Fourteen days after the kidnapping of six-year-old June Robles,
her family still had no clue as to her whereabouts.
Then a suspect confessed. From the Arizona Daily Star, May 9,
U. S. CITIZEN IS HELD; TELLS OF
Center of Investigation Shifts to
Below Mexican Line
QUARTET IS INVOLVED
Details of Statement Are Checked By
An American citizen, a former
ex-convict, is being held in custody, but not under arrest as a
suspect in the kidnaping of June Robles and a confession to
authorities yesterday was said to have been written by this
The man is not in Tucson, but has been
in custody for more than a week on the American side of the line.
The "confession," among other things, said that June had been held
in Santa Cruz, Sonora, four days ago. She was, the man said, in
custody of a married couple who are Mexican citizens and a man who
is an American. An immediate investigation showed that the couple
was in Santa Cruz on the day in question. They were accompanied by
a man and a child answering June's description, but the neighbors
who knew the Mexican couple could not positively identify the man
It was a further statement by the man
that sent the officials of Pima county, Tucson and the state
highway patrol hurriedly to Cananea Monday night. The man gave the
exact address at which it was supposed she could be found. Cananea
police, at least some of them, are convinced that the girl was
there, but that her captors escaped with her before the American
The people who have the child in
custody were given a letter by the man under arrest. It was
directed to a relative in Cananea who was instructed to take the
child to Bernabe Robles, her grandfather and get the $15,000
ransom. He was then to take the money to them at Santa Cruz. If he
did not do so within 12 hours, the Santa Cruz party was to go to
The descent of the posse on Cananea
blocked this plan. The relative was arrested and taken to the
Cananea jail, but only for a short time before the police were
satisfied he knew nothing of the case and he was freed. He had not
yet received the letter.
The man who is in custody, it is now
known, was to have been the contact man until his arrest prevented
his playing that role.
The following day it was revealed that a second ransom note was
likely genuine. From the Star, May 10, 1934:
The presence in or near Tucson of another of the suspected
kidnapers of six-year-old June Robles in addition to the
self-styled "contact man" now detained by authorities was believed
indicated tonight by acknowledgement as probably authentic of a
second ransom note.
The communication, first reported Monday (ML note: that would
have been May 7), was understood tonight tacitly to have been
accepted by the family as assurance from the abductors June is
still alive and will be delivered if contact arrangements can be
Contents of the note were not revealed definitely. It was
reported it instructed that directions in the first note, delivered
two hours after June disappeared two weeks ago, continue to be
followed. . . .
The informer whose information resulted in the advance on
Cananea — but too late if the persons seen there really were those
sought — remained somewhere in southern Arizona, in personal
technical custody of authorities who continued to check clues
suggested by the written document in which, it was revealed today,
he named himself as the "contact man," whose duty it was to have
been to collect the $15,000 demanded from Fernando Robles, father
of little June, and described parts played by others.
Speed Plan Fails
The original plan, as detailed, was to collect the ransom within
24 hours, the "contact man" then joining his confederates in Santa
Cruz, Sonora, and proceeding to Cananea to leave the child, for
return later to its parents, with an unsuspecting relative of the
That was believed upset by the sudden and ferocious manhunt the
kidnaping touched off in Tucson. He remained in Tucson as an
observer then, it was believed, until, suspected, he was placed
under restricted surveilance secretly a week ago, and information
obtained from him used in efforts to track the gang.
It was not revealed in the documentary evidence authorities had
which of the companions he named was assigned to the actual
abduction of the child and delivery of the ransom note.
The man described by a small boy, who unwittingly delivered the
first ransom note in exchange for 25 cents, was an American. The
informer is a Mexican.
On May 11, the Star ran an article stating that Fernando Robles
had not received a second note after all.
Two denials, one from J. E. P. Dunn, department of justice
operative, and the other from Fernando Robles, heart-broken father
of the missing six-year-old girl, of the report that a note from
the baby's kidnapers had contained replies to questions asked by
her father, last night returned the puzzle of the kidnaping to the
list of unanswered questions.
Robles, when asked if his questions to his daughter, asked in
his previously published appeal to the kidnapers, had been answered
"If there were such answers I do not know about them. If there
were any such answers in any note, I did not see it."
Dunn once again offered amnesty to the kidnapers for the child's
safe return. He and his department had eliminated all suspects and
had no more leads.
Fernando Robles, June's father made another appeal, which ran in
the Star May 11:
Text of Father's Second Plea
for Return of Child
TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS HAVING JUNE
There are two reasons why I have not been able to comply with
all of your instructions and to make a contact. (1) I have worked
hard ever since your note was received, trying to raise the
$15,000, but I have been able to raise only $10,000, and it is
impossible for me to raise more. (2) The condition upon which I was
able to raise the $10,000 was that the money was not to be paid in
the manner which you have outlined in your instructions.
In view of the above reasons, you can understand and appreciate
the delay and my failure to contact you. I have had no way to let
you know how difficult my problem has been.
I did not have the full amount of the money demanded and I have
never been able to get the donors of the money to allow me to pay
the ransom in accordance with your instructions. In this
connection, I wish to state that the persons who have assisted me
in securing the $10,000 have emphatically stated that the money
must not be paid except upon the delivery of the child at the time
In view of this situation I request that you make a new contact
with me and that you suggest any plan agreeable to you for the
payment of the ransom and the safe return of June. The only
suggestion which I would like to make with regards to the person
whom you name as contact is that it be some individual who
personally knows my daughter. This for the reason that I want to be
sure at all times that I am dealing with the proper parties and not
subjecting myself to hi-jacking.
I want to assure you that I propose to deal with you fairly and
honestly and that there will be no double-crossing, no spies, no
officers and no betrayment. If you will immediately make a contact
and submit a satisfactory plan, I am ready to negotiate promptly
with you in accordance with the conditions above named.
I have the assurance of all interested law enforcement agencies
that I shall have a free hand in my negotiations with your contact
In order that I may not be interfered with in our negotiations
and that I may have our daughter returned to us as speedily as
possible, I am issuing the following appeal:
TO THE PEOPLE AND THE
NEWSPAPERS OF THE UNTED STATES:
For more than two weeks I have been trying, with every means at
my disposal, to locate our child and secure her safe return.
I have tried to the limit of my ability to meet every demand and
follow the instructions received, when given a chance to do so
To date I have received no positive assurance that she will be
I am not unmindful of the great interest shown by the mothers
and fathers of the country and appreciate deeply the sympathy that
actuates this interest. However, sympathy and interest alone have
not brought about the return of our child.
The situation created by this condition and the activity
generated by the desire to inform the public of the progress being
made, have made it impossible for me to continue negotiations and
comply with the requests of those who hold our child. Unless this
condition is changed I fear that I will never see our baby
I appeal to the public in general and the newspapers and the law
enforcing agencies to discontinue activity which might interfere
with my plans to secure the safe return of our baby.
FERNANDO A. ROBLES.
One might expect that this would be the beginning of a news
blackout on the subject of the kidnapping until its resolution.
One would be wrong.
Next: Others were targeted by the kidnappers first.