Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Kidnapping of Mary Skeele, 1933

Widespread lawlessness and violence characterized the U.S. in the 1930s: bank robberies, gangland killings, and kidnappings frequently made headlines. The most infamous kidnapping of the period was the 1932 abduction of twenty month old Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. on March 1, 1932. But the Lindbergh baby was only one of many victims of ransom kidnapping.

On February 5, 1933 Mrs. Mary Bosworth Skeele, 65 year old wife of Dr. Walter F. Skeele, Dean of USC’s College of Music, became the victim of a kidnapping. She was lured out of her home by a cruel hoax. Read the rest of the story at the Los Angeles Times.

Mary Skeele reenacting her kidnapping with police investigators

A police investigator examines a hole in the ground at the site where ransom money was to be dropped

The kidnappers asked for ransom money to be left at this spot on Montecito Drive

The house on Buckeye Street in Pasadena where Mary Skeele was held

The bedroom of the Pasadena house where kidnapping victim Mary Skeele was held

The ransom note

Mary Skeele with two children after being released by kidnappers

Kidnappers E.H. Van Dorn and Luella Pearl Hammer, seated

Mary Skeele testifies in court

Kidnappers Luella Pearl Hammer, center, and E.H. Van Dorn, right, at their trial

(Photos: Los Angeles Times)

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