Nova (1974–…): Season 40, Episode 4 - Who Killed Lindbergh's Baby? - full transcript

NOVA reopens one of the most confounding crime mysteries of all time in an effort to determine what really happened to Charles Lindbergh's baby and why.

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NARRATOR: It is one of the most haunting
crimes in American history--

the daring kidnapping and tragic
death of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.,

the precious son of America's
then-greatest hero.

The kidnapping, the death...

Americans witnessed
something truly awful here.

NARRATOR: One man, Bruno Richard
Hauptmann, was arrested...

PROSECUTOR: You took that money
from that shoebox...

...tried, and executed.

But was he really guilty?

Did he have accomplices?

And could the crime have been
masterminded by someone

inside the Lindbergh household?

What we do know for sure

is that the baby was put
to sleep in that bedroom.

NARRATOR: John Douglas, America's leading
criminal profiler,

is on the hunt for clues
that could solve

this notorious kidnapping.

Did the police... did they ever
do a sketch?

They did.

And I've shown this
to hundreds of people,

and they all say the same
thing-- "That's the guy."

NARRATOR: Is there a new suspect
in this old case?

And can an amateur sleuth,
a forensic pathologist,

a handwriting expert,
a veteran archivist

and a master carpenter
help John Douglas finally solve

the Crime of the Century?

DOUGLAS: We owe it to the victims'
families to know that the person

who perpetrated this crime
didn't get away with it.

NARRATOR: Next on NOVA, "Who Killed
Lindbergh's Baby?"

♪ NOVA 40x09 ♪
Building Pharaoh's Chariot
Original Air Date on January 31, 2013

== sync, corrected by elderman ==

Major funding for NOVA
is provided by the following:

NARRATOR: 80 years ago, this narrow
country lane led to the scene

of one of the most perplexing
crimes in American history.

And this man wants to solve
that crime once and for all.

He's John Douglas-- legendary
FBI profiler who pioneered

the use of behavioral analysis
for tracking down serial killers

and other dangerous criminals.

Today he has come
to this isolated estate

in Hopewell, New Jersey, to try
and unravel a mystery

as cold as the grave--
the daring kidnapping

and tragic death
of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.,

aged 20 months
when he was stolen in 1932.

Wow, that's amazing.

After 80 years it still
looks the same.

NARRATOR: Douglas has
worked thousands of cases

and helped in the prosecution
of violent offenders

all over the world.

But this notorious crime
still haunts him.

DOUGLAS: I have been fascinated
by this case for years.

There are just too many
ered questions

about who did it
and how it was pulled off.

What we do know for sure
is that the baby

was put to sleep
up there in that bedroom

and the rest of the household
was awake when he was abducted.

NARRATOR: The crime would touch
a fear lurking in the heart

of every parent-- that somehow,
without warning or reason,

their child would be taken
from them, never to return.

DOUGLAS: And when you can't
solve a crime like that,

or come up with satisfactory
answers, the case won't go away.

Because with children,
it's like we somehow

failed to protect them.

NARRATOR: Never before had a
child this celebrated and adored

been so shockingly victimized.

DOUGLAS: For the first time we
all realized that any one of us

at any given time can be the
victim of a violent crime,

because that's exactly
what happened here

to the most famous family
in the world.

NARRATOR: With his triumphal solo
flight across the Atlantic in 1927,

Charles Augustus Lindbergh
instantly became a global icon.

FASS: Charles Lindbergh was
the hero of the world,

not just of the United States.

He seemed to personify
the best of an American.

Young, informal.

Very handsome, tall,
blue-eyed and a bit shy.

He's irresistible to the world
at that moment.

NARRATOR: As this 1927 hit
song clearly demonstrates.

SINGER: ♪ Lindbergh, oh,
what a flying soul was he ♪

♪ Lindbergh,
his name will live in history ♪

♪ Over the ocean
he flew all alone... ♪

NARRATOR: When Lucky Lindy
met heiress Anne Morrow,

he not only taught her
how to fly, he married her.

And when the celebrity couple
had their first child,

a boy they called Charlie, their
charmed lives seemed complete.

SINGER: ♪ ...Lucky Lindbergh,
the eagle of the USA. ♪

NARRATOR: But their joy
lasts less than two years.

NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER: Message that shocked
the world comes in on the police teletype.

FASS: When the Lindbergh
baby is reported missing,

this country
is in a state of shock.

There's a sense of disbelief
that this extraordinary

royal prince, really,
would have been stolen.

MAN: The crime was committed
by means of a ladder

placed against the house.

eyewitnesses and few clues

other than a homemade ladder
left by the kidnappers,

the police had a difficult time
reconstructing the events

of the crime.

What emerged as facts
were these.

