Saturday, May 7, 2011

Baby Abducted As World War II Ends

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Janet Lynn Bramon was never found
By Robert A. Waters

On August 14, 1945, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, President Harry Truman read a statement that was broadcast by radio to the cities and villages and farms of America. “I have received this afternoon,” he said, “a message from the Japanese government…of the unconditional surrender of Japan.”

World War II was over. Nearly a half-million American men had been killed and another half-million wounded. Men from every segment of society had bled their lives away on battlefields across the globe. The announcement of Japan's surrender triggered massive celebrations from a war-weary country.

In Los Angeles, crowds exploded into the streets. Businesses quickly closed. Cheers rocked the city for hours. Horns sounded throughout the evening and night. Sirens wailed in a wild celebration of victory. Confetti streamed from upstairs office buildings and covered the crowds. In the midst of the jubilation, strangers hugged and stoic men wept like babies.

It was the perfect time to commit an abominable act, and the abduction of eight-week-old Janet Lynn Bramon was just such a crime.

Exactly twenty-six years later, in 1971, the Los Angeles Times published segments of a letter from Charlotte Bramon. Her intent, she said, was to get the police to reopen the case.

As the nation celebrated the end of World War II, Bramon wrote, a nursemaid had stolen her baby. “She couldn’t have picked a better day,” Bramon said. “It was pandemonium.”

The babysitter, who went by the name of Marie Griffin, had been hired only three days before. As the celebration began, she simply took the child and walked into the street. The woman and the baby disappeared among the throngs never to be seen again.

Police launched a wide-ranging search, but never found the child or her abductor. Many of the cops who worked the case were of the opinion that the nursemaid had given a false name and that her purpose in taking the job was to steal Janet. The celebration following the end of the war gave her the perfect opportunity.

“For months afterward,” Bramon said, “I looked at babies, abandoned or with suspicious women, always hoping it would be little Janet.”

As the days and weeks and years wore on, Bramon continued to search for her missing child. The only consolation she had was that Janet Lynn was probably being well-cared for by her abductor. “The only thing I could ever think of,” she said, “was that if the woman wanted a baby that bad, she would take care of it.”

After being contacted by reporters from the Times, police stated that they considered the case still open.

“Maybe [Janet] died,” Bramon told reporters. “[But] she’s probably married and [has] kids.”

Whatever happened to little Janet Lynn Bramon? No one knows. It seems that someone got away with the perfect crime.

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