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Episode 48 - Blood Mail: America's First Kidnapping

In the summer of 1874, little Charley Ross disappeared after taking candy from a stranger. This is the story of America’s first kidnapping and the nationwide manhunt that ended in a deadly shoot-out.


“Charlie Ross - Gustave Blair - Nelson Miller”

“Court Identifies ‘Charley Ross’ But Family ‘Disowns’ Him.” Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), May 9, 1939, Page A-5.

Duke, Thomas Samuel. Celebrated Criminal Cases of America (San Francisco: The James H Barry Company, 1910). Pp. 536-546.

Fass, Paula S. Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Hagen, Carrie. We is got him: the Kidnapping that Changed America (New York: The Overlook Press, 2011) and “The Story Behind the First Ransom Note in American History.” Smithsonian Magazine. December 9, 2013.

Ross, Christian. The Father’s Story of Charley Ross, the Kidnapped Child (Philadelphia: John E Potter and Company, 1876).

Schechter, Harold. “The Kidnapping of Little Charley Ross, 1874.” The Yale Review. May 14, 2018.

Zierold, Norman. Defy All the Devils: America’s First Kidnapping for Ransom (Open Road Media, 2018).

Music: Credits to David Fesilyan

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