Person:Herbert Schwarzkopf (2)

Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf
m. 1893
  1. Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf1895 - 1958
  1. Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf1934 - 2012
Facts and Events
Name Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf
Gender Male
Birth[6] 28 Aug 1895 Newark, Essex, New Jersey, United States
Census[2] 1900 Newark, Essex, New Jersey, United States
Census[3] 1910 Newark, Essex, New Jersey, United States
Military[1] Jun 1913 West Point, Orange, New York, United StatesCadet, United States Military Academy
Census[4] 1920 Newark, Essex, New Jersey, United States
Employment[5] From 1921 to 1936 New Jersey, United StatesColonel, State Police
Census 1930 Princeton, Mercer, New Jersey, United Stateswith Ruth Alice Bowman
Other? 1 Mar 1932 East Amwell, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United StatesThe Lindbergh kidnapping
Census 1935 Lawrence, Mercer, New Jersey, United Stateswith Ruth Alice Bowman
Census 1 Apr 1940 Lawrence, Mercer, New Jersey, United Stateswith Ruth Alice Bowman
Death[6] 25 Nov 1958 West Orange, Essex, New Jersey, United States
Burial[6] 2 Dec 1958 United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange, New York, United States
Reference Number? Q340137?

The Lindbergh kidnapping

On the evening of March 1, 1932, Schwarzkopf, then 37, and the chief of the New Jersey State Police, was among the officials called to the East Amwell residence of Charles Lindbergh, following the kidnapping of his 20-month-old son, Charlie.

He arrived on the scene with his second-in-command, Major Charles Schoeffel, and established a police command post in the three-car garage on the side of Lindbergh's house opposite the nursery, though he found it impossible to protect the area from contamination. Further complicating the investigation was the fact that the controlling Lindbergh used his fame and influence to exert authority over matters, which meant that Schwarzkopf had to essentially work around him, despite ostensibly being in charge of the investigation, a fact for which Schwarzkopf has been criticized by experts such as FBI profiler and author John E. Douglas.

Schwarzkopf requested a list of all the employees who worked on Lindbergh's house, which was constructed following Charlie's birth, as well as those who worked in the house and at Next Day Hill, the palatial Englewood estate of Lindbergh's inlaws, Dwight and Elizabeth Morrow, where the Lindberghs stayed during the week prior to the completion of their own home. Although they only stayed in the incomplete home on weekends, they did not return to Next Day Hill by Tuesday, March 1, because Charlie was ill.

Schwarzkopf believed the kidnappers were local and nonprofessional, based on the their apparent familiarity with the Lindbergh house, the location of the nursery from which the infant Charlie was abducted, and the relatively modest ransom request of $50,000. Schwarzkopf suspected gang involvement, as kidnapping was a common criminal enterprise during the Great Depression, and wanted to contact members of the underworld, but during the course of the investigation, John F. Condon, a 72-year-old retired Bronx school teacher, became an intermediary between Lindbergh and the kidnappers after he placed an ad in Home News, to which the kidnappers responded. Schwarzkopf wanted to place a trace on Condon's telephone, but Lindbergh overruled him, and setting up a trap would have been made difficult or impossible by Lindbergh's management of the case.

Schwarzkopf reluctantly agreed to keep law enforcement away from the arranged ransom drop. Although the man Condon gave the ransom money to in Saint Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx on April 2 gave Condon a note describing a boat where Charlie could be found, no such boat was found. When Charlie's skeletonized corpse was found by a truck driver on May 12, Schwarzkopf inspected the shallow grave, four miles from the Lindbergh home, whose lights were visible from the site. Following identification of the corpse as Charlie, and the determination from the level of decomposition that he was killed immediately after abduction, Schwarzkopf informed Charlie's nursemaid, Betty Gow, and Elizabeth Morrow, who then informed Charlie's mother, Anne Lindbergh. Charles Lindbergh's need for control over the case was now over, and by the time the case was months old, and trails had gone cold, Schwarzkopf was the target of widespread and recurring criticism. Following the suicide of Violet Sharpe, a maid for the Morrows who had been acting suspiciously before the incident and during its investigation, some, such as Violet's sister, Emily Sharpe, accused Schwarzkopf and Jersey City Police Department investigator Harry Walsh of harassing her to death with their rough interrogations, but experts such as Douglas have disputed this notion.

To test the theory of how the baby was abducted and then killed early on, Schwarzkopf had duplicates constructed of the makeshift ladder used to climb into Charlie's second-story nursery window and the ransom letter, and reenacted the crime himself. The 165-pound Schwarzkopf carried a sandbag weighing the same as Charlie down the ladder, and when he stepped onto the highest rung of the lower portion of the wooden ladder (which, like the real one, consisted of two hinged sections and a third one attached at the crime scene), the side rail split, just where it had on the real ladder. Schwarzkopf dropped the bag, and it struck the cement windowsill of the library, echoing the massive skull fracture that served as Charlie's cause of death.

Schwarzkopf had the written communications in evidence sent to graphologists, who concluded that they were all written by one person, most likely German in origin. In the fall of 1932, Schwarzkopf was put in touch with New York psychiatrist Dudley D. Schoenfeld, who concluded from the kidnapper's writings that the perpetrator was a mechanically inclined, 40-year-old German suffering from dementia paralytica, caused by feelings of powerlessness, which is considered an impressive early example of criminal profiling.

Schwarzkopf also had pieces of the ladder analyzed by wood technologist Arthur Koehler, who determined from four extra nail holes that rail sixteen of the ladder, unlike the wood used to make the rest of the ladder, had been previously used for some other purpose. It was presumed that this was because the kidnapper ran out of lumber and cannibalized whatever wood was on hand for that rail. Koestler concluded on November 19, 1933 that side rails twelve through fifteen came from National Lumber and Millwork Company in the Bronx.

Investigation of bills from the ransom money that turned up in circulation led to the September 19, 1934 arrest of Bruno Hauptmann, a 35-year-old German skilled carpenter who once worked at National Lumber and Millwork, which was ten blocks from Hauptmann's residence. By matching grain patterns and nail holes, Koehler determined that rail sixteen had been removed from Hauptmann's attic, which was missing a floor board, and featured nail holes in four successive joints where it would have been hammered down.

Hauptmann was tried and convicted for murder, and was executed on April 3, 1936.

  1. United States. Adjutant General's Office. Returns from U.S. military posts, 1800-1916. (Washington [District of Columbia]: The National Archives, 1968).

    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916; Microfilm Serial: M617; Microfilm Roll: 1420.

  2. United States. Census Office. 12th census, 1900. New Jersey, 1900 federal census : soundex and population schedules. (Washington, District of Columbia: The National Archives, 19--?).

    Census Place: Newark Ward 2, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: 962; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0020; FHL microfilm: 1240962.

  3. United States. Bureau of the Census. 13th census, 1910. New Jersey, 1910 federal census : population schedules. (Washington [District of Columbia]: The National Archives, 19--?).

    Census Place: Newark Ward 2, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: T624_876; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0014; ; FHL microfilm: 1374889.

  4. United States. 1920 U.S. Census Population Schedule. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T625).

    Census Place: Newark Ward 4, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1032; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 132; Image: 707.

  5. New Jersey State Police.

    1st Colonel: H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Badge #: 1, Length of Term: 14 years 11 Months, Service Dates: 7/1/21 - 6/7/36

  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962.