Sometime between 8:00 and 10:00
p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, 1932,

one or more individuals
came to the house

with a homemade folding ladder
that left scrape marks

on the wall to the right
of the baby's bedroom window.

The kidnappers apparently
climbed the ladder

and entered the room
through the unlocked window.

Once inside, they snatched
the sleeping baby from his crib.

They may have silenced him
or rendered him unconscious,

because no one in the household
reported hearing Charlie cry out

or struggle as he was taken from
his bedroom and whisked away.

The kidnappers left the ladder
by a service road and used a car

to make their getaway.

They had placed a ransom note
on the baby's windowsill

demanding $50,000
for his safe return,

and warned Lindbergh
there would be trouble

if he involved the police.

The criminals
left no fingerprints

or other helpful
forensic evidence

to guide the investigation.

So where to begin?

As an investigator, one of the
first questions I would ask is,

did they have inside help?

This is the first time
the Lindberghs were here

on a Tuesday.

The house was not quite
finished, so the family

only came on weekends.

They spent weekdays
at Anne's family estate

in Englewood, New Jersey.

But Charlie had a cold, and Anne
didn't want him to travel.

So how did the kidnappers
even know

they'd be here that night?

NARRATOR: John Douglas wants to
profile the type of offenders

who could have committed
this crime.

Were they organized
professionals or lucky amateurs?

One way to answer this question
would be to figure out

what they intended to do
with Charlie.

DOUGLAS: It takes too much
planning and resources

to care for a toddler.

It's a whole lot easier to
pretend the child is alive,

collect the ransom,
and be on your way.

And I believe
that's what happened here.

NARRATOR: At a late night
meeting in a Bronx cemetery,

the kidnappers did
collect the ransom

and did get away scot-free.

Dr. John Condon,
Lindbergh's emissary,

handed over the $50,000
in a wooden box

in exchange for a note
telling Lindbergh

where he could find his baby.

But it was all a ruse.

Two weeks later, a truck driver
walking in the woods

stumbled upon
Charlie's decomposing body,

not five miles
from his Hopewell home.

And from the state
of the corpse,

it appeared he died the very
night of the kidnapping.

An entire nation
mourned Charlie's death

as if this child
was their very own.

FASS: There is a loss of
innocence that takes place

as a result of this case.

The kidnapping, the death,

all of it makes Americans
confront the fact

that they have witnessed
something truly awful here.

The baby had a fractured skull.

And when police found cracks
in the ladder,

they theorized
the breaking ladder

startled the kidnapper, who
dropped the baby by accident.

But John Douglas
disagrees with this scenario.

And so does this man.

He's former North Carolina
Chief Medical Examiner

John Butts, an expert
on suspicious child deaths.

JOHN BUTTS: It has been
proposed that the injuries

this child suffered were the
result of some type of accident.

This is problematic for me,
because while it might explain

some of the injuries, it doesn't
explain all of them.

On the left side
of the child's head

there was a fracture line

from the anterior fontanel,
the soft spot

in the front top of the head,
to back behind the ear.

Now, on the right side
of the head he described

a rounded approximately
half-inch in diameter defect

behind the right ear.

To me, this second injury,
the one on the right side

of the head, is the one
that's most intriguing.

NARRATOR: Police reports
stated that an officer

trying to extricate
the baby's remains

accidentally poked a hole
in his skull with a stick

and this created the round,
impact-like injury

on the right side.

But again, Butts is skeptical.

In my opinion,

an individual pushing
or prodding a body with a stick

could not poke
a hole through the skull

under virtually
any circumstance.

So what caused this injury?

And how did the suffer see

to both sides of the skull?

Butts sees
one possible scenario.

And itIt's murder.enta

If he were lying
on his left side head down

on a hard surface,
and he was then struck

a forceful blow
on the right side of the head

by a hammer or pipe,
that would compress the head,

and it might do so
with sufficient force

that there might be
resulting fracture

on the left side as well.

NARRATOR: Butts's theory
supports Douglas's contention

that the kidnappers
killed Charlie intentionally.

And this helps him
build a profile

of the type of offenders
who could have perpetrated

this crime.

DOUGLAS: What I'm seeing here
are ruthless individuals

with a violent criminal history.

They're not first-timers.

They are daring enough
to kidnap the Lindbergh baby

and risk the death penalty
if they're apprehended.

These are hardcore guys.

NARRATOR: It took the
police two and half years

to finally corral a suspect
through a combination

of foresight and luck.

When authorities prepared
the original ransom money,

they handed out lists
of the serial numbers

to banks and stores.

They also used
gold certificates,

a currency that would soon
go out of circulation,

the idea being that the serial
numbers on these old bills

would be easier for merchants
and bank tellers to spot.

About two and a half years
after the kidnapping,

a guy pulls into a gas station
up in New York and buys

about 98 cents worth of gas
and pays

with a ten-dollar
gold certificate.

