On March 1, 1932, Charles Lindberg, Jr., the 20-month-old son of celebrity aviator Charles Lindbergh, was kidnapped. The toddler was taken from his second-floor bedroom in East Amwell, New Jersey, and a ransom note demanding an initial $50,000 (about $850,000, adjusted for inflation) left in his place. More ransom notes followed, but law enforcement personnel were unable to either identify the kidnappers or find the baby. The body was discovered two months later near the Lindberghs’ home, apparently killed the night he was kidnapped.
 
Media coverage of the Lindbergh kidnapping was extensive, with controversial elements that still draw readers today: celebrities, tragedy, children. Charles Lindbergh was one of the most famous and admired men in the United States, having flown the first solo transatlantic flight just five years earlier. His wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was an acclaimed writer and aviator herself. The kidnapping was Time magazine’s cover story in May 1932, the week before the body was discovered. The kidnapping was the first “trial of the century,” and, according to journalist H.L. Mencken, “the biggest story since the Resurrection.”
 
Sensationalist” news coverage of the Lindberg kidnapping case continued for years in print and radio. A German immigrant carpenter, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, was eventually identified, tried, convicted, and executed for the crime. Public interest in the case inspired Congress to establish the so-called “Lindbergh Law,” which made transporting a kidnapping victim across state lines a federal crime.
celebrity
Noun

famous person.

Congress
Noun

legislative branch of the government, responsible for making laws. The U.S. Congress has two bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

controversial
Noun

questionable or leading to argument.

extensive
Adjective

very large.

federal
Adjective

having to do with a nation's government (as opposed to local or regional government).

immigrant
Noun

person who moves to a new country or region.

initial
Adjective

first.

journalist
Noun

person who reports and distributes news.

kidnap
Verb

to hold a person hostage, usually for ransom.

law enforcement
Noun

individuals or organizations that make sure people obey government rules.

nanoparticle
Noun

material that has an average particle size of 1-100 nanometers.

ransom
Noun

fee associated with the release or return of property.

sensationalist
Adjective

having to do with the use of exaggerated, lurid, or provocative details in reporting an incident.

transatlantic
Adjective

across the Atlantic Ocean.