Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Greenlease Kidnapping

The Ransom Demand

Robert Greenlease called the Kansas City police chief minutes after he learned of the kidnap, and cops alerted the Postal Service to be on the lookout for any mail addressed to the family. The ransom note was improperly addressed to 2600 Verowa in Kansas City, Mo., not 2920 Verona Road in Mission Hills, Kansas. But it was close enough. Robert and Virginia Greenlease were holding the ransom note just hours after Hall mailed it. It read:

Your boy has been kidnapped get $600,000 in $20s $10s Fed. Res. notes from all twelve districts we realize it takes a few days to get that amount. Boy will be in good hands when you have money ready put ad in K.C. Star. M will meet you in Chicago next Sunday signed Mr. G.

Do not call police or try to use chemicals on bills or take numbers. Do not try to use any radio to catch us or boy dies. If you try to trip us your wife and your child and yourself will be killed you will be watched all of the time. You will be told later how to contact us with money. When you get this note let us know by driving up and down main St. between 39 and 29 for twenty minutes with white rag on car aeriel [sic].

The note continued on the other side of the paper:

If you do exactly as we say and try no tricks, your boy will be back safe within 24 hrs after we check money.

Deliver money in army duefel [sic] bag. Be ready to deliver at once on contact.


$400,000 in 20s

$200,000 in 10s

Three of Robert Greenleases business associates, Robert Ledterman, Nobert ONeill and Stewart Johnson, moved into his home and began assembling the ransom money through a family friend, Arthur Eisenhower, a Kansas City bank executive and brother of President Dwight Eisenhower.

FBI agents carefully recorded the serial numbers of all 40,000 bills in the ransom money 20,000 each of $20 and $10.

On Tuesday, the day after the kidnapping, Ledterman placed the ad in the Star with the coded message indicating the money was ready. Meanwhile, Hall apparently realized that he had used the wrong address on the first ransom note, so he sent a second letter on Tuesday that was received the same day.

It began, You must not of got our first letter. That letter was an abbreviated version of the first, with the same basic instructions. The envelope contained Bobbys Jerusalem medal.

The Greenleases were confused by the second letter since they had placed the ad in the Star, as directed. They wanted the kidnapper to know they were willing to cooperate, so Robert Greenlease stepped out of his house on Tuesday afternoon to speak with the crowd of reporters gathered there.

We think they are trying to make contact, Greenlease said of the kidnappers. His voice cracked as he added, All I want is my boy back.

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