For parents faced with the nightmare of a child snatched by a stranger, a ransom note left in the empty bassinet can serve as a beacon of hope. An abductor who leaves a ransom note, they may reason, did not kidnap the child on a perverted impulse — once the ransom is paid, the family is reunited with their child and the terror is over. Though it may seem that a child is safer in the hands of someone using him as collateral, ransom situations often end in tragedy. Here are five famous ransom notes from the cases that captivated America.
In the first recorded kidnapping for ransom in U.S. history, brothers Charley and Walter Ross were kidnapped while playing outside their family’s Philadelphia mansion on July 1, 1874. The kidnappers let Walter go, but Charley’s body was never found. Two days after the kidnapping, the boys’ father, Christian Ross, received the note seen above. It was followed a few days later by another note demanding $20,000, which Ross tried to pay by following the enclosed instructions but was unable to contact the abductors.
“Mr. Ross- be not uneasy you son charly bruster he al writ we as got him and no powers on earth can deliver out of our hand. You wil hav two pay us befor you git him from us. an pay us a big cent to. if you put the cops hunting for him yu is only defeeting yu own end. we is got him fitt so no living power can gits him from us a live. if any aproch is maid to his hidin place that is the signil for his instant anihilation. if yu regard his lif puts no one to search for him you money can fech him out alive an no other existin powers don’t deceve yuself and think the detectives can git him from us for that is one imposebel
yu here from us in few day”
On March 1st, 1932, Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., was kidnapped from the New Jersey home of his parents, aviators Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. This note was discovered in an envelope on the windowsill of the child’s nursery. It was followed by others, all postmarked from Brooklyn, and all bearing the distinct signature. Despite the Lindberghs’ efforts to pay the ransom, on May 12, the body of little Charles was discovered not far from the family’s home.
Have 50.000$ redy 25.000$ in
20$ bills 15.000$ in 10$ bills and
10.000$ in 5$ bills After 2–4 days
we will inform you were to deliver
We warn you for making
anyding public or for notify the Police
The child is in gut care.
Indication for all letters are
and three holes.”