The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax 

 Discovery of the Corpse In The Woods 

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warning: unpleasant photo of child's corpse 

On May 12, 1932, William Allen, a truck driver, stopped to relieve himself in the woods on a highway in Mercer County, NJ and accidentally stumbled upon the remains of a child. He yelled to his co-worker, Orville Willson, "My God, there's a child - a dead child over there!" The body was laying face down, partly buried with dirt and leaves, in a shallow grave about four and a half miles southeast (or 2 miles within walking distance) of the Lindbergh's Hopewell, NJ home .





It was 45 feet from the highway near Mount Rose, NJ. The body was badly decomposed but it would later be determined that the skull had been fractured. Some of the body parts had been eaten away by animals and there was also  a burlap sack - (see photo by Ronelle Delmont)  nearby in which blonde hairs of the child suggested he must have been carried away from his crib in this crude manner. Authorities believed the body had been in that shallow grave for 72 days.

click here to read the "autopsy" report[ACLU Execution Watch 


The remains were positively identified by the child's nurse, Betty Gow  who had sewn a new flannel undershirt for the baby before putting him to bed. She had used a spool of  blue silk thread.  Police showed her the little t-shirt before her identification of the remains was actually made at the coroner's office. It was definitely the same undershirt with the identical blue silk thread.



Lindbergh, away during the accidental discovery of the child, returned quickly and insisted on identifying the body.  

He did so, in 90 seconds, by counting the teeth and inspecting the foot for the child's unique overlapping toes (notice the circle in photo).  A preliminary examination proved that the baby had been dead for about two months and the cause of death, Dr. Charles H. Mitchell reported, was a fractured skull caused by external violence.

The police realized that the Eaglet must have been dropped, accidentally, from the crudely built, homemade ladder  found at the Hopewell estate during the "kidnapping." One of the side rails had been split, causing a rung to collapse during the descent.  Identical  copies of that ladder would be repeatedly subjected to police tests and every time a re enactment was done the imitation ladder would break again due to the weight of a grown man carrying a 30 lb. bag on the way down.

Read excerpts from a conference held in Col. Schwarzkopf's office on May 18th, 1932 - 6 days after body was found

Read pediatrician Dr. Van Ingen's  letter to the baby's grandmother, Elizabeth Morrow, 8 days before his corpse was discovered by truck  driver  William  Allen.    

  May 1- May 31DNA ?

So many writers have speculated that the child found in the woods  was NOT the Lindbergh baby. One of the reasons for so much skepticism is the fact that Lindbergh ordered an immediate cremation after identifying the corpse.  Lindbergh maintained complete control over his own burial in 1974, giving strict orders about his remains to his sons. He did not order a cremation of his own remains so it is a suspicious aspect of his earlier behavior in committing his firstborn's corpse to ashes only hours after it was found.

go to the forensic files page

The identity question could  easily be solved with a DNA test of hair and teeth that are housed at the Trenton Police Museum which displays most of the trial evidence. There are also finger prints of the baby taken by Dr. Erastus Hudson several weeks after the crime with his newly invented technique of lifting latent prints that could not be seen by Sgt. Kelly.

A DNA analysis could easily be done on specimens housed at the Trenton Police Museum. However, doing so may open a can of worms for the NJ Police who would be risking exposure to other materials in their archives - like the supposedly incriminating ladder they claimed came from Hauptmann's attic floorboard!


There are numerous people who claim to be the real Lindbergh baby. 

Lindbergh ordered an immediate cremation - he even went to the crematorium and watched the procedure - and would later, in August 1932, scatter the baby's ashes from an airplane. This took place on the very day that Anne went into labor with their second son, Jon.

The lack of a corpse, the inadequacy of a legitimate autopsy (the unauthorized funeral director performed it) and the bizarre conditions of the entire case have led many serious investigators to think the child found in the woods may not have been the Eaglet. 

Some, like Wayne D. Jones, (Murder of Justice: New Jersey's Greatest Shame), believe the famous toddler was only kidnapped and sent to South America and, in his place, another child's remains were planted. Noel Behn, author of Lindbergh: The Crime, also believed the corpse was not that of the Lindbergh child. 

Reeve Lindbergh, however, in her recent memoir  - Under A Wing  has written that she, and all of her siblings,  have the same deformity of overlapping toes.  Yet, many people claim they are her baby brother.  


Gregory Ahlgren and Stephen Monier, in their book Crime of the Century: The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax, have theorized that the child died, accidentally,  in a fall from the broken ladder while being used as the butt of another sadistic prank.

 Lindbergh had hidden his child in a garbage dumpster 2 months earlier as a "joke" to scare his wife. According to her letter, written to her mother-in-law on the night her child disappeared, she thought this was another "joke." 

Lindbergh would have had exactly half an hour to hide his blunder, hence the shallow grave and close proximity (2 miles walking distance) of the corpse.  The co-authors theorize that Lindbergh dug the shallow grave hurriedly as he was expected home by a certain time. The location of the corpse was exactly halfway between the rented Mt Rose home (pictured above) and High Fields - a comfortable dumping ground for someone familiar with the locale. It is in the wrong direction if heading towards the Bronx!

  A&M also believe the child found in the woods at Mt. Rose was the real Lindbergh baby although numerous people claim they are the "real" child.