The Lindbergh Baby | Who Kidnapped and Killed Charles Lindbergh III
“Greg was representing some person we’d arrested for a series of thefts,” remembers Monier. “He was very unassuming, almost a hayseed. Then he started to argue.”The outcome? “He won,” says Monier. ”I’d like to think we’ve evened the score since then.”
A few years later Monier turned to Ahlgren when his father, a prominent politician, needed an attorney. In 1982 Robert Monier gave up his position as president of the state senate to run for governor. In the middle of the Republican primary, he was accused of conspiring to funnel bank funds into political campaigns by a bank official who had himself been arrested for embezzlement.
Ultimately the accusations proved to be false. But the damage was done. Once the front-runner, Monier lost the primary to John Sununu, who became governor. At his son’s urging, Monier hired Ahlgren to file a civil suit against the bank official for damages. Monier’s father committed suicide before the trial. Still, Ahlgren went ahead and won a $100,000 judgment for the estate. Says Monier: ” It was one of the best-tried cases I’ve ever seen.”
Despite their professional ties, Monier and Ahlgren never became social friends. Still, during courthouse breaks and the occasional lunch, they discovered that both were avid readers with eclectic tastes.
“Steve’s not your typical, single-minded cop,” says Ahlgren. ” I guess I thought maybe there was enough of a bizarre component to him that he would read the article.”
When he did, Monier, too, was troubled by Lindbergh’s involvement in the investigation. As a former juvenile officer, Marlier knew recent FBI crime statistics showed that over 70 percent of the homicides involving children under nine years old are committed by one or both parents. Yet as far as Monier could tell, neither Lindbergh was ever a suspect. It appeared the police assumed from the outset that there had been a kidnapping and then handed over the reins.
“Something’s not right here,” Monier told Ahlgren.
The two men checked out everything the local libraries had to offer on the Lindbergh case, from biographies to contemporary news accounts to the trial transcripts. Monier’s search took him to St. Anselm’s College, Ahlgren’s to the large public library in Manchester. Now and then they shared their discoveries over the phone.
“Maybe you guys’ll write a book,” Ahlgren’s wife said. At the time, they laughed at the suggestion. But they didn’t stop reading. By fall, simple curiosity had become an obsession.