Monday, January 7, 2013

Platinum Blonde Bombshell Disappears

Was she kidnapped?
by Robert A. Waters

Leychester Lane played a bit part in the history of American kidnapping.  If the beautiful flapper wished to receive publicity for her disappearance (as some journalists speculated), she picked the wrong day to vanish.  On May 10, 1932, newspapers broke the news that a passerby had found the body of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.  Not even the President of the United States could muscle the Lindbergh case from the front pages--Lane's alleged abduction from Joliet, Illinois barely got any mention except on the back pages of a few Midwest journals.

One wire service reported: "Police searched Tuesday night for a clue to the strange disappearance of Leychester Lane, 24-year-old New York dancer who is easily identified by her striking platinum blonde hair.

"'I'm afraid she has been kidnapped, or possibly slain,' said Sheriff Oliver Flint.

"Mrs. Lane, who was described as a beauty prize winner and former owner of a Fifth avenue shoe store, disappeared while en route from her rooming house to a riding academy Sunday morning.  Miss Lane came here two months ago to receive treatment from Dr. George Woodruff, eye specialist.  To be near her physician, she obtained a room from the home of Mrs. Thomas Ferguson.

"After breakfast Sunday, she dressed in a riding habit, as was her custom, told Mrs. Ferguson she was going for a canter, and started toward the riding academy where she ordinarily obtained her mounts.

"Miss Lane left Mrs. Ferguson's home in her sport roadster.  The car has never been found."

Then, out of the blue, Leychester Lane reappeared.

On May 13, the International News Service reported that "after spending four days in the clutches of kidnapers, beautiful Leychester Lane, 28-year-old former actress, was back at her home here today. An accomplished equestrienne, she was snatched up by a gang of abductors as she drove toward Pilcher Park bridle path Sunday morning, Miss Lane stated. Her abductors kicked and beat her and tore her riding habit to shreds during her incarceration in a remote farmhouse. Miss Lane said she was placed on a starvation diet while her tormentors demanded that she arrange to turn over $3,000 in securities."

One day later, the last public mention of the case appeared in an Illinois newspaper: "As suddenly as she disappeared, Leychester Lane, 24, beautiful platinum blonde dancer, reappeared and Friday told a story of being kidnaped for ransom. Miss Lane said her abductors released her despite threats to 'cut my throat' if she did not meet their demands. She had been missing since Sunday."

The Lindbergh case continued its grip on the headlines even as Leychester Lane vanished from public consciousness.


MHN said...

Another fascinating and thought-provoking post. Thanks for all your efforts. Michael, London

Janie said...

How did she get released from them? Did they get caught?? I sensethere is more to the story.

Robert A. Waters said...

Good question. There wasn't much in the old newspapers.