The Sixteenth Rail

The Sixteenth Rail

The Evidence, the Scientist, and the Lindbergh Kidnapping

eBook - 2013
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The Sherlock Holmes-like forensic scientist helped convict Bruno Hauptmann for the murder of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.
Publisher: Golden : Fulcrum Pub., 2013.
ISBN: 9781555917739
1555917739
Characteristics: 1 online resource (514 pages)
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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rpavlacic
May 17, 2017

When we think of forensics, we think ballistics and fingerprints and DNA. While the first two existed before the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh Jr., Arthur Koehler may be regarded as the world's first forensic scientist to testify at a trial. A forestry expert with the US Department of Agriculture, he was called upon to study the sections of ladder used to steal away the Lindbergh baby - sourcing where each had come from, the kind of blade or file used to saw and / or finish each section, which lumber yard(s) they had been sold from, and most critically tying one section of railing to the attic of the home of the eventual suspect, Richard Hauptmann. Later, Koehler's dramatic expert testimony and hands-on demonstrations at the trial ensured a conviction, even more so than the ransom money that was found in Hauptmann's possession when he was arrested. Research can take weeks or months, not mere hours, and the book makes that point clear. This is a brilliant retelling of how a circumstantial case became a forensic one.

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