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Woodlawn Cemetery, the Bronx
The sixth ransom note told Dr. Condon to meet the "kidnapper's" at Woodlawn Cemetery. Outside the cemetery, unable to get inside because of a locked gate, Dr. Condon waited until nine-thirty. Then, a man waved a white handkerchief in the air to get Dr. Condon's attention.
Read Woodlawn Cemetery Patrolman's Statement to Police (PDF) submitted by Siglinde Rach
see the cemetery layout submitted by Michael Melsky
posted on the LKH Forum by Michael Melsky
Sun Mar 10 2002
Just realized that I have an earlier version of Robert Riehl's eyewitness account of John...And it is slightly different.
Officer James A. Avon, Bronx Police Department - Report 7-19-32:
Confidential Investigation Relative to the Activities of Dr. John F. Condon
At 11-45 P.M. April 13th, 1932, we visited Woodlawn Cemetery gate at 233rd Street and Jerome Avenue, and interviewed Special Patrolman Robert Reihl, badge 534, and he informed us that on March 12th, 1932, he was working the 4-00 P.M. to 12-00 mid. tour; that while walking up Park Avenue to make 10-00 P.M. ring on box 442, located at the gate of 233rd Street & Jerome Avenue, he observed a man, with following description, 22 years, 5'3", 135 lbs, slim build, sitting on top of iron gate, at above location in conversation with a man standing on ground on outside of gate (Description-about 50 years, 5'9", 200lbs., black overcoat and black soft hat.) Reihl further stated that man on gate saw him approach and stated: "Here comes a cop", whereupon he jumped to ground outside of cemetery, ran across Jerome Avenue and into Van Cortlandt Park. Riehl stated that he asked man on outside of gate whether man who had fled was trying to steal something, and man stated he did not know, but he would follow him and aske[sic] him, whereupon he walked across Jerome Avenue and vanished in the park. Riehl also stated that at 9-00 P.M. March 12th, 1932, he was at gate opposite refreshment stand, mentioned and pictured in the newspapers, but he did not observe anyone near same.
by Leon Hoage and William Lewis 8-4-36:
To check report of Invest. officer James A. Avon of a call he made with Det. Thompson of N.Y. on Bernard Uebel Spec. Officer at St Raymond's cemetery on April 14 1932.
August 4, 1936.
Uebel told us that Dix of U.S. Dept told him not to talk with anyone.
Finally got him to talk.
DOES JAFSIE TELL ALL ?
The following dialogue is based upon Dr. Condon's book, "Jafsie Tells All," (available on CD Rom through this website) and cannot be verified. Condon appears to have been a liar. He gave so many versions regarding these events that it is impossible to know what really happened.
But, for what it is worth, here is Condon's version of what took place that morning between himself and the extortionist who called himself "John."
First, the man asked if Dr. Condon had received the note. After Dr. Condon replied that he had, the man asked, "Did you got it, the money?"
Dr. Condon replied, "No. I couldn't bring the money until I saw the package."
Then an interruption occurred. John yelled, "There is a cop!" and suddenly jumped over a high fence to where Dr. Condon stood. He asked, "Did you send the cops?"
Dr. Condon said, "No! I gave you my word I wouldn't do that, and I've kept my word!"
"It is too dangerous" said the extortionist and began to run away.
Dr. Condon shouted, "Come back! Come back! Come back here! Don't be cowardly!"
Dr. Condon eventually caught up with the man. He said, "Don't ever do it again! I am square with you!"
John said, "It is too dangerous. It might be twenty years. Or burn. Would I burn if the baby is dead?"
This shocked Dr. Condon. DEAD? But, "John" reassured him that the baby was fine.
Dr. Condon asked, "How do I know I am talking to the right man?"
"John" said that he had seen the letters with the interlocked circles as a signature. When Dr. Condon held up some safety pins and asked where these were from "John" correctly answered they were from the baby's crib.
