Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Eddie Cudahy and Pat Crowe

'Nation's Leading Thrill'

Some Americans were scandalized at Cudahy Sr.s decision to pay the ransom.

The San Francisco Examiner waggled its editorial finger, saying, Mr. Cudahy had acted as a bad citizen because it will encourage others.

The Omaha Bee noted that Cudahy spoke in a nonchalant tone about paying the $25,000, as though he had just dropped a nickel down a cellar grating.

Edward Cudahy did not wring his hands over the decision. Instead, he pressed a search for the kidnappers, vowing to spend whatever it might take to bring them to justice.

He posted a $25,000 reward and hired the famed Pinkerton Detective Agency, at a cost of $1,000 per week, to lead the manhunt, which the World-Herald called the nations leading thrill.

Omaha in those days was a wide-open town teeming with raw Irish, Italian and Slavic immigrants, rugged cowboys, dusty farmers, wealthy cattlemen and beefy meatpackers. The men met, drank, argued and fought in the citys scores of saloons and brothels.

Cudahy hired the Pinkies because he did not believe Omaha police could solve the crime, whether due to corruption or incompetence. The agency proved worthy of his lack of confidence.

Police officers who investigated the scene of the ransom drop failed to turn up evidence. Yet a few days later two farm boys, Hans and Eggert Bock, poking about in the weeds there found the lantern that was used to mark the spot.

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