Now, the gas station attendant
is suspicious,

but he's not thinking, "Oh,
this is Lindbergh ransom money."

He's thinking, "We're off
the gold standard now

"for about a year or so.

The bank might not
take this money."

So just in case, he writes down
the license number of the car

on the edge of the bill.

And that license number
was Richard Hauptmann's.

NARRATOR: When police went to the
home of Bruno Richard Hauptmann,

a German immigrant carpenter
living in the Bronx,

they found $14,000
of the ransom money,

a small handgun,
and other suspicious evidence.

They arrested him on the spot.

storm the venerable court

at Flemington, New Jersey.

NARRATOR: The biggest trial
ever seen in America

began in Flemington, New Jersey,
on Jan 3, 1935.

Thousands of reporters
and onlookers descended

on the small town, all
scrambling for a front row seat.

It was such a mob scene...

FASS: A lot of people were
beginning to express doubts

about whether justice could be
served in the context

of this kind of circus.

NARRATOR: At the trial,
Hauptmann presented himself

as an innocent working man who
would never commit such a crime.

Absolutely not.

Are you the "Cemetery John"
that was in the other cemetery?

NARRATOR: But a closer
look at his background

calls this assertion
into question.

Prior to coming
to the United States,

he had a criminal record
back in Germany.

NARRATOR: Mark Falzini
is the archivist

for the New Jersey
State Police Museum.

The museum's trove
of case-related documents

includes a detailed history
of Hauptmann's background

in his hometown of Kamenz,
where he was arrested

for several crimes.

He did use a ladder to climb

into the second-story window
of the mayor's house

and stole some money
and watches.

And one other time
he worked with an accomplice

where they held up two women
that were pushing

a baby carriage
at gunpoint.

To get to the United States,

Hauptmann had to escape from
jail, stow away on a steamship

and lie his way
through American immigration.

So despite his engaging,
clean-cut demeanor,

Hauptmann was bold, ruthless
and criminally sophisticated--

the very attributes
of John Douglas's profile

of the Lindbergh kidnappers.

Not to mention his history of
using ladders to commit crimes.

Prosecutors claimed
he personally built

the kidnap ladder.

But Hauptmann denied
ever seeing it.

This is the actual kidnap ladder
Hauptmann supposedly made

in his garage.

KEVIN KLEIN: This ladder is
actually kind of tricky to make.

NARRATOR: Kevin Klein, a master
carpenter and amateur sleuth,

has studied every inch of it.

I think Hauptmann probably
found whatever he could

and scrounged it up
to build this.

NARRATOR: The ladder was cleverly
designed with three sections

that nestled together,
making it easier to carry,

set up and remove.

After the kidnapping, the police
brought the ladder

to Arthur Koehler,
a wood expert,

to see if he could find clues
that would lead

to the kidnappers.

Koehler numbered
each piece of wood

and traced its origin.

Probably the most important part
of this ladder, or at least

in terms of convicting
Richard Hauptmann, is rail 16,

which is found
on the third section here.

This rail was positively ID'd
as connecting to a floorboard

in Hauptmann's attic.

Rail 16 is made of yellow pine.

When police noticed
that Hauptmann's attic

contained yellow pine
floorboards, they asked Koehler

to compare a sawed-off board
with Rail 16.

He looked at the grain patterns
and drew the conclusion

that the two had been connected.

There was a small portion
missing, but you could draw

the grain figure,
and it matched perfectly.

NARRATOR: To John Douglas, the
wood evidence is conclusive.

DOUGLAS: If I was working this
case and the police found

a piece of that ladder matches
wood found at that residence,

I would tell the police,
"Why am I here?

"Why did you bring me
into the case?

You got your man."

NARRATOR: Douglas has come to
the actual Flemington courtroom

where Hauptmann's trial
took place.

It took six weeks
of grueling testimony,

but on February 13, 1935, the
jury handed down its verdict.

(gavel bangs)

Guilty as charged,
with a sentence of death.

But was Hauptmann
the only person involved

in the crime?

As he waited in his cell,
prosecutors, convinced

he did not act alone,
offered him a deal:

they would spare his life
if he named his accomplices.

Yet he never wavered
from his claim of innocence,

and thereby sealed his fate:
execution in the electric chair.

Because he chose to die when
he could have saved his life,

many people began to wonder

if Bruno Richard Hauptmann might
have been innocent after all.

At the New Jersey
State Police Museum in Trenton,

John Douglas studies artifacts
from the case and reflects

on Hauptmann's claim
of innocence.

DOUGLAS: I've seen a lot
of cases where a criminal

swore he was innocent,
went to his death,

and we later found out
through DNA or other evidence

that he was guilty.

