The murder of Bobby Franks was a planned event. Leopold and Loeb spent seven months going over the details, such how to get ransom money without being caught in the process. In this article, you will learn their method of murder and of the costly mistake that placed the young men as the number one suspects in the case.
On May 21, 1924, Leopold and Loeb decided to execute their plans. Unfortunately, it was a neighbor and extended relative of Loeb named Bobby Franks who would become their targeted victim. They lured the boy into the passenger seat of their rented car.
One of the boys drove, while the other sat in the back with a weapon. Franks was hit with a chisel, where a sock was placed into his mouth as he died soon after. The body was covered in an isolated location close to Wolf Lake in Indiana. Franks’ clothes were removed and left at the side of the road. Hydrochloric acid was poured on the body to make identifying the body difficult to accomplish. They went to a hot dog stand to eat dinner and when they were done , returned to hide the body at the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.
When Leopold and Loeb returned to Chicago, they called Franks’ mother and informed her that her son had been kidnapped. A ransom note was mailed to the boy’s parents. Afterwards, they spend time covering up clues, such as burning pieces of their clothing that had become stained with blood. The upholstery of their rented car had bloodstains on it, which they attempted to clean. The rest of the evening was spent playing cards.
The ransom for the boy was never paid because the body of Bobby Franks was discovered. Upon learning that the body had been found, Leopold and Loeb dismantled the typewriter they had used to create the ransom note, as well as burned the robe they used to relocate the body.
A Costly Mistake
As Leopold and Loeb followed their plans to commit the perfect crime, they left behind a vital detail at the crime scene. While looking for evidence, Detective Hugh Patrick Byrne came across a pair of eyeglasses close to the body. Interestingly, there was something different about these glasses – it possessed a hinge mechanism that only three people in Chicago had purchased. One of the customers in town with the eyeglasses was Nathan Leopold.
Leopold was questioned and answered that he had lost his glasses while he was bird watching. Loeb told police that Leopold was with him the night of the murder. Both told investigators that they had met with two women that they picked up in Leopold’s car and dropped them off near a golf course. Another unfortunate twist to the case was that Leopold’s car was being repaired by his chauffeur that night. The chauffeur’s wife also noted that the car was in the Leopold garage that night.