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Embed Code. Width in pixels px. Height in pixels px. Copied to your clipboard Unable to copy. Cancel Submit Report. More Specials Right. Special 47m 13s. Special 39m 51s. When he saw the pictures of the wooden ladder used by the kidnappers, Koehler knew he could make that wood talk. After nearly two years on the case, he was able to provide damning evidence by explaining the origin of the wood, the way it was used, and a piece of wood found in Bruno Hauptmann's attic that perfectly aligned with a piece missing from the ladder.

Hauptmann was found guilty, and Koehler was considered a new Sherlock Holmes. Framing the story around the kidnapping case, Schrager has written a much-needed biography about Koehler and his important work in the early days of forensic science. Dynamic and compelling, Schrager's book is a perfect read for anyone interested in the history of criminal justice.

Plenty of intriguing yet tragic details come to light in this chronicle of the kidnapping and murder of Charles A. Lindberg Jr. Schrager, a winner of more than 20 Emmys for his work as a producer and reporter for Wisconsin Public Television, painstakingly profiles the players involved, the surrounding media frenzy which H. Mencken dubbed "the biggest story since the Resurrection" , the police inquiry, and the forensic science that finally, after a two-year investigation, fingered Bruno Richard Hauptmann as the culprit. In particular, Schrager focuses on Arthur Koehler, a wood technologist with the U.

Forestry Service and his research in xylology, the study of wood. It was Koehler's crackerjack work with the only piece of evidence at the crime scene—a ladder—that led investigators to the Bronx and to Hauptmann, or—more precisely—his garage, where a cut plank in the attic matched the wood used to build the ladder.

Based on the evidence, Hauptmann was found guilty and executed. Casual readers might find Schrager's account overly detailed and repetitive, but for those who have an interest in the Lindbergh kidnapping, this is a comprehensive addition to the literature about the case. Gow then alerted Charles Lindbergh, who immediately went to the child's room, where he found the kidnapper's ransom note in an envelope on the windowsill; the note contained bad grammar and handwriting.

He then took a gun and went around the house and grounds with butler Olly Whateley. They also found a baby's blanket. Hopewell Borough police and New Jersey State Police officers conducted an extensive search of the home and its surrounding area. After midnight, a fingerprint expert examined the ransom note and ladder; no usable fingerprints or footprints were found, leading experts to conclude that the kidnapper s wore gloves and had some type of cloth on the soles of their shoes.

The brief, handwritten ransom note was riddled with spelling mistakes and grammatical irregularities:. Dear Sir! Have We warn you for making anyding public or for notify the Police the child is in gut care. Indication for all letters are Singnature [Symbol to right] and 3 hohls. At the bottom of the note were two interconnected blue circles surrounding a red circle, with a hole punched through the red circle and two more holes to the left and right.

Word of the kidnapping spread quickly. Hundreds of people converged on the estate, destroying any footprint evidence. Military colonels offered their aid, although only one had law enforcement expertise— Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf , superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. Lindbergh and these men speculated that the kidnapping was perpetrated by organized crime figures. They thought that the letter was written by someone who spoke German as his native language.

At this time, Charles Lindbergh used his influence to control the direction of the investigation. They contacted Mickey Rosner, a Broadway hanger-on rumored to know mobsters. Lindbergh quickly endorsed the duo and appointed them his intermediaries to deal with the mob.

Several organized crime figures — notably Al Capone , Willie Moretti , Joe Adonis , and Abner Zwillman — spoke from prison, offering to help return the baby in exchange for money or for legal favors. Specifically, Capone offered assistance in return for being released from prison under the pretense that his assistance would be more effective. This was quickly denied by the authorities. The morning after the kidnapping, authorities notified President Herbert Hoover of the crime. At that time, kidnapping was classified as a state crime and the case did not seem to have any grounds for federal involvement.

Attorney General William D. Mitchell met with Hoover and announced that the whole machinery of the Department of Justice would be set in motion to cooperate with the New Jersey authorities. Customs Service , the U. Immigration Service and the Washington, D. On March 6, a new ransom letter arrived by mail at the Lindbergh home.


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The letter was postmarked March 4 in Brooklyn , and it carried the perforated red and blue marks. A third ransom note postmarked from Brooklyn, and also including the secret marks, arrived in Breckinridge's mail. The note told the Lindberghs that John Condon should be the intermediary between the Lindberghs and the kidnapper s , and requested notification in a newspaper that the third note had been received.

Instructions specified the size of the box the money should come in, and warned the family not to contact the police. During this time, John F. Condon received a letter reportedly written by the kidnappers: It authorized Condon to be their intermediary with Lindbergh. Following the kidnapper's latest instructions, Condon placed a classified ad in the New York American reading: "Money is Ready. Jafsie " [18] Condon then waited for further instructions from the culprits.

A meeting between "Jafsie" and a representative of the group that claimed to be the kidnappers was eventually scheduled for late one evening at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. According to Condon, the man sounded foreign but stayed in the shadows during the conversation, and Condon was thus unable to get a close look at his face. The man said his name was John, and he related his story: He was a "Scandinavian" sailor, part of a gang of three men and two women.

The baby was being held on a boat, unharmed, but would be returned only for ransom. When Condon expressed doubt that "John" actually had the baby, he promised some proof: the kidnapper would soon return the baby's sleeping suit. The stranger asked Condon, " On March 16, Condon received a toddler's sleeping suit by mail, and a seventh ransom note.

No cops. No secret service. I come alone, like last time. The ransom was packaged in a wooden box that was custom-made in the hope that it could later be identified. Some sources credit this idea to Frank J.

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Wilson , [21] others to Elmer Lincoln Irey. On April 2, Condon was given a note by an intermediary, an unknown cab driver. The man accepted the money and gave Condon a note saying that the child was in the care of two innocent women. On May 12, delivery truck driver Orville Wilson and his assistant William Allen pulled to the side of a road about 4.