Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Eddie Cudahy and Pat Crowe

Into the Dark Countryside

As instructed, Edward Cudahy set out in his carriage at 7 p.m., pointing his horse west into the dark countryside on a 31-degree, moonless night. Cudahy took along Paddy McGrath, his head cattle buyer. Police did not interfere.

The horse pulled the carriage one mile, then two, then three. Cudahy and McGrath reined the horse to a stop several times, believing they must have missed the lantern and gone too far.

But they continued west nearly another four miles before spotting a dull glow beside the road on the far side of a bridge over the Little Papio Creek.

As they drew up beside the lantern, McGrath jumped out and checked for decorative ribbons on the bail, as described in the ransom note. Finding everything in order, they left the $25,000 suitcase beside the light.

Cudahy placed a brief note atop the ransom loot. He pointed out that he had complied with their requests and demands to the very letter and ... expected them to keep their part of the bargain.

He and McGrath bridled the horse around and headed back toward town. They were back at the Cudahy home by 9:30. Eddies two younger sisters were sent to bed, and Cudahy, McGrath and a few close friends sat and waited.

At 1 a.m., a side door into the kitchen creaked open. Footsteps padded into the parlor. It was Eddie, released safe and sound, as promised.

Eddie Cudahy with his sisters
Eddie Cudahy with his sisters

In an extra edition, the World-Herald gushed, Marvelous as some tale from a red or blue fairy book is the tale about the abduction of Edward Cudahy Jr. for whose safe restoration his father declares he paid 25 thousand dollars in gold. Like a romance of the elder Dumas it divides itself into five grand divisions - the abduction, the letter, the quest, the payment of the ransom, and the restoration ... In the history of the City nothing like this ever occurred before.

The paper didnt know the half of it. Young Eddie was restored, but the story of the Cudahy kidnapping was just beginning.

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