The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax
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On June 10, 1932, Violet Sharp, an employee of the Morrow household, committed suicide. She swallowed poison rather than face the harsh re-questioning by relentless authorities who hounded her. Later, however, an investigation was said to prove that she was not the abductor of the Lindbergh baby even though many people still wonder if she actually knew the truth and committed suicide because of such knowledge.
Violet Sharp was a twenty-eight year-old English woman who worked as a
serving maid for the Morrows.
The strange photo (untouched) on the right was submitted by John Overall to the LKH Public Forum and has been the center of much debate concerning Violet's gender.
It appeared in the first edition of Whipple's book "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case."
The photo below was submitted by Shayne Davidson to the LKH Public Forum.
It is copied from the www.Corbis.Com website which is a remarkable depository of original photographs relating to this case.
Mrs. Morrow had employed her for two years. Violet was hired when she first arrived in New York from Toronto. She was a hard worker and well-liked by the other staff members. She was admired so much by the butler, Septimus Banks, that many believed he might even propose to Violet.
On March 10, Violet Sharp was scheduled for police questioning. Without Violet's knowledge, the police searched her living quarters before questioning her. Violet had many names and addresses, business cards, letters, and a savings account book which showed her savings to be sixteen hundred dollars. With a salary of only a hundred a month, some speculated how she could save that much money in only two years. She was, however, known for saving most of her money, her friends claimed.
Officers asked her what she did on March 1, but she said her affairs were "private." She said that on Tuesday March 1 Anne Lindbergh called the Morrow household to ask for Betty Gow to return to Hopewell because the baby had a cold.
She said she and an "acquaintance" went out at eighty-thirty. They were accompanied by another couple - Violet couldn't remember the couples' names nor could she remember the name of her acquaintance or where they all had gone.
The police put her down as a suspect.
(During all of this time the cops never asked Charles Lindbergh where HE was the day of his son's disappearance. He couldn't remember what he did or where he went when finally asked this important question at Hauptmann's trial. Yet, no one thought it strange at all that the father of the missing child had NO alibi nor was it strange to anyone that he hadn't even been asked.)
On April 13, Inspector Walsh requested another interview with Violet. Now Violet remembered more. She said that they went to the Peanut Grill, a roadhouse. Walsh said that he could not believe that a female would accompany three strangers to a roadhouse. Violet was angered by the statement and the thought that he would not believe her story.
Violet then gave a more detailed story of the events of March 1. She said on a Sunday afternoon a man waved at her sister, Emily, from a green Nash Sedan as the sisters were talking a walk. Violet thought that the man was someone on the Morrow staff and returned the wave. The man pulled alongside Violet and Emily, and Violet then noticed she did not know the man. 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 again. Violet agreed and gave him the Morrow number.
The following Tuesday, March 1, the man called her and asked if she wanted to go to a movie. She said that the man introduced her to another couple who accompanied them to the Peanut Grill. She said that they danced. She drank coffee while the others drank beer. Violet only returned home a few minutes before eleven. Soon thereafter, the telephone rang to inform the Morrow household of the kidnapping.
Motorcycle photos below are from Violet's personal Scrapbook at the NJ Police Archive. The woman is believed to be Violet's sister but the man is yet unknown. The photos were provided by Mark Falzini.
Walsh then asked the names of the three people she accompanied to the Peanut Grill. She said she could not remember their names, except her acquaintance Ernie. She described Ernie as tall and thin. She said he had fair colored hair and a fair complexion. He wore a gray hat, navy-blue suit, and a dark gray overcoat. The girl was in her early twenties. She was very pretty, had a dark complexion, and was medium in height. The man she was with was also young, was short, and had fair-colored hair. The girl, Violet said, asked, "How is Lindy's baby?" during their engagement at the Peanut Grill.
The police kept her on the suspect list. Why would Violet date a stranger when she never did before? And when she was about to be asked for her hand in marriage by Septimus Banks? Also, why, on April 6, had her sister Emily left for England without informing the police and knowing that the baby had yet to be found?
Violet could not be questioned later because she entered Englewood Hospital on May 11. Her doctor said that she had problems with her adenoids and tonsils. (Some suspect it may really have been an abortion.) On May 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 Walsh scheduled another interview for May 23. This time she told a different story. Police asked which story was correct- she said the April 13 story. She lied while telling the March 10 story. She said she could not justify her lying except that she was nervous. Walsh then bombarded her with a series of questions, pressing her for the truth.
On June 9, Walsh again questioned Violet. This time, he brought along a photograph of Ernest Brinkert and asked Violet if this was the Ernie she dated on March 1. Violet agreed. Brinkert was the man the police discovered while investigating the business cards found in Violet's room. Brinkert was known as a petty thief. Police believed they found Ernie.
Violet's questioning was scheduled for another day; however, she never was re-questioned. She vowed that the authorities would "never question... again!" She poisoned herself in her room, walked down to a chambermaid, Emily Kempairien, started to speak, but fell forward. Violet was dead.
The police wondered why Violet would commit suicide if she had nothing to hide. They began to investigate further. The Manchester Guardian, condemned the NJ Police
"They stand, or should stand, condemned in the eyes of all decent persons in the United States."
was condemned in the American press for his harsh tactics with the young maid.
The police put out a warrant for Ernest Brinkert. Ernest was eventually arrested, but upon Dr. Condon's strong evidence that Ernest was not "John", police were confused.
All of a sudden, however, a man named Ernest Miller, came forth claiming he was the Ernie that took Violet to the Peanut Grill. He had heard police were looking for an Ernie who dated Violet Sharpe from the Morrow household. Police then wondered why Violet agreed that Brinkert was the man she dated when he was not.
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