Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Eddie Cudahy and Pat Crowe

Chief Pleas, Pols Act

As spring approached, Omaha was in high dudgeon.

The City Council, noting the unenviable notoriety that had brought upon the city by the kidnapping, voted to match Cudahy Sr.s $25,000 reward.

Chief Donahue was subjected to further ridicule when it leaked out that he had a brought in a hypnotist to help find Crowe.

On March 3, he called reporters to his office for an optimistic spin on the search.

I believe that Pat Crowe will give himself up and that it will be shortly, Donahue said. He has been under cover now too long to suit his disposition. His natural inclination is that of a man who seeks companionship and who likes to move about. It is certain that he has been under the closest of cover ever since the Cudahy kidnapping. With the country flooded as it is with descriptions of the man and the reward offered for his capture and indictment, it is by no means possible that he can be or has been enjoying any sort of freedom.

Donahue went on, I would not be surprised at any time to see Pat Crowe walk into my office. He has known me for years. He knows that I have always been on the square. I have befriended him in the past and will befriend him now to the extent of doing all in my power to see that he gets justice.

The chief seemed to be begging, with good reason. Crowe had written a series of letters to Donahue and Cudahy Sr. He protested the reward and was outraged that Cudahy had hired Pinkerton detectives, whom he considered mercenaries.

Meanwhile, Nebraska politicians looked into state law and were shocked to discover that neither of its two abduction statutes applied in the Cudahy case.

One law required transportation of an abduction victim across state lines. The second deemed kidnapping to be the abduction of a child under age 10.

Eddie Cudahy was 16 when he was snatched, and he had never been taken from the city of Omaha.

The legislators quickly passed several new kidnapping measures, including one introduced by Sen. Frank Ransom of Omaha that provided for life imprisonment for extortion of money in a kidnapping and capital punishment if kidnappers harm a victim. Another law extended the definition of kidnapping to anyone under 18.

Kansas, Illinois, Missouri and a number of other states passed laws that allowed the death penalty for kidnappings. But none of the tough new laws could be applied retroactively to the elusive Pat Crowe.

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