British mystery queen Agatha Christie’s detective novel “Murder on the Orient Express” is a murder case that occurred on a train. The final outcome involves the kidnapping of Colonel Armstrong’s daughter Daisy. In the novel, Colonel Armstrong and his family are kind and helpful, and their little daughter Daisy is even more cute. However, such a cute little angel was kidnapped and killed at home.
The prototype case behind this story is the Lindbergh kidnapping case that has caused a sensation for half a century. The case not only inspired the creation of “Grandma”, but also prompted the US Congress to pass the famous federal kidnapping bill.
Please note that there are two
questions you need to answer in this case: question one key clue. The key evidence for the case to find out qualitative
question two sentencing basis. Given this legal basis for the decision.
(A) the merits of
Charles Augustus Lindbergh (also translated from the forest) is a famous American aviator, explorer, writer, because to fly a plane across the Atlantic in 1927 and became the name A noisy legend. This was the first time that a human was flying across the Atlantic without landing on its own. The 33-hour flight from New York to Paris also became the record for the longest continuous flight at that time and a milestone in aviation history.
After this feat, Lindbergh became a world celebrity with a large number of admirers, and was awarded the Congressional Medal by the President himself. The San Diego Airport was also named after him. In 1957, his legendary story was put on the screen and made into the movie “Lin Zizheng Kong Ji”, directed by the director of “Sunset Boulevard” Billy Wilder, starring Hollywood legend Stewart.
In July 1930, Lindbergh’s eldest son Charles Lindbergh III was born. In order to avoid harassment by the media and fans, the Lindbergh family moved to a mansion in New Jersey, USA. However, at about 10 pm on March 1, 1932, Betty, the nanny who took care of Charles, discovered that the child was missing.
Charles was only 20 months old at the time. Everything in the baby room remained the same, but the shutters of the room showed obvious signs of damage. There was a white envelope on the window sill. It demanded a ransom of $50,000 and could only use 20, 10 , 5 dollars in three denominations.
Lindbergh quickly called the police, and the police took immediate action. They checked suspicious vehicles across the state that night, but found nothing. The police also conducted a dragnet search near the scene of the crime, only to find a wooden ladder broken into three sections, a woodworking chisel and a few shoe prints. The police believed that the kidnappers used this wooden ladder to climb to Charles’s baby room on the second floor and stole the child. However, no fingerprints were found at the scene, and no fingerprints were left in the wooden ladder, chisel, blackmail letter, and baby room. The police investigated 29 servants who had worked at Lindbergh’s house, but no breakthrough was found.
Lindbergh did not want to wait for the police investigation and decided to pay the kidnappers. He issued a statement in the newspaper, expressing his willingness to pay the ransom privately and keep the secret. Until March 4, he received a second blackmail letter, and the other party raised the ransom to 70,000 US dollars.
The notes of the extortion letter were very scribble, and there were a lot of grammatical and spelling errors. After identification, the police believed that the two extortion letters came from the same person, and the kidnappers may be immigrants with non-native English.
Lindbergh commissioned Dr. Condon, a retired teacher, as an intermediary to contact the kidnappers. At the same time, Lindbergh began to raise a ransom. Congdon contacted the kidnappers several times through letters and phone calls, and even met him at Woodlawn Cemetery. He was finally scheduled to pay the ransom at Raymonds Cemetery on the evening of April 2. For the safety of the children, Lindbergh rejected the suggestion of police tracking or ambush. After receiving the ransom, the kidnapper told the child that he was on a boat near Hosneck Beach.
Lindbergh immediately went to Hosneck Beach, but did not find the child. Lindbergh patrolled the entire wharf by plane, and the United States even dispatched naval fighters and coast guards. After several days of searching, there was still no gain.
On May 12, when a truck driver was passing through the woods near Rose Mountain, he found the body of a child. The location is just over 6 kilometers away from the Lindbergh home where the crime was discovered. The carcass was highly decomposed, and the limbs were severely eaten by animals. Coarse sack and children’s clothes were also found beside the body, which was identified as the clothes that Charles was wearing when he disappeared. The autopsy proved that there was a blood clot in the child’s skull. The death was caused by a large-scale fragmentation of the skull. The time of death was the night the child disappeared.
