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The Lindbergh Baby | Who Kidnapped and Killed Charles Lindbergh III

The Lindbergh Baby | Who Kidnapped and Killed Charles Lindbergh III
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Ahlgren understood then why the prosecution hadn’t called Lupica. Hauptmann’s car had New York plates.Something else Lupica said made both of their pulses race: He wasn’t sure, but Lupica thought the car was a Dodge because it had a distinctive grille and no hood ornament. The other car with a distinctive grille and no hood ornament was a Franklin, the same car Lindbergh drove.

When their book Crime of the Century: The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax was published last spring by Branden Books, a small Boston publisher, Ahlgren and Monier were suddenly thrust into the public eye. They did more than 100 radio interviews and took a trip to New York, where Arthur Miller interviewed them for “Court TV.” An Associated Press story was published around the country.

Not all the reactions were positive. Reeve Lindbergh, a 47-year-old writer living in northern Vermont, thought the book was a cruel attack on her parents. “Yes, my father had a fine sense of humor,” she told The Boston Globe. “But to suggest he was capable of murder is unthinkable.”

Geoffrey C. Ward, who scripted a PBS “American Experience” segment on Lindbergh, agreed. “It seems to me obscene to blame the father of a murdered child for the murder without any evidence at all,” says Ward, who concluded Hauptmann was guilty as charged.

Yet Ahlgren and Monier aren’t alone. In January, Atlantic Monthly Press published Lindbergh: The Crime, an account of the case by Noel Behn, the best-selling author of Kremlin Letter and The Brink’s Job. According to Behn, who says he obtained access to Governor Hoffmann’s papers during the eight years he spent researching his book, the child was killed by one of Anne Lindbergh’s close family relatives. “A cover-up,” he says, “was orchestrated by Lindbergh.”

In the meantime, Ahlgren and Monier have received letters and calls from the descendants of domestic help and bluecollar workers from around Hopewell. Most, like the daughter of an airplane mechanic, claim that their parents had told them over the years that Lindbergh was somehow involved in the death of his son. “Every time the subject of Hauptmann came up,” the woman wrote, “my dad would say, ‘They killed an innocent man. Lindbergh did it.’ ”

They know the case may never be resolved. “When I lay awake at night,” says Monier, ”I’d like a better resolution. There are just too many unanswered questions.”

Ahlgren believes they could get an indictment against Lindbergh based on their research. “But I don ‘t know if we could get a conviction,” he says.

Monier agrees: “You’d be taking on a giant.”

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