Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Kidnapping and Murder of Brooke Hart

'We Tossed Him Into the Bay!'

Thurmond was taken over to the San Jose jail where he was questioned by police and FBI agents. At first, he denied any involvement in the kidnapping and said he was on the phone with a friend whose name he couldn't remember. Then he changed his story and said he was talking to his mother. But FBI agents would not relent and soon, Thurmond gave in. "This subject was thoroughly questioned from eight o'clock Wednesday night, November 15, 1933," the FBI reports read, "until about 2:30 a.m...he finally admitted that he had been mixed up in this scheme to kidnap Brooke Hart and outlined briefly that he and...Jack Holmes...had kidnapped Hart and driven him up to the San Mateo bridge where they had bound him up...and tossed the victim into the San Francisco Bay."

San Matteo Bridge, from which Hart was thrown.
San Matteo Bridge, from which Hart
was thrown.

Thurmond gave a detailed description of the crime and police learned for the first time that Brooke had been killed within an hour after the abduction at the parking garage. As Brooke got into his car, Holmes, armed with a handgun, was already waiting for him by the exit gate. When Brooke slowed for the exit, Holmes jumped in the Studebaker and plunged the gun into the young man's side. "I was parked in Jack Holmes' Chevrolet Coach on Market Street," Thurmond told police, "and I saw Jack Holmes drive by in Brooke Hart's Studebaker Roadster and according to directions, I followed that car." About ten miles from San Jose, in a town called Milpitas, they pushed Hart into the back of the Chevy and drove to the San Mateo Bridge.

"Brooke Hart was ordered out of the car," Thurmond said, "Jack Holmes walked back of the car and...hit him over the head with a brick I had obtained in San Jose before we started...Hart hollered "Help! Help! ' but Jack Holmes hit him over the head again with the brick and knocked Brooke Hart unconscious. And then I took some bailing wire and bound his arms around his body and his abdomen...Jack Holmes then took hold of the upper part of Brooke Hart's body and I took hold of him from his knees down and together we lifted him on to the railing of the San Mateo bridge and tossed him into the bay...he struggled slightly."

Thurmond continued on, detailing all the letters and phone calls he and Holmes had made to the Hart family. He also told police that Holmes was staying at the California Hotel right in San Jose and as far as he knew, Holmes was there right now. FBI agents and police then took Thurmond to the hotel. It was nearly 4:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. The agents had Thurmond knock on the door several times. After a minute or two, a voice was heard behind the door.

"Who is it?"

"It's me, Harold!" replied Thurmond. Police heard the door being unbolted and as soon as it opened, they rushed in. Jack Holmes, still in his underwear, was pounded to the floor and taken into custody.

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