Eddie Cudahy and Pat Crowe
Should He Pay?
The kidnapper foresaw this possibility.
In the ransom note, he referred to what was then the most infamous kidnap case in American history - the snatching of Charley Ross, 4, in Philadelphia on July 1, 1874, by a man who used candy to entice the boy into a buggy.
His father, Christian Ross, a prosperous merchant, placed a newspaper ad offering a $300 reward. Soon came an unsigned letter - the first of 23 -that ultimately demanded $20,000 in exchange for the safe return of Charley.
Police cautioned Ross against setting a precedent by paying a ransom. Ross communicated with the kidnappers for months by answering their letters with newspaper classified ads. After delaying payment on the advice of police, the father ultimately decided to pony up the ransom. But by then his usual means of communicating with the captors through newspaper ads failed.
Charley Ross was never seen again. The
Ross died of a broken heart, sorry that he allowed the detectives to dictate to him, the kidnaper wrote. Mr. Cudahy, you are up against it, and there is only one way out - give up the coin. Money we want and money we will get. If you dont give up...you can lead your boy blind the rest of your days.
He told the papers, I wish you would say for me that I am willing to pay any reasonable reward for his recovery. As to what a reasonable reward would be, I cant exactly say. Almost any sum would be reasonable, perhaps. One cant estimate such things in dollars and cents.
He called Omaha National Bank and made arrangements for coachman Gray and another servant, Albert Sears, to pick up the gold coins that afternoon.
The money weighed nearly 100 pounds. No single bag would hold it, so the bank sent a clerk to a nearby store to buy a sturdy suitcase in which to carry it. The bank charged