Tales from the Morgue: Kidnapped, Part 4

2010-08-22T00:00:00Z 2011-06-03T18:36:51Z Tales from the Morgue: Kidnapped, Part 4Johanna Eubank Arizona Daily Star
August 22, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Little June Robles had been abducted May 25, 1934. There had still been no sign of her, and precious few clues, when a plea from her father ran in the Star.

From the Arizona Daily Star, May 1, 1934:

 

Father Asks Return of His Daughter; Asks Identification
__________

TUCSON, ARIZONA
APRIL 30, 1934

To The Arizona Daily Star,

Will you kindly publish the following message in the next issue of your paper.

To the person or persons who have my daughter June:

I am ready and willing to follow faithfully any and all instructions received by me so that my little girl, June, will be returned to me safely and unharmed.

I have requested the local, county, state and federal officers to withdraw entirely from the search, which they have agreed to do so that we can enter into negotiations successfully.

I have requested again and again in this message that all rewards that have been offered be withdrawn and that all persons refrain from interfering with my attempts to contact you and secure my child.

In order that I may be certain that I am dealing with the proper parties and that my daughter is alive, I request that I be furnished a piece of her dress and her answers to the following questions:

What do you do with your bunnies in the morning?

What do you call Corney?

What is the name of Betina's maid?

Where is you little box with the key in it?

Please take good care of my baby.

Sincerely,            
FERNANDO ROBLES.

 

Law enforcement agencies did indeed withdrawn according to the official announcement by Joseph E. P. Dunn, district chief of the bureau of investigation, department of justice. All local law enforcement agencies complied as well.

The various law enforcement agencies spent time dispelling rumors:

Throughout the long day and into the night rumors poured in to the offices of C. S. Farrar, undersheriff of Pima county and C. A. Wollard, chief of police. An unauthenticated story, started from Tucson, that the child had been found in Magdalena, Sonora, was quickly and completely denied by Eduardo Dado Escobar, chief of police of that city and by J. E. P. Dunn, head of the department of justice detail.

"The story," said Dunn, "is an absolute falsehood. It has no basis in fact."

A short time later in the evening another and similar story was told and as quickly denied. This time the rumor mongers had said the baby had been found in Tucson.

 

The next day it was reported that the ransom was ready, but that the family had yet to be contacted.

From the Star, May 2, 1934:

 

RANSOM READY BUT CHILD IS NOT RETURNED
__________

Grandfather of Kidnapped Girl in Readiness to Pay $15,000
__________

In the possession of white-haired old Bernabe Robles reposed tonight a pack of currency — $15,000 in $5, $10 and $20 bills — ready to be paid as ransom for the life of the one-time frontier land baron's favorite granddaughter, June, kidnaped seven days ago.

As yet there were no takers.

Somewhere — possibly in some quiet street in Tucson itself, through which already had raged a manhunt in grim western style, and subsided, without result — six year old June, perhaps engulfed by homesickness induced by familiar words and phrases, was lisping out the answers to four quaint questions, to be open sesame to freedom for her.

Perhaps she is never to see again the "bunnies," "Corney," "Betina's maid," or her "little box with the key in it" — the family's appeal to the kidnapers has asked about all those things to make sure, in the negotiations June's relatives hope to be allowed to undertake, that it is her life for which they are bargaining.

Four Questions

Only upon four homely little questions about four homely little things intimately connected with the small girl's family life, published for the kidnapers to see if they heeded and for June to answer if they ever reached her, could they depend.

Proof that June is alive — the correct answers to the questions which members of the intimate family circle are sure only they and little June herself could know — is all the family has asked before delivering the ransom money to any place, at any time, the kidnapers may require.

Official search and investigation ceased, and rewards were cancelled. Federal, state, county and city officers went about other affairs and left the Robles family, at its request, to make its peace, if it can, alone, and privately with the kidnapers.

The family had made its offer, and yesterday it could only wait, emotionally over-wrought as it was, with what patience and hope it could muster.

 

And so it went for several days. The family waited for the kidnapers to contact them.

 

Next: A week later, a suspect confesses.

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About this blog

"Tales from the Morgue" is a way for the Star to share stories from the treasure trove of information held in its old files.

Johanna Eubank, aka the Morgue Lady, was a research assistant in the Star Library — also known as News and Research Services — for 18 years before becoming an online content producer. She has had her share of sneezing fits after digging into dusty old files, so she's sure to find a few old stories to re-examine.

If you have suggestions, comments or questions about this blog, e-mail jeubank@tucson.com