Charles Henry Ellerson calls his friend Duane Baker on afternoon of 3/1/32, tells him Highfields will be occupied that night, but Lindy will be in New York at a dinner. Baker deems this an ideal opportunity to kidnap the Eaglet in behalf of Al Capone. Baker's wife, a German immigrant, writes ransom note for his use (the ransom note is a red herring, designed to make the kidnapping seem to be about $50,000, when in fact the goal was to free Capone from prison in accordance with his offer). Baker and a confederate abduct the Eaglet, one entering the nursery and the other holding the ladder for security. The ladder breaks on the way down, the Eaglet is killed. Baker disposes of the body nearby (but not where it was later found). In May the body is moved to Mt. Rose Heights and a truck driver is told where to find it and report it as an accidental discovery, the reason being that the ongoing search was jeopardizing illegal booze traffic along the Hopewell-Princeton Road. Ellerson's car is used to transfer the body; because this might leave traces of the Eaglet's corpse in the vehicle, Ellerson drives it off a Palisades cliff, where it burns to a crisp as he escapes at the last second.
With the Eaglet dead, the kidnap gang disperses. Hauptmann and Fisch, with Baker and possibly others, see opportunity for extortion. Fisch, as Cemetery John, collects $50,000., keeps his share and distributes the rest to others . A year later FDR calls in gold certificates, which makes the ransom money "hot." Duane Baker, using name "J.J. Faulkner," which he took from the dumbwaiter roster at Plymouth Apartments (where he was superintendent), redeems about $3,000., then heads for the hills again.
Fisch discovers he has tuberculosis, leaves for Germany for treatment. Hauptmann holds his share of ransom money, which is of no value to Fisch in Germany. When Fisch dies, Hauptmann spends part of it, but retains about $14,000. when he is arrested. Hauptmann gives police the "Fisch story."
Hauptmann maintains his innocence, but is convicted of felony murder and sentenced to death. When he's offered a commutation in exchange for telling the whole "truth," he decides to die rather than reveal that Al Capone had hired the gang that kidnapped the Eaglet and name names. Presumably, this is because the Mafia had gotten word to him in prison that if the talked, his wife and son would be "sacrificed" and he'd have spent his life in prison without a friend in the world.
Dear Joe, Thanks for being from Canada, and communicating your thoughts clearly! It's not the quantity of the words; it's the quality of what gets conveyed! Most people have been processed through... more
No one at Highfields complicit in any way, no staged kidnapping/hoax. Conspiracy originates amongst the card players in Duane Baker's basement. Possible connection and inside information via the... more
Re: 85 Years Ago This Evening.. bob mills for joe and forum,Thu Mar 2 09:20
Hi Bob, Was the vehicle used to transport passengers to Highfields on February 27 and March 1 a Morrow-owned limousine or Henry's personal car? Dorothy Herrmann says Ellerson drove Miss Root, Anne,... more
Wouldn't it be something if an 89 year old man walked into a new room and said, I'm Charlie Lindbergh and I have dna proof. I was not killed in 1932, but Richard Hauptman was killed a few years later ... more