Some criminals just want to try
and protect the family name.

Hauptmann had a young son,
and I think that's why

he claimed he was innocent.

NARRATOR: Anna Hauptmann
maintained her husband's innocence

to her death in 1994.

And a recent German
television documentary

set in his hometown

has again raised questions

about his guilt.

(speaking German)

NARRATOR: So controversy about
Hauptmann's conviction lingers on.

DOUGLAS: But we're left with
only three possibilities:

One, that Hauptmann is innocent.

Two, that Hauptmann is guilty
and acted alone.

And three, Hauptmann is guilty
and had others to help him.

NARRATOR: Douglas is convinced
Hauptmann is guilty.

And he's equally certain
he had accomplices.

One reason is the ransom money.

DOUGLAS: What's unusual
about the ransom money

is that one third of the money
is in Hauptmann's possession.

Where are the other two thirds?

Did they go to two other people?

NARRATOR: The other reason
is Douglas's experience

as a psychological profiler.

DOUGLAS: I've seen many, many
cases like this in my career,

and usually what you need
is multiple offenders

who can reinforce one another

and feed off each other
to perpetrate a crime like this.

The night of the kidnapping
it was dreary, it was dark,

it was muddy.

It was way too risky
unless I have criminals

around me to hold the ladder,
do the surveillance,

give me the high sign.

It's not going to be one person
perpetrating a crime like that.

So is it two people,
three people?

For sure it is not one person.

NARRATOR: But no suspects
other than Hauptmann

have ever been found, and
Douglas wants to know why.

So he asks Mark Falzini,
who knbetter than anyone.record

You know, Mark,
as an investigator,

the first thing that really
kind of strikes me

and kind of stands out
is that once Hauptmann

was arrested, the investigation
kind of shut down.

You know, why?

Why was that?

It had been
a two-and-a-half year

investigation at this point,
and they were under

a lot of pressure
to put an end to it.

Remember, Lindbergh was
the world's most famous man

at this time, and they had
to end this thing.

So they just wanted everyone
off their backs, I guess.

Exactly, yes.

The police must have interviewed
thousands of suspects here.

You have thousands
upon thousands of files.

The police did interview
quite a few people.

They interviewed people
at Lindbergh's house.

They interviewed the staff
at the Morrow estate,

and all of Hauptmann's
friends and associates.

Any good leads?

There were a few leads,

but they all end up
going nowhere.

I want to throw a name at you:
John Knoll.

Does that ring a bell?

Did that name ever come up
in the investigation?


His name does not appear
anywhere in the collection.

So who is John Knoll?

And why is John Douglas
looking for him?

Douglas's interest in Knoll
comes from this man-- Bob Zorn.

Zorn's quest to link John Knoll
to the crime goes back

to his father, Gene Zorn,
who as an adult read an article

on the kidnapping
that triggered a memory

of a dramatic
childhood incident--

a memory that put father and son
on the trail

of a lost kidnapper.

This whole story begins
in the summer of 1931,

when my dad was
a 15-year-old boy

growing up
in a German neighborhood

in the South Bronx.

And my father had a neighbor who
lived three doors down from him,

a German immigrant
and a deli clerk

named John Knoll,
who encouraged my Dad

to take up stamp collecting.

And one day in the summer
of 1931,

John invited my dad

to go to Palisades
Amusement Park in New Jersey,

where they had the world's
largest saltwater swimming pool.

And there waiting for John
were his younger brother,

Walter, another deli clerk,
whom my father knew,

and then a third
German-speaking man.

Well, my dad heard
that these two men,

John and Walter, were calling
this third man Bruno.

And the three men
were talking

about some place
called Englewood.

NARRATOR: Englewood, New
Jersey, was the location

of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's
family estate.

The Lindberghs stayed there
while their Hopewell home

was under construction.

Fast forward
to December of 1963.

By this point my father
is a 47-year-old bank economist

living in Dallas.

And he walks into
his Dallas barbershop,

and he reaches for a magazine
called True.

December 1963 issue.

And in it is an article
about the Lindbergh kidnapping.

And certain words
just seem to jump off the page.

Of course there's Bruno.

Bruno Hauptmann.

My dad had remembered
that John and Walter Knoll

called this third man Bruno.

And then there's Englewood,
where the Lindberghs

had been living in 1931.

The author of the article
stated that Hauptmann

was undoubtedly guilty, but that
he had worked with accomplices

who could still be at large.

And one of these accomplices
was a man calling himself John.

NARRATOR: "John" is the
name of the kidnapper

who was given the ransom
at the Bronx cemetery.

And Gene Zorn began to wonder
if this "John" could be

John Knoll, the deli clerk
from the Bronx.

After his father's death,
Bob Zorn took up his dad's quest

to link John Knoll
with the kidnapping

and made several discoveries.