Then, Dr. Condon asked the man's name and he answered, John. He then asked if he was German, but John said he was Scandinavian.
Dr. Condon said, "What would your mother say, John, if she knew you were engaged in a thing like this?"
"She wouldn't like it. She would cry."
Dr. Condon said he then begged John to come with him and he would give him the thousand dollars he offered before. John then said, "We don't want your money," which was evidence that more than one person was involved. This would later give rise to the "Gang Theory."
John said that there were six members involved.
Dr. Condon again asked for the baby's return, even offering himself as a hostage. Condon said that John did not understand what a hostage was, but when told, he declined the offer. He said his friend would be angry enough that he did not have the money. He promised to give Dr. Condon proof that he had the baby in custody and they departed.
click here to see Richard Sloan's Bronx Tour Map
The second meeting with "John" occurred at St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx. This time Dr. Condon was driven to the cemetery by Charles Lindbergh. Dr. Condon told Lindbergh to stay in the car (it was parked half a block away) with the ransom money. This would be Condon's 2nd meeting with "John".
(The Lindberghs would eventually name their second child Jon. It is difficult to understand. Anne gave birth only 5 months after Cemetery "John's" involvement in the extortion plot.)
Reeve Lindbergh, in her memoir by Simon and Schuster - Under A Wing - claims her father had a hearing problem and refused to admit such a frailty when she was a little girl in the 1940s. She gives his deafness as an excuse for why her father was so cruel and intolerant of his children -
he couldn't hear, she says!
So, did Lindbergh really hear anything at all? Or, did all of those loud airplane engines destroy his eardrums? According to his daughter he mercilessly removed the cotton balls from his children's ears when he took them flying and never protected his own ears either.
This is NOT humanly possible - even if Lindbergh hadn't been sitting in a car, half a block away, with the windows rolled up. The idea that a man was strapped into the electric chair based on this kind of obvious lie is nothing less than despicable.
Those who realized this impossible testimony for what it really was - a blatant lie - made excuse after excuse for Charles Lindbergh at the time. According to Lindbergh apologists he was only lying to spare his wife the torment of the trial.
Lindbergh's obviously perjured testimony was accepted, and excused.
Condon Makes A Deal!
"John" supposedly asked Dr. Condon, "Did you got it, the money?"
Dr. Condon claimed he told him the money was in the car with Lindbergh. When "John" told him to get it, Dr. Condon said he wanted a receipt telling him where to find the child before he turned over the money. The most amazing thing now happens! Dr. Condon bargains with "John". He asks to reduce the ransom fee back to $50,000.00, instead of the later demand of $70,000.00, and "John" (what a nice guy!) agreed with the terms. He just needed a few minutes to get some paper to write the receipt Dr. Condon requested. He disappeared into the night with a box full of money.
Dr. Condon gave him the money in return for a letter which he ordered not to be opened for six hours. "John" supposedly checked the money to see that it was not marked. It was not marked but all the serial numbers of the gold certificates were recorded, painstakingly, by the U.S. Treasury Dept. He then told Dr. Condon that "the crowd" thought he was a nice fellow and said Condon's work was "perfect."
The Boad "Nelly"
Dr. Condon said he told "John" not to "try to double-cross" him because he would follow "John" to Australia to get the Lindbergh baby home safe. "John" and Dr. Condon shook hands and "John" again disappeared. Dr. Condon went back to the car and gave Lindbergh the letter and said it was not supposed to be opened for 6 hours. Lindbergh was not going to open it before then but Condon begged him to open it sooner. The letter said that the child could be found on a boat called Nelly.
A search began around Martha's Vineyard for "Nelly" but of course, there was no such boat and no baby either. The baby was already dead, since the night of its disappearance, and to imagine that Hauptmann was "John" extorting money while he knew the child was already dead - 2 miles from its home in a shallow, uncovered grave - is not a rational thought. How would Hauptmann know that the child had not been found and that this was just a trap to get him? Would any kidnapper have taken such a chance?
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