Did Hauptmann Kidnap and Kill the Lindbergh Baby Part 3
About the famous Lindbergh baby kidnapping, whether Bruno Hauptmann was guilty of kidnapping and murder, other possible suspects.
Did Hauptmann Really Kidnap and Kill the Lindbergh Baby?
Who was responsible for the Lindbergh kidnapping? Scaduto believes several people were involved. One possibility lies in the confession of Paul H. Wendel, a disbarred attorney with known connections to Isidor Fisch. Wendel gave the following story to detective Ellis Parker just prior to Hauptmann's execution: Determined to prove his superiority as a criminal mastermind, Wendel had watched the Lindbergh house and followed the family's movements for months before the kidnapping. He put together a makeshift ladder, and on Mar. 1 he used it to climb to the nursery window while the Lindberghs were in another part of the house. Upon entering the nursery, he smeared paregoric on the baby's mouth to make sure the child continued to sleep, and then put the boy in a laundry bag and slipped down the stairs and out the back door. Wendel stated that he had negotiated the ransom and given the money to Fisch to pass off as counterfeit bills. Later, Fisch refused to return any of the money and threatened Wendel with exposure. Wendel had kept the Lindbergh baby in his home, where his wife and daughter cared for it until the child fell and suffered a fatal skull fracture. Wendel later claimed he had been kidnapped and coerced into confessing. Ironically, Parker and his son were convicted of Wendel's kidnapping--under the newly enacted Lindbergh Law.
Apart from Wendel's confession, police had believed from the beginning that more than one person was involved in the kidnapping. Scaduto uncovered police reports stating that several sets of footprints were found outside the Lindbergh house on the night of the kidnapping. Dr. Condon testified that in a conversation with the kidnapper he had heard a voice in the background say "shut up" in Italian, and it was undisputed that an Italian woman had given him a note detailing the meeting time and place for the payment of the ransom money. Both Condon and Lindbergh gave detailed descriptions of an Italian who had acted as lookout at the cemetery where the ransom money was delivered to the kidnapper. Shortly after payment of the ransom demand, official belief in a kidnap gang was proved by the arrest of John Curtis, who told Lindbergh his son would be returned for an additional $25,000. In June, 1932, Curtis was convicted of obstructing justice because he had been "in contact with the kidnappers" and "did not disclose their whereabouts."
Police were also convinced that the kidnapping had involved at least one of Lindbergh's 29 servants, and Scaduto was able to find a cafe owner who identified Fisch as having had several meetings in his establishment with Lindbergh's maid and butler (the maid, Violet Sharpe, committed suicide after being questioned by the police regarding her movements prior to the kidnapping).
Although Scaduto is unable to piece together a full picture of the crime that took place over 40 years ago, he provides convincing evidence that Hauptmann was not involved and that prosecution witnesses, police officers, state attorneys, and even Hauptmann's own defense attorneys all took part in suppressing and distorting evidence that would have established more than a reasonable doubt as to Hauptmann's culpability. In Scaduto's view, Hauptmann was the victim of a miscarriage of justice--a scapegoat tragically sent to his death.
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