But he wanted an expert
familiar with the case

to validate his findings.

That's when he contacted
John Douglas to hear him out.

The men went to
Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx,

where two critical players make
their début in the case.

The first was Dr. John Condon,
a retired Bronx schoolteacher.

Condon idolized Lindbergh
and placed an ad

in a Bronx newspaper
volunteering to mediate

negotiation between his hero
and the kidnappers.

Inexplicably, both parties
accepted him.

One of the most infuriating
things about the Lindbergh case

is that Dr. Condon is the key
to the investigation.

He was the one who met
with one of the gang members

in the cemetery twice.

He was the one who turned over
the ransom money.

He was the one receiving
all of the ransom notes.

Dr. Condon was also a blowhard.

He liked to embellish things.

I am more than pleased
to solve that mystery

on which I have been working
without cessation.

When you read his statements
you don't know what to believe.

You know, you never know
what to believe with Dr. Condon.

NARRATOR: In Condon's account
of his first meeting

with the kidnappers,
he goes to the cemetery,

but at first can't find anyone.

And then after a while,

a man who had secreted himself
inside the cemetery

reached out and started
waving a handkerchief

to attract
Condon's attention.

Is that one of the kidnappers?

ZORN: Yes, it was one
of the kidnappers.

Did he say anything?

Well, he had a heavy
German accent.

And the first thing he said was,
"Have you got it, the money?"

NARRATOR: The man with the German
accent says to call him John,

and becomes known
as Cemetery John.

Condon is the only person
ever to see Cemetery John,

so his description is critical
to Bob Zorn's quest

to match him with John Knoll.

He said that he was a guy
built about like me--

I'm 5'7", 165--

with a high forehead,
large ears, a pointy chin,

and then a large lump
or fleshy mass

at the base
of his left thumb.

What do you mean?

Well, it would appear
to be an abnormality.

A photograph I have
of John Knoll

clearly shows that there was
something very abnormal

about his left thumb.

NARRATOR: This photograph,
taken a few years

after the kidnapping,
is the best view we have

of both of Knoll's thumbs.

Hand specialists are divided
on whether they reveal

a clear abnormality.

But both thumbs
are large and discolored,

so he might have had
some physical anomaly.

And did the police...

at any point did they do
a police sketch

based on the description
provided to them?

They did.

Tell me about that.

Well, the police
took the description,

and they had
a sketch artist

do a sketch of him.

I got a photograph of John,
and then I set that photograph

next to this police sketch,
and it was a dead ringer.

And I've shown this
to hundreds of people

and they all say
the same thing--

"That's the guy."

NARRATOR: But at the trial,
Condon swears it was Hauptmann

he met at the cemetery,
and not someone

who looked like John Knoll
or had a malformed thumb.

So whom did Condon really meet?

If it was Bruno Hauptmann, then
John Knoll is not Cemetery John.

But there might be
a more reliable source

than Condon to prove Knoll
was part of the plot.

The kidnappers communicated with
Lindbergh through a series

of 15 handwritten ransom notes.

Although some appear as though
written by different authors,

the prosecution's
handwriting experts

determined they were penned
by one person.

And that writer was Hauptmann.

They compared the notes
to letters Hauptmann wrote

to a Mrs. Begg.

Just as today, they focused on
individual letter shapes,

the spacing between words,
and the way letter pairs

like "th" are made.

In addition to these
physical comparisons,

they pointed out that the notes
were written

as if by an immigrant.

This is the first ransom note
that was left in the nursery.

"We warn you from making
anyding public

or for notify the police."

It's an odd way of writing.

The "Dear Sir" ends
with an exclamation point.

The dollar sign is put
after the dollar amount,

which is a German way
of writing the money.

Also there are misspellings
of words.

The word "signature"
is spelled "singnature".

NARRATOR: But the defense expert,
using the same comparisons,

said Hauptmann was not
the author.

So who is right?

We might know
if we had taken

Hauptmann's Begg letter
envelope, retrieved a DNA sample

from the licked flap,
and compared it to DNA samples

from the ransom note envelopes.

But New Jersey refused our
request to do a DNA analysis.

Today handwriting analysis
has become more sophisticated.

And besides Hauptmann's writing,
Bob Zorn has samples

of John Knoll's writing
on self-addressed envelopes

valued by stamp collectors.

If a modern expert
could match Knoll's writing

to the ransom notes,
this would strongly suggest

he was part of the kidnap plot.

So NOVA asked Sargur Srihari,
a pioneer in computer-based

handwriting analysis,
to compare both men's writing

with the notes.

A computer can do a lot more
than a document examiner can do.

NARRATOR: Srihari's pattern recognition
software can isolate words

and letters from multiple
documents and compare them

by precisely measuring
their slope, height,

width and contour.

