It was the tragic case that intrigued and horrified the world.
But 80 years after aviator Charles Lindbergh’s baby son was snatched from his cradle and eventually found dead in woodland, an American author has put forward a sensational new theory.
Robert Zorn claims that ‘Cemetery John’, the mastermind behind the crime was not actually the man convicted and put to death by electric chair in April 1936.
Instead, after a six-year investigation, he has identified John Knoll, a deli worker who was a one-time acquaintance of his late father as the culprit.
The pair had become friends thanks to their mutual love of stamp-collecting.
Mr Zorn claims that his father overheard Knoll in conversation with his brother and a stranger called Bruno discussing how they might spend an incoming fortune.
The author now believes ‘Bruno’ is actually Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the only man charged, convicted and executed in connection with the kidnapping.
‘John Knoll was a real villain and a guy who always had to draw attention to himself,’ he told the Sunday Express.
‘It didn’t click with my dad until many years later that the German named Bruno could have been the man who was executed.’
Mr Zorn also says that experts has matched a sample of Knoll’s handwriting with that found on a ransom note left at the Lindbergh house after Charles was taken.
He added that Knoll had enjoyed a lavish lifestyle in the wake of the murder, enjoying a holidays abroad and buying a country estate where he died aged 74 after falling off a ladder.
The Lindbergh case enthralled America from the moment Charles Jr was snatched when he was 20 months old in March 1932.
His father was famous for making the first to fly solo across the Atlantic in The Spirit of St Louis. five years before and the heady mix of celebrity, wealth and an appalling crime against an innocent child proved irresistible.