Category Archives: Kidnappings

Polly Klaas – 1993

“[You] ain’t got to show me no consideration or no respect” THE CRIME: Polly Hannah Klaas was born on 3 January 1981 in Fairfax, California. On 1 October 1993 she invited two friends, Kate McLean and Gillian Pelham, over for a slumber party at her home in Petaluma, 64 km (40 mi) from San Francisco.… Read More »

Aldo Moro – 1978

“Italy can survive the loss of Aldo Moro; it would not survive the introduction of torture” THE CRIME: Aldo Moro was born at Maglie on 23 September 1916 and rose to become one of Italy’s most influential politicians. He became leader of the Christian Democratic Party and was prime minister from 1963-68 and again from… Read More »

Chowchilla School Bus Kidnapping – 1976

“I said to myself as soon as the bus stopped, ‘What have I got myself into?” THE CRIME: No one had heard of Chowchilla until the summer of 1976 when America’s largest mass kidnapping for ransom occurred there: a busload of children was kidnapped. Driver Ed Ray, a local farmer, stopped the school bus when… Read More »

Patricia Hearst – 1974

“The entire group is common criminals… and Miss Hearst is part of it” THE CRIME: The granddaughter of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst was kidnapped from the flat she shared with her fiancé, Steven Weed, by four masked members of the left-wing guerrilla group, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) on 4 February 1974. The group,… Read More »

Steven Stayner – 1972

“I know my first name is Steven” THE CRIME: Steven Gregory Stayner was born on 18 April 1965, the third of five children of Delbert and Kay Stayner in Merced, California. On 4 December 1972 Ervin Murphy, 31, and Kenneth Parnell, a 41-year-old with a criminal record for abusing children stretching back to 20 March… Read More »

Barbara Jane Mackle – 1968

“Kidnapped” THE CRIME: Born in 1948, Barbara Jane Mackle was the daughter of Robert F. Mackle, a millionaire who, with his two brothers, owned the $65 million Deltona Corporation, one of the biggest home-building companies in America. The three were friends of Florida’s Democratic Senator George Smathers and President-elect Richard Nixon (search the related post).… Read More »

Graeme Thorne – 1960

“If you don’t get the money, I’ll feed the boy to the sharks” THE CRIME: This was Australia’s first kidnapping. In 1960 travelling salesman Bazil Thorne, 37, paid £3 to enter the tenth lottery created by the New South Wales Government to raise money for the building of the Sydney Opera House. His ticket 3932… Read More »

Brooke Hart – 1933

“We didn’t want to bother lugging him around the countryside so we bumped him off” THE CRIME: Brooke Hart was born on 11 June 1911, the son of Alexander Hart, the wealthy owner of L. Hart & Son department store. A popular young man, he worked in the family business and was being groomed to… Read More »