And we are to do that for every
letter of the English alphabet.

NARRATOR: Srihari analyzed
Hauptmann's writing first,

taking the Begg letters
and comparing them

to six of the ransom notes.

SRIHARI: The results of
comparison of the ransom notes

and Hauptmann writing
are shown here

at the individual
letter pair level

and as well as
the individual character level.

Each comparison gets a score.

Positive values indicate
a higher probability

the writing is
from the same person.

Negative values,
a lower probability.

SRIHARI: For instance, the
letter pair A-M or AM

has a fairly high
negative score,

indicating that they don't seem
to be written

by the same individual.

There are some positives
as well.

So what matters is the sum total
of all of these things.

And that total turns out
to be negative, indicating that

it is unlikely that Hauptmann
wrote the ransom notes.

NARRATOR: If Srihari is correct,
then Hauptmann did have

a coconspirator who wrote
the notes.

And could it be John Knoll?

Srihari's initial analysis
of Knoll's writing

showed some positives
for the word "John."

But other comparisons did not.

SRIHARI: What we did here was
to compare pairs of letters

such as E-R or an N-O and so on.

And we're also comparing ST,
again with a negative value.

The summary of these comparisons
is that it is unlikely

that John Knoll was the writer
of these ransom notes.

NARRATOR: Srihari's conclusion
does not completely eliminate

Knoll as a suspect.

But it means John Douglas
must dig deeper

into Knoll's story
to prove he's a lost kidnapper.

John, my dad grew up in this
South Bronx neighborhood.

It was a German
neighborhood at the time.

NARRATOR: Douglas's key question:
does Zorn have evidence

Knoll and Hauptmann ever met?

ZORN: My grandparents
rented a third-floor flat

in one of the homes

and John Knoll lived
three doors down

in the second floor
of an apartment.

He rented a home
for ten dollars a month.

Well, it's
very interesting.

But how would Knoll
and Hauptmann

get to know each other?

What makes you think
there's a connection?

Well, when Hauptmann
came to the States in 1923,

he immediately started
coming and visiting people

from his home village of Kamenz.

As it turned out,
my grandparents' landlord

was from that same
home village of Kamenz.

NARRATOR: If Zorn is right,
Hauptmann would have come

to this German neighborhood
to meet his hometown friend.

And that friend
would have surely introduced him

to his German neighbor
and drinking buddy John Knoll.

So I think
it's very likely

that John would have come
to know Bruno Hauptmann.

The thing's that's
puzzling, though,

from an investigative
perspective is that

nowhere in the police background
checks with names,

associates of Hauptmann
did his name ever come up.

NARRATOR: It's possible
Hauptmann kept his association

with John Knoll secret
from his wife, his friends

and the police.

But there may be
a bigger problem

connecting Knoll with Hauptmann
and the kidnapping.

Bob Zorn's father remembered
that Knoll and his brother

called a third man "Bruno."

But what if this Bruno
wasn't Bruno Richard Hauptmann?

Whenever anyone tells me
that they have heard

of somebody conspiring
with a man named Bruno,

my reaction is, well, Hauptmann
never went by the name Bruno.

Nobody ever called him Bruno.

That was his given name,
Bruno Richard Hauptmann,

but he always went by Richard,
even back in Germany.

And we have here a schoolbook,
an essay book of his

from eighth grade, and it's
signed Richard Hauptmann.

There's no Bruno to be found.

NARRATOR: Could this name
issue eliminate John Knoll

as a possible suspect?

Douglas is not sure yet.

But he is sure
the kidnappers knew in advance

the Lindberghs would be
here at Hopewell

when they would normally
have been in Englewood.

DOUGLAS: They had to
have inside information

coming from someone inside this
house to know that Lindbergh

was going to be here
on this particular night.

NARRATOR: The police never
found that inside source.

But this man believes
he knows who it is.

Well, I think that no one's
ever going to be satisfied

with all the answers, but...

NARRATOR: Lloyd Gardner is a
respected Rutgers historian

who authored a major book
on the kidnapping

with a controversial theory
about the crime.

DOUGLAS: So Lloyd, in a nutshell,
what do you think really happened?

What do I think
really happened?

I think that someone
on the inside

had to have coordinated
what happened that night.

And my conclusion is
that Charles Lindbergh himself

was involved in coordinating
the kidnapping.

As shocking as this sounds,

questions about
Lindbergh's behavior emerged

soon after the kidnapping.

He didn't trust the police
and used his enormous influence

to control them
and the investigation.

He even kept the ransom notes

and negotiations
with the kidnappers secret.

So some people began to wonder
if he was hiding something.

But why would he want
his own child kidnapped?

Lindbergh was very much involved
in the eugenics movement.

And I think Lindbergh
was very afraid

that little Charlie was not ever
going to be a healthy young man.

