts found the ladder, bedclothes, window, and letter had been handled with gloved fingers.

Also footsteps below the window.

 "Their knowledge of our being in Hopewell on a weekday. (We have not done it since last year and only stayed down because the baby had a cold. However, Tuesday, and Monday too, he had no temperature and was cured Tuesday really. We planned to take him to Englewood Wednesday.)

 Their knowledge of the baby's room, the lack of fingerprints, the well-fitted ladder, all point to professionals, which is rather good, as it means they only want the money and will not maliciously hurt the baby."

"Charles is marvelous- calm, clear, and observing." 

THE BUTLER  O liver Whateley's statement  to Capt. Brady of the Jersey City Police, Lt. Bornmann of the NJSP and Lt. Sweeney of the Newark Police on  March 3, 1932. 

"When I got upstairs in the nursery the Colonel was there and he told me to hurry and call the police in Hopewell, which I did.  I went back upstairs to the nursery and the Colonel told me to help him search the house which we did. Failing to find the child the Colonel and I went out and searched the grounds and came back in about 10 or 15 minutes after failing to find any trace of the child and my wife was upstairs with Mrs. Lindbergh. During the excitement and up until the arrival of the police which I think was about 10:45 P.M. I noticed that Betty appeared to be truly distracted and appeared to be genuinely upset and was crying." 

 Whately died before Hauptmann was arrested and was unable to be a witness at Hauptmann's trial.


THE NURSEMAID'S ACCOUNT    I opened the door, crossed the room , closed the French windows, plugged in electric heater and then crossed to the baby’s cot, which is at the wall furthest from the windows. There was also a screen at the head of the baby’s cot.
I crossed to the baby’s cot and discovered that I couldn’t hear the baby breathing.
I thought that something had happened to him, that perhaps the clothes were over his
head. In the half light I saw he wasn’t there and felt all over the bed for him.

I went into Mrs. Lindbergh’s room through the passage and asked her if she had the baby. I said “Do you have the baby, Mrs. Lindbergh?” and she replied,
“No.” She was just coming out of The bathroom door.

I said, “Perhaps Colonel Lindbergh has him then.” I said, “Where is Colonel Lindbergh?” as she looked at me in a bewildered way. I ran downstairs,
stood at the door of Colonel Lindbergh’s study, the door was open (door which leads into the living room); I went through the living room. 

The Colonel was sitting at his desk, the desk reading light was lighted. I said, “Colonel Lindbergh, have you got the baby, please don’t fool me.” He said, “The baby? Isn’t he in his crib? I said, no.

He jumped up and run upstairs. I followed the Colonel and saw him coming out of a closet out of his room with his rifle. Colonel Lindbergh, Mrs. Lindbergh and I went back to the    baby’s room and Colonel Lindbergh spoke to Mrs. Lindbergh.

nursery.jpg (27491 bytes)   As I remember he said, “Anne, they have stolen our baby.”
We stood at the top of the stairs when he told me to call Whately and tell him that he wanted him. I ran downstairs in the kitchen where Mr. and Mrs. Whately were and said, “Whateley, 

Colonel Lindbergh wants you at once, the baby is gone.”
Whateley, immediately ran upstairs, Mrs. Whateley and I followed him.
Mrs. Whateley said, “What’s happened, Betty, what's happened?” I just replied,
“The baby has gone.” We all search all around the House, the closets and drawers,
in the cellar and attic and everywhere. This must have been about quarter after ten. When we couldn’t find the baby in the house the Colonel told Whateley to call the police."


Intriguing Thoughts from Researchers on the LKH Public Forum 

Sue Campbell
Charles E. Williamson's Story
Sun Apr 7 18:29:59 2002

New York Evening Journal
March 2, 1932


"The tragic scene of those first few minutes after the Lindbergh infant's kidnaping was vividly described by Deputy Police Chief Charles E. Williamson, of Hopewell, N.J., one of the first officers to reach the home.


His story follows:

"I was in my home last night about 10:20, when the telephone rang. The person at the other end of the line said 'will you please hurry over?' I asked if it was the Colonel himself talking, and he said, 'no, this is the butler. I'm speaking for him.'

I asked if Col. Lindbergh was there. The butler replied in the affirmative, and I told him I would be there in a few minutes. I picked up Chief Harry Wolf and we sped over to the house.

Col. and Mrs. Lindbergh and several others met us at the door. They ushered us into the living room, where the Colonel told us what happened.

Both were standing up well under the circumstances, and while we questioned them for a few minutes they sat in chairs, close to each other. Col. Lindbergh was the calmest of the two, although Mrs. Lindbergh did not cry. She cried after we left, I was told.

Col. Lindbergh took us out in the yard, and we found the ladder, about fifty feet from the house. Both Colonel and Mrs. Lindbergh accompanied us up to the nursery room.

Col. Lindbergh told me that he knew as soon as the report came to him that the baby was gone, that he had been kidnaped. I asked the Colonel if he had heard any unusual noise. He replied that he had not heard any noise except the wind blowing around the house.


While we were outside we followed footsteps for a distance and decided that the kidnap car must have been parked on Featherbed Lane (the road leading to the Lindbergh estate).

There were car tracks on this past the old bridge, on the dead end of the road. The footprints led across the field.

Col. Lindbergh said he could see no reason why anyone should want to kidnap his baby. I pointed out to Mrs. Lindbergh that there were no clothes gone from the bed.

Mrs. Lindbergh said: 'The poor child has had a cold and will suffer. We have been doctoring the baby for several days.'

I asked Colonel Lindbergh if he suspected anyone. He replied: 'No'

Colonel Lindbergh said the nurse last saw the child between 7:30 and 7:45. As we stood in the room he pointed to the unlocked window and said: 'They must have gotten in through that window.'


Mrs. Lindbergh, during our questioning, interrupted and asked the colonel: 'Don't you think we should notify our mothers immediately?'

Mrs. Lindbergh then took the phone and called her mother at Englewood, and a few minutes later placed a long-distance telephone call to Detroit, and talked to Colonel Lindbergh's mother.

I stepped out of the room while she was calling, but I did hear her say when she reached her mother: 'Our baby has been kidnaped.'

I told Mrs. Lindbergh that from the preparations made, the kidnapers must have been professionals, determined to get the child at any cost. 'Yes,' she replied, 'and it probably would have happened even if we were at mother's.'

The Colonel then asked if we ought to look around some more at the footprints in the mud or should we wait for the State troopers. I replied, 'I guess we'd better wait, for the troopers will be here any minute.'

Sue Campbell
Lost Weekends
Sun Aug 26 2001

"The Lindberghs February visits to the Hopewell house were irregular.

Every account of the crime speaks about the Lindberghs consistency of spending weekdays at Next Day Hill and then spending the weekends in Hopewell.

This is from Noel Behn, page 28:

"It was already Tuesday, and Lindbergh was still at his house he and Anne were building near Hopewell. The family had never been there on a Tuesday before. Because construction was incomplete, they only spent the weekends -- ALWAYS arrived on Saturday morning with the baby, ALWAYS departed Monday morning. There was no secret that Lindbergh was a creature of habit, an automaton when it came to maintaining patterns he had set."

Charles, in his statement to the police says,
"...we frequently spent our weekends on our farm."

But he goes on to say that,

"We had not been at the farm for two weeks prior to the kidnapping and originally expected to return to Englewood Monday morning."

They HAD NOT been in Hopewell two weekends in a row before the last weekend in February. And on that last weekend, they broke their routine further by STILL being there on a Tuesday.

If a stalker WAS watching the Lindbergh's movements in February how could he count on a good time to strike?

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