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Father Searches Grounds For Child

March 2, 1932 By The Associated Press

Hopewell, N.J., Wednesday, March 2.--Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., 20-month-old son of the flying Colonel, was kidnapped last night from his nursery in the Lindbergh country home near here. The child, clad in a blue sleeping robe, was put to bed at the usual hour, 7:30 P.M. At about 10 P.M. someone peered into the nursery. The crib was empty.

Beneath the nursery window, footprints showed in the soft earth. These indicated that the kidnappers, moving with such stealth that the Lindberghs, although in the house, heard no sound, had removed their shoes before climbing a ladder to the window. The trail of the shoeless footprints was followed by The Associated Press reporter to the rutted lane, where police believe a waiting car was parked. Feminine footprints, as well as those of a man, were found.

The first news the Lindberghs had of the crime was when the frightened nurse ran downstairs, screaming that the baby had been kidnapped.

The first newspaper man to reach the home was an Associated Press reporter, who ran a mile over muddy, rut-cut roads to reach a phone to send the first direct news from the residence. This was at 12:40 A.M.

Colonel Lindbergh, bare-headed as usual, was pacing the grounds, while troopers and detectives went over the place with flashlights, seeking clues.

Mrs. Lindbergh, who telephoned the news to her mother, Mrs. Dwight W. Morrow, at the Morrow home in Englewood, N.J., was inside the house. A close friend of Mrs. Lindbergh said she was expecting another child within three months.

The house, glowing with lights from top to bottom, was the only bright spot in the wooded, gloomy district. Wishing to get complete privacy, the Lindberghs picked the site from the air and it is almost inaccessible to the outside world. A winding, muddy lane--their private property--leads to the new house from a country highway, called the Stoutsberg-Worstville Road. The entrance to the Lindbergh road is more than four miles from Hopewell and there are few neighbors near enough to be of any aid in time of trouble. Almost surrounding the house are dense woods.

The police, dashing pell-mell to the place, were delayed by the muddy roads. It was an hour before they reached the house, which is perched on the second highest eminence in New Jersey in an isolated region.

Rummaging around the ghostly estate, the Associated Press reporter ran into a party of four men near the entrance to the Lindbergh's private road, a mile from the house. Each of the group had flashlights and were shooting their beams in all directions in an effort to pick up more clues. An old deserted house stood near the entrance but it revealed nothing.

"Are you State police?" the reporter questioned.

"Who are you?" was the answer, and the reporter recognized Colonel Lindbergh. He showed the strain of the ordeal, but shook hands with the reporter when he had introduced himself.

"I'm sorry, but I can't tell you anything now," the Colonel said.

The Lindbergh baby is described as a golden-haired replica of his famous father. He is chubby, with blue eyes and curly hair. He was of about normal stature for his age, had begun to toddle about and was learning to talk.

His nursery, filled with every device for childish joy, is in the right-hand corner of the second floor of the big house. The window near his crib, which was open when his nurse went into the room, is thirty feet from the ground. A three-piece ladder was found a hundred feet from the house, as if it had been dropped in a hurry, and police believe this was used to reach the window, which looks out on the private road.

Besides the Lindberghs, the only persons in the house at the time of the kidnapping were Betty Gow, the baby's nurse; the butler, Ollie Wheatley, and his wife. It had been the Lindberghs' custom to spend week-ends only at the country place, but on Saturday they decided to remain all this week.

As news of the kidnapping spread through the friendly countryside, automobiles raced to the scene. Two hundred police were stationed in the vicinity in an effort to keep the traffic from clogging, but, even so, many machines came to a standstill in the narrow road.

State Trooper Michael Hullfish of Hopewell was foreman of the construction gang when the home was built and gave police the names of fifty men employed on the job, all of whom will be questioned.

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