NARRATOR: Eugenicists believe in
creating superior human beings

by selectively breeding the
smartest and strongest people,

those with good genes,
and sterilizing

the physically
and mentally weak.

There were rumors that Charlie
had some physical problem.

And if he did, this could be
a sign that Lindbergh

had inferior genes.

And his feeling about having
an imperfect child

may have weighed on him
very, very heavily.

Is there any evidence
that Lindbergh's baby

had any of these
health problems?


The family doctor noted
an enlarged

or still open fontanel
which should have been closed.

He had difficulty
getting the child

to stand up straight
when he was doing

the physical examination.

And children who have
this problem are often

associated with rickets.

NARRATOR: Charlie's physician
described him as having

a "moderate rickety condition,"

but not the severe form
of rickets

that can bring deformed bones
and other skeletal issues.

Rickets is caused
by a vitamin D deficiency.

So the Lindberghs were giving
Charlie vitamin supplements.

But was he seriously affected
or mildly compromised?

According to pathologist
John Butts...

His medical record
shows no evidence

that he had any significant
medical problems.

If he did have rickets,
it was a very mild condition

for which he was being
appropriately treated.

NARRATOR: But what if his
condition was more serious?

Do you think that this would be
enough motivation

to plan a kidnapping and
killing of his own child?

I don't think Lindbergh
wanted the child killed.

something went wrong.

I think Lindbergh's idea,
his overriding idea,

was to get the child
out of the household

and into an institution.

This is not unusual

for wealthy families

to do something with a child
who is not quite right.

believes it was Lindbergh

who told the kidnappers
when the baby would be

at the unguarded
Hopewell residence

and not at the well-guarded
Englewood estate.

Although any staffer could have
given the family's location,

only Lindbergh knew one thing.

He would be the only person
who would know

whether he was going to be
in Hopewell that night.

NARRATOR: That evening
Lindbergh had scheduled

a speaking engagement
in New York.

He was normally punctual,
but this time

he missed the appointment
and returned home.

He claimed
he forgot the commitment,

but Gardner has
a different theory.

GARDNER: The fact that he
missed this appointment

enabled him
to come down to Hopewell

and direct the kidnapping
from the inside

to make sure that there was
no interference

with it being carried off

NARRATOR: Although the kidnapping
may have been successful,

little else was.

Charlie ended up dead,
and the Lindberghs received

new kidnap threats
against their second child.

By 1936, they abandoned
the Hopewell home

and fled to Europe
for a three-year exile.

While there,
Lindbergh's embrace of eugenics

attracted him to
the superior race philosophies

of the Nazis,
who embraced him in return.

After the war,
Lindbergh returned to Germany

as a consultant
for Pan American Airlines

and the Air Force.

And by the 1950s
he's embarked

on an elaborate
and shocking scheme.

What finally convinced me
that Lindbergh was involved

was the evidence that came out
about his families in Germany.

NARRATOR: Using the assumed identity
Careu Kent, starting in 1958,

Lindbergh secretly fathered
seven children

with three German women.

He swore the families to secrecy
and died in 1974,

believing his double life
would remain hidden.

But in 2003,
some of his German children

revealed the truth
after DNA testing

proved Lindbergh's paternity.

Gardner sees
Lindbergh's secret life

as consistent
with his philosophy.

GARDNER: And that is a perfect
eugenics kind of experiment.

What he wanted was
to spread his sperm around

as much as possible in hopes
of creating this better race.

Lindbergh's eliefs

and secret families,
John Douglas does not believe

he's also a criminal mastermind.

While he's a schemer,
it doesn't make him a killer.

I don't see a violent bone
in that man's body,

and I don't see him
trusting anyone, no one at all,

to perpetrate a crime like this,
with other people involved.


Because it would be
a lack of control.

He needed to control
every single aspect of his life.

NARRATOR: And this would include
the investigation itself--

something Lindbergh believed
he could handle

better than the police.

FASS: It was no surprise,
at least to me,

that Lindbergh wanted
to take charge.

Most of the history
of kidnapping,

certainly up to that point,
was about police incompetence

and the inability
of most police to bring children

who had been ransomed back.

So he, who had conquered
the Atlantic, imagined

that he would be able to conquer
this particular situation.

NARRATOR: But if Lindbergh
was not involved,

who supplied the kidnappers
with vital inside information?

Douglas now believes
it was Violet Sharp,

a servant
in the Morrow household,

who gave contradictory
information to the police.

And when they came
to interrogate her

for the third time...

She ran upstairs to her room
and she drank silver polish

that had potassium cyanide
in it.

And within minutes
she was dead.

NARRATOR: Investigators
eventually concluded

she was emotionally disturbed
and not a conspirator.

Douglas has refined
this conclusion.

