On May 21, 1924, two wealthy and academically gifted teenagers kidnapped and killed 14-year-old Bobby Franks, the son of Chicago millionaire Jacob Franks. The abductors, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, mailed the Franks family the above note, signed “George Johnson.” Before the Franks had a chance to pay the ransom, Bobby’s body was discovered. Leopold and Loeb had poured hydrochloric acid on it to hinder identification. When asked, both admitted they had killed their victim for the thrill, and not for the ransom money.
Dear Sir: Proceed immediately to the back platform of the train, watch the east side of the track, have your package ready, look for the first LARGE red brick factory situated immediately adjoining the tracks on the east. On top of this factory is a large black water tower with the word CHAMPION written on it. Wait until you have completely passed the south end of the factory, count five very rapidly and then immediately throw the package as far east as you can. Remember, this is the only chance to recover your son.Yours truly,GEORGE JOHNSON
On July 4, 1956, one-month-old Peter Weinberger was kidnapped from the patio of his Long Island, NY, home. This note was discovered by his mother inside Peter’s empty baby carriage. Desperate to get their child back, the Weinbergers, who, unlike the Franks and the Lindberghs, were not wealthy, contacted police despite the kidnapper’s warning. Based on a handwriting analysis, authorities zeroed in on Angelo LaMarca, a former bootlegger. LaMarca had not shown up at two arranged meetings to collect his ransom and return the baby, later citing that he was scared off by the media attention. On August 23, LaMarca was arrested and confessed to abandoning the still-living baby along a highway. His decomposed remains were later discovered in that area.
Attention: I’m sorry this had to happen, but I am in bad need of money, & couldn’t get it any other way. Don’t tell anyone or go to the police about this, because I am watching you closely. I am scared stiff, & will kill the baby at your first wrong move. Just put $2000 (two thousand) in small bills in a brown envelope, & place it next to the sign post at the corner of Albemarle Rd. and Park Ave. at exactly 10 o’clock tomorrow (Thursday) morning. If everything goes smooth, I will bring the baby back & leave him on the same corner “Safe & Happy” at exactly 12 noon. No excuses, I can’t wait! Your Baby sitter.