The police believe that the kidnappers may have packed the child into a coarse cloth bag. When climbing down the nursery, the wooden ladder broke and the coarse cloth bag fell and the child’s head hit the concrete wall of the house. The police continued to investigate Lindbergh’s servant while analyzing the physical evidence. At first, they suspected Betty, the nanny, because she knew best about the life of the child and she had also worked in Detroit, where there was a famous kidnapping gang. After dispelling Betty’s suspicion, the police focused on a maid named Sharp because she was too nervous during the interrogation and many questions could not be justified. When the police searched, they found that she had a $1,600 passbook. In the end, Sharp committed suicide under pressure. The police found during further investigation that Sharp was in an underground bar on the night of the incident and there was evidence of alibi.
The police also turned to the US National Forest Products Laboratory to analyze the wood slices and found that the wooden ladder was made of wood of 4 different materials, and the 16th beam had 4 nail holes arranged in a square. This piece of wood may come from indoors, because there is no rust in the nail holes and the wood has no traces of erosion by wind and rain. Therefore, it is very likely that the kidnappers made wooden ladders on the spot. Through the investigation of the timber company, the police found the same wood, but because the timber company had no record of the purchaser, the clue was interrupted again.
In October 1933, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) took over the case from New Jersey. It was not until September 15, 1934, two years after the incident, that when the bank was counting the banknotes, it found a gold dollar coupon with a registered number.
When Lindbergh raised the ransom that year, in order to leave clues for solving the case in the future, he registered all the ticket numbers with the police. This golden round coupon is one of the honorariums paid by Lindbergh. Through the bank, the police found the person who saved the money. This person came from a gas station. The person at this gas station recalled that at that time, a man only added 98 cents of gasoline, but paid the bill with a $10 golden voucher. He was worried that he might encounter counterfeit bills, so he wrote down the license plate number of that person.
The police quickly found the owner of the car-Bruno Hopman, a German immigrant, a carpenter, and a record of multiple burglaries. Living address is not far from Woodlaw Cemetery where Congdon first met the kidnappers, and only six kilometers away from Raymonds Cemetery where the ransom was paid. The police secretly monitored Hopman, and Hopman was soon discovered that he tried to escape but was eventually caught by the police. Then the police found more than 10,000 U.S. dollars in his home and found other evidence.
(C) the truth
FBI lab 8 handwriting expert to blackmail were identified, of which seven are considered to meet the Hopman handwriting. The grammatical and spelling errors in the blackmail letter are the same as Hopman’s usual habits. For example, write “later” as “latter” and “our” as “ouer”.
The police found that the attic floor of Hopman’s house had obvious gaps, and the remaining part was the same as the 16th beam of the wooden ladder. The wood and patterns all matched, and there were the same nail holes. The cash found at Hopman’s house matches the three denominations of the ransom, and the number matches the ransom paid by Lindbergh. And Hopman’s source of income cannot explain this more than $10,000 in cash. In addition, on April 4, 1932, the third day after Lindbergh’s ransom was paid, Hopman quit his job and began to live a life of lavish money. According to the investigation, Hopman had a history of theft and used a wooden ladder in one case, similar to the method used in this case. The police found a wooden ladder design and a note with Dr. Congdon’s contact information in his home, but he denied knowing Congdon.
In February 1935, after 29 court sessions, 162 witnesses appeared in court and presented 381 pieces of evidence. The jury found Hopman guilty and guilty of first-degree murder. Hopman always refused to plead guilty, arguing that the money was left to him by a furrier who died in Germany. His wife also testified that he did not go out on the night of the crime, but the appeal was rejected. In the end, Hopman was sentenced to death and was sent to the electric chair in the New Jersey State Prison two years later.
This case had a profound impact on American justice. The U.S. Congress passed the Federal Kidnapping Act in 1932, which stipulates that kidnapping cases that have not been solved for more than a certain period of time can be directly taken over by the FBI. Because the Lindbergh kidnapping case led to this law, it is also called the Lindbergh Act (or Lindbergh Act).