5 Surprising Facts About the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping

On March 1, 1932, the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped from his crib on the upper floor of the home. Here are five surprising facts you didn’t know about the kidnapping of the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh.


Lindbergh Paid $50,000 in Ransom to the Kidnapper Just after the baby’s kidnapping from his second-floor nursery on March 1, 1932, a ransom note demanding $50,000 was found on the windowsill of his room. Arrangements were made with a local doctor to act as the go-between to comply with the kidnapper’s demands. The doctor paid the money to an unknown man in the Bronx in early April. A search was conducted to find the baby after the kidnapper told the doctor that the baby was onboard a boat in Massachusetts. However, after an exhaustive search of every port, there was no sign of either the boat or the child.  

Gold Certificates Tied Hauptmann to the Murder and Kidnapping Plot When Lindbergh decided to pay the $50,000 ransom, the FBI made sure the payment was trackable. The serial number of every bill was recorded, and most of those bills were gold notes. On September 15, 1934 a Manhattan gas station attendant was handed one of those gold notes. He took down the license plate number of the motorist who paid him with it — and the next morning, police tracked the plate back to Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who had $14,600 in Lindbergh ransom bills hidden in the frame of his garage.


A Truck Driver Found the Baby’s Body On May 12, 1932, the baby’s body was discovered by a delivery truck assistant named William Allen around four miles from the estate of the Lindbergh family. Allen walked into a treed area to relieve himself and spotted the child’s body. He and the other man in the truck, Orville Wilson, drove to Hopewell, New Jersey, to notify police. Time magazine pointed out that if Allen hadn’t gotten out of the truck and gone into the woods, police would have still been looking for the child. The examination by the coroner showed the infant had died several months prior. The cause of death was a blow to the head.

The Man Arrested for the Kidnapping Had a Long Criminal Record Bruno Hauptmann, arrested as a suspect in the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh, Jr., had a long record back in his native Germany for burglary. On his record was an incident where he entered the second story of a house by using a ladder, which was similar to how the Lindbergh baby was taken. Although Hauptmann maintained his innocence until the end, he was executed in the electric chair for the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder on April 3, 1936.

The Case Inspired Federal Legislation On June 17th, 1932 — three and a half months after Charlie’s kidnapping — the 72nd Congress passed the Federal Kidnapping Act, or the “Lindbergh Law,” which made the transportation of abductees across state lines a federal crime that was punishable, in especially heinous cases, by death. President Hoover signed the bill into law on June 22, which would have been Charlie’s second birthday.