Bobby Greenlease, 6, was abducted on Sept. 28, 1953 from his school by a woman posing as his aunt
It’s been 70 years since the abduction of 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease sent shockwaves through Missouri and beyond.
On Sept. 28, 1953, the young boy was abducted from his school by a woman posing as his aunt. Shortly after the kidnapping, his family — including his father Robert Cosgrove Greenlease, Sr., who was a wealthy Cadillac dealer in Kansas City, Mo., at the time — began to receive a slew of ransom demands.
According to the FBI, the first letter demanded $600,000, which the captors wanted in $20 and $10 bills. (This amount of money is equivalent to nearly $7 million in 2023.) The Greenlease family received numerous ransom notes regarding their son and more than a dozen phone calls between September 28 and October 5.
On October 5, the kidnappers — later identified as Carl Hall and Bonnie Heady — confirmed that they received the entire $600,000 and told the Greenlease family that Bobby was safe and would be returned home. Sadly, only part of this message was true. Hall and Heady did in fact receive the massive ransom, but unfortunately, the Greenleases would never see their son alive again.
One day later on October 6, Hall, 34, was arrested at a hotel in St. Louis, Mo., and Heady, 41, was arrested later that evening at an apartment nearby. During questioning, Hall cracked and told authorities about the kidnapping scheme and confirmed what everyone feared most: Bobby was dead. His remains were found on Oct. 7 in Heady’s yard in St. Joseph, Mo., after Hall told authorities the location, according to the FBI.
Hall initially refused to take responsibility for the young boy's death, but eventually — after days of interrogation — he admitted to fatally shooting Bobby shortly after he was taken from his school by Heady.
Although Hall came from a well-to-do family, he blew through his inheritance after the death of his parents and viewed the kidnapping plan as a get-rich-quick scheme after he dedicated himself to a life of crime. Hall met Heady — who also came from a well-off family — after he was released from prison for robbery, TIME reported in 1953.
While the kidnapping was the deadly duo's original plan, Hall admitted that the murder of the young boy was planned too: Bobby’s grave was dug before Heady arrived at his school on that fateful day in September of 1953, per TIME.
At a hearing on Oct. 30, 1953, Hall and Heady both pleaded guilty to the kidnapping and killing of Bobby and were quickly sentenced to death.
“I think the verdict fits the evidence,” Judge Albert L. Reeves, who was overseeing the case, said, according to the FBI. “It is the most coldblooded, brutal murder I have ever tried.”
The murderous couple were executed together in a gas chamber in Jefferson City, Mo., on Dec. 18, 1953, dying only 20 seconds apart and less than three months after killing Bobby.
Although the horrifying case was closed rather quickly, one question still remains: Where is the ransom money? Only half of the money has been recovered. Two St. Louis officers, Lieutenant Louis Ira Shoulders and Patrolman Elmer Dolan, were charged in connection with lying about the money during testimony, according to the FBI.
Charged and convicted of perjury, Shoulders was sentenced to three years in prison and Dolan was sentenced to two years. After their prison releases, they both returned to St. Louis. However, in 1965 after Shoulders passed away, President Lyndon B. Johnson pardoned Dolan after he admitted to perjuring himself out of fear of Shoulders, according to St. Louis True Crime Report. But still, to this day, the $300,000 (equal to nearly $3.5 million dollars in 2023) has never been found.
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Read the original article on People.