Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Lindbergh Kidnapping

The Theft of the Eaglet

The remains of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr.
The remains of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr.
The child's body was face downward, covered with leaves and insects. It was little more than a skeleton, the outline of a form in a dark, murky heap of rotting vegetation. The left leg was missing from the knee down, as were the left hand and right arm. Most of its organs were gone, scavenged by the animal life dwelling in the wooded area. It had decomposed so completely that it was not possible at first to determine whether it was a boy or a girl. The cause of death was a massive fracture of the skull. The tiny body had been left to the elements for two to three months. Less than twenty-four hours later, and an hour after it had been identified as Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. by his nurse and father, the body was cremated. Seventy-three dramatic days of waiting had come to an end.

Charles A. Lindbergh Jr.
Charles A. Lindbergh Jr.

Now, men and women, as I told you before, there are some cases in which a recommendation of mercy might do, but not this one, not this one. Either this man is the filthiest and vilest snake that ever crawled through the grass, or he is entitled to an acquittal. If you bring in a recommendation of mercy, a wishy- washy decision, yes, it is your province, I will not say a word about it. I will not say another word. But it seems to me that you have the courage. If you are convinced, as all of us are —you must find him guilty of murder in the first degree.

David T. Wilentz, Attorney General of New Jersey, in his summation to the jury, February 13, 1935.

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