Perhaps she had guilty feelings
because she may have

inadvertently provided
information to someone

who called the Morrow family
asking for the whereabouts

of the Lindberghs,
and she might have said,

"Well, they're not here tonight.

They're over in Hopewell."

NARRATOR: With Lindbergh eliminated,
and Sharp as the likely

unintentional informer,
Douglas turns again

to Hauptmann's kidnap partners
and decides to look

at John Knoll one last time.

He wants to know
if Knoll's behavior

after the crime
reveals anything suspicious.

DOUGLAS: Bob, why should I look
at John Knoll as a suspect

in this case?

Was there any change
in his behavior

on or about the time
of the kidnapping?


Three weeks after
the ransom was paid,

John suddenly seemed to have
a lot of money.

And he started becoming very,
very generous to my father

in terms of collectibles
for my dad's stamp collection.

Did Knoll go anywhere?

Three weeks before
Hauptmann goes on trial

on January 2, 1935,
I've got this photograph here

of him sailing with $700,
first class tickets

with his wife to Hamburg
on the SS Manhattan.

That's expensive, right?

$700 for two round-trip tickets
to Germany.

That was an awful lot of money,
the equivalent of about

six years' rent for John.

So what do you think?

I think it's possible it was
some of the ransom money.

And then the very day
that Hauptmann is convicted,

February 13, 1935,
is the day that John

leaves Europe
to return to the States.

NARRATOR: So is John Knoll
"Cemetery John" after all,

Hauptmann's long missing
partner in crime?

What I like about Knoll

is that the artist's conception
drawing, the rendering

of Cemetery John,
it looks a lot like Knoll.

Also the malformed hand.

That's something that's
pretty unique.

What Zorn showed us
was that when the monies

were paid, we had Knoll
going on a spending spree.

Also, when Hauptmann
was indicted, he takes off.

He doesn't return to the country
until Hauptmann is convicted.

So when you start putting
all these things together,

all of these bits and pieces,
if I was involved

in the investigation back
then, I would be putting Knoll

on the front burner.

NARRATOR: Douglas knows there isn't
enough evidence to convict John Knoll.

He's a prime suspect,
to be sure, but his trail

may be too cold now
to be certain of his guilt.

And he believes this case
may never be completely solved

as a result of mistakes
Lindbergh himself made.

DOUGLAS: An ordinary citizen
would never be able

to take an investigation
like this and maintain

control over the police,
over the overall investigation.

But someone
of Lindbergh's status...

I mean, he was a hero.

People dropped to their knees.

"Whatever you want,
Mr. Lindbergh.

"We'll do whatever you say.

Sorry, sir, yes, sir."

And unfortunately,
by him doing that,

it pulled the police
away from the investigation.

And he was able to
basically help the bad guys

get away with the crime.

NARRATOR: Because Lindbergh
feared for Charlie's life,

he kept authorities away
from the cemetery.

Douglas believes
if he had let the police

to the rest of the gang,
he and in a strokethem

remove the doubts
that have surrounded

this tragedy ever since.

The death
of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.

triggered an outpouring of grief
not felt

since the Lincoln assassination,
and not felt again

until the murder
of John F. Kennedy.

But the tragedy
would produce changes

that would help protect
other children.

FASS: One of the most
concrete legacies

of the Lindbergh case
is the Lindbergh Law,

which is passed by the Congress
the day after the kidnapping

and which makes,
for the first time,

kidnapping a federal offense,

and it makes it
a capital offense--

makes it a very serious crime
to kidnap a child,

or anybody, for that matter.

NARRATOR: Unfortunately, young children
remain vulnerable to abductions,

primarily by parents
in custody disputes

and sometimes
by sexual predators.

But their kidnapping for ransom
is rare in the U.S.

since the Lindbergh Law.

And today, public alert systems
have combined

with better police work
to aid in the arrest

and prosecution
of all child abductors.

But the ones who got away
still haunt John Douglas.

And for the Lindbergh case...

Bruno Hauptmann, guilty.

John Knoll, intriguing,

But the one thing
we can say for sure

is that someone absolutely
got away with money and murder.

NARRATOR: But why, after so many
years, is Douglas still looking

for answers?

DOUGLAS: When you get a case
like this, we refer to it

as an old dog kind of case.

I mean, the case now
is 80 years of age.

So why do we look at it?

We look at it for the victims.

That's who we work for.

We work for the victims.

Whether the case is Ron Goldman
and Nicole Brown Simpson

in the OJ Simpson case,

whether it's
JonBenet Ramsey case

that remains unsolved
to this day.

But we owe it
to the victims' families.

And that's really our mission,
to give some type of closure,

small closure, so that
we know that the person

who perpetrated this crime
didn't get away with it.

== sync, corrected by elderman ==