Cemetery John : the undiscovered mastermind of the Lindbergh kidnapping

In 1932, Charles A. Lindbergh was arguably the most famous man in the world. His solo transatlantic flight in 1927 made him the subject of public fascination and adulation. But fame was not something that Lindbergh craved. He took his family to live on a rambling, isolated estate in Englewood, New Jersey, believing that living in such a remote location would keep them safe. He was wrong.

On the night of March 1, 1932, Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., called Charlie, was snatched from his crib in the upstairs nursery. Left behind were a ransom note and a handmade ladder. Contact with the kidnappers led to a meeting in a Bronx, New York cemetery with a man who said his name was “John”. Although the demands were met, the child was not returned. His body was found seventy-two days later in the woods not far from the estate.

A two-year investigation led police to Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the only person tried and executed for the crime. Years later, author Robert Zorn’s father, Eugene Zorn, picked up a copy of True magazine while waiting for a haircut in a local barbershop and read an article about the case. The article triggered a memory that led him to believe that a former neighbor was responsible for plotting the kidnapping.

Zorn recreates the atmosphere surrounding the crime and the subsequent trial. He provides an analysis of the evidence, supported by various experts, to prove his theory behind the identity of the true mastermind of this crime of the century, a man the press dubbed “Cemetery John”.