R E E N L E A S E C A S E
particularly notorious moment in the life of the motel was the Greenlease
kidnapping case. On September 28, 1953, six-year old Bobby Greenlease
Jr. was kidnapped from his Kansas City, Kansas school by Carl Austin Hall
and Halls mistress, Bonnie Heady. In a series of phone conversations,
Hall repeatedly assured Bobbys parents that the boy was alive and
well. Unaware that his child had already been murdered, millionaire Robert
C. Greenlease paid $600,000 in a desperate effort to save his son. Hall
and Heady collected the ransom, crossed the state line and fled to St.
Louis. Hall hid out for two days at the Coral Court Motel. An odd assortment
of St. Louisansa policeman, a crook, a cab driver and a prostitutewere
all instrumental in the capture of Bobbys killers. The incident
received national attention and is often compared to the infamous Lindbergh
Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Heady both pleaded guilty. A jury in Kansas
City recommended the death penalty. Eighty-seven days after the murder,
Hall and Heady were executed in the gas chamber at the state penitentiary
in Jefferson City. Somewhere, somehow, half of the ransom money$300,000disappeared.
Many people believed that the missing money was stashed on the premises
of the Coral Court Motel.
The mystery of what happened to the $300,000 has never been solved. Recently,
I spoke with a lady whose husband was an FBI agent assigned to the Greenlease
case. She told me the case is still open, 50+ years later. (I havent
phoned the FBI to confirm that, but I thought it was interesting.)