Sunday, April 6, 2014

New York Boy Kidnapped, Murdered

On February 24, 1938, twelve-year-old Peter David Levine disappeared from New Rochelle, New York.  While walking home from school with a companion, Peter stepped into a store to buy candy.  He was never seen alive again.

The New Rochelle Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a massive search.  Soon Peter’s father received a note demanding $60,000 in cash for the return of his son.  He could raise only half, and offered that to the kidnappers.

On May 29, after weeks of silence, Peter’s torso washed ashore behind a home on Long Island.  An Associated Press story described the scene: “One hundred local police and G-men searched nearby shores today for the remnants of the body of kidnaped 12-year-old Peter Levine, whose wire-trussed, headless torso was yielded up last night by the waters of Long Island Sound…”

The night before Peter’s body was found, another kidnapping occurred.  James Bailey “Skeegie” Cash disappeared from his Princeton, Florida home.  For two weeks, the cases ran simultaneously in newspapers across the country.  The difference between the modestly wealthy parents of Peter Levine and the “obscure country merchant” father of Skeegie was stark.  But both parents did all they could to bring their sons home.

The inside story of these cases is told in a dramatic new book by Robert A. Waters and Zack C. Waters.  While the Levine case was never solved, the Cash abduction reached a horrifying conclusion in the swamps of the Everglades.  The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash: J. Edgar Hoover and Florida’s Lindbergh Case breaks new ground in the history of child abduction. 

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