At approximately 10 p.m. on March 1, 1932, the Lindberghs' nurse, Betty Gow, found that 20-month-old Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr. was not with his mother, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who had just come out of the bathtub. Gow then alerted Charles Lindbergh, who immediately went to the child's room, where he found a ransom note, containing bad handwriting and grammar, in an envelope on the windowsill. Taking a gun, Lindbergh went around the house and grounds with family butler, Olly Whateley; they found impressions in the ground under the window of the baby's room, pieces of a wooden ladder, and a baby's blanket. Whateley telephoned the Hopewell police department while Lindbergh contacted his attorney and friend, Henry Breckinridge, and the New Jersey state police.1
A brief, handwritten ransom note was found on the window sill of the baby’s room. It had many spelling and grammar irregularities:
Dear Sir! Have 50.000$ redy 25 000$ in 20$ bills 15000$ in 10$ bills and 10000$ in 5$ bills After 2–4 days we will inform you were to deliver the mony. We warn you for making anyding public or for notify the Police the child is in gut care. Indication for all letters are Singnature and 3 hohls.2
On March 2, 1932, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover got in contact with the Trenton New Jersey Police Department. He told the New Jersey police that they could contact the FBI for any resources and would provide any assistance if needed. The FBI did not have federal jurisdiction, until on May 13, 1932 President Herbert Hoover declared that the FBI was at the disposal of the New Jersey Police Department and that the FBI should coordinate and conduct the investigation. The New Jersey State police offered a $25,000 reward for anyone who could provide information pertaining to the case. On May 12, the child's corpse was discovered by a truck driver by the side of a nearby road.3
After a two year investigation, in September 1934, a German immigrant carpenter named Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested for the crime. After a trial that lasted from January 2 to February 13, 1935, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Despite his conviction, he continued to profess his innocence, but all appeals failed and he was executed in the electric chair at the New Jersey State Prison on April 3, 1936. Newspaper writer H. L. Mencken called the kidnapping and trial "the biggest story since the Resurrection". Legal scholars have referred to the trial as one of the "trials of the century". The crime spurred Congress to pass the Federal Kidnapping Act, commonly called the "Little Lindbergh Law", which made transporting a kidnapping victim across state lines a federal crime.4
What is a “ransom?” Webster’s Dictionary says a ransom is “a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity.” The Biblical definition is, “a means of deliverance or rescue from punishment for sin, especially the payment of a redemptive fine.” The ransom for baby Lindbergh was never paid to the kidnapper but for you and me, the ransom has been paid. Christ Jesus paid it! 1 Timothy 2:5, 6 tells us, “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.” The wages of sin is death and as sinners, we deserved to die. Christ Jesus was our ransom. By His blood He bought us from death and hell.
In 1865 by Elvina M. Hall, a 47-year-old widowed congregant, wrote the beloved hymn, Jesus Paid It All. She got it right when she wrote, “Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.”5
I’ve been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Ransom paid!
1Gill, Barbara (1981). "Lindbergh kidnapping rocked the world 50 years ago". The Hunterdon County Democrat, Aiuto, Russell. "The Theft of the Eaglet". The Lindbergh Kidnapping. TruTv. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012.
2Zorn, Robert (2012). Cemetery John: The Undiscovered Mastermind of the Lindbergh Kidnapping. The Overlook Press. p. 68.
3Gardner, Lloyd (2004). The case that never dies: the Lindbergh kidnapping. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press
4 Linder, Douglas (2005). "The Trial of Richard "Bruno" Hauptmann: An Account". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Archived from the original on 9 July 2009.
5"Hymns / Music :: Jesus Paid It All". Jesus Paid It All. Retrieved 2022-04-03.