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Roosevelt put skilled federal agents on Lindbergh case when others failed

Bruno Richard Hauptmann was convicted of the abduction and murder of the 20-month-old son of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh in September of 1934.
Bruno Richard Hauptmann was convicted of the abduction and murder of the 20-month-old son of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh in September of 1934.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 1934 (UP) -- Herewith, from the most authentic source in Washington, is the story of the months of ceaseless work by federal agents on the Lindbergh case and events leading to arrest of Bruno Richard Hauptmann.

All federal activities in the Lindbergh case were centralized in the Department of Justice on Oct. 19, 1933, as a result of an order by President Roosevelt following conferences with Attorney General Homer S. Cummings.

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This was 18 months after the Lindbergh child was abducted and killed. The Justice Department had made earlier sporadic inquiries, but there was a confusion of authority and the Hoover administration had centralized the investigation in the intelligence unit of the treasury.

Thus it was not until last October that the presidential order enabled the department to go into the case in earnest. The trail was cold then, the federal government had no immediate jurisdiction but the department took the job and vowed never to give up until the crime was solved. With that resolve, Director J. Edgar Hoover of the Division of Intelligence and his men went to work.

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They studied every bit of evidence that would tend to indicate whether one or more persons were involved and whether they had a "tip-off" from inside the Lindbergh home. They analyzed thousands of theories. They made a replica of the peculiar, home-made ladder that was used to gain entrance to the Lindbergh nursery and sought to gain some clew from the nature of its construction. They studied the writing, the paper and the ink of the ransom notes and scrutinized every bit of ransom money that turned up.

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They made a map, hung it on the wall and stuck red pins in it every time one of the ransom bills turned up. Gradual concentration of the pins in the Bronx district where Hauptmann was arrested centered the search there.

President Roosevelt's anti-hoarding order, requiring turning in of all gold certificates, was a tremendous help. For $40,000 of the ransom money was in gold certificates, with their tell-tale yellow seals. Mr. Hoover perfected an organization of his best men to take every possible advantage of the opportunity offered by the calling in of gold currency.

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New developments, it was indicated, have not shaken in any way the conviction of federal authorities that arrest of Hauptmann virtually solves the Lindbergh case; that the kidnaping was essentially a one-man job; that almost certainly it was the German carpenter who crept into the nursery of the Lindbergh's Hopewell (N. J.) mansion the night of March 1, 1932, and snatched the sleeping baby from his cradle.

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