The Disappearance of Bobby Greenlease Jr.

 Bobby Greenlease Jr.

Bobby Greenlease Jr.

It started like any other day for the young 6 year old boy Bobby Greenlease Jr. It was September 28th, 1953, Bobby had left home and arrived at his catholic school in Kansas City, Missouri like any other typical day. One slight hitch that made the day unique. Bobby was summoned by a nun, a member of the staff of the school. She informed him that his aunt was here to pick him up to go check on his mother who had become ill. When Bobby approached his aunt, nothing seemed out of the ordinary to the nun. Bobby seemed comfortable and almost as if he knew the woman. She thought nothing of it and watched as Bobby walked the halls for the final time.

Bobby’s father was well to do. He was a millionaire who helped shape the automotive industry in the early years. He owned multiple dealerships amassing a fortune and making himself out a target because of it. People were envious of his success. One who was particularly envious and disturbed went by the name of Carl Austin Hall. Carl had gone to school with Bobby’s older brother and was well aware of their wealth. From an early point in his life he had planned to extort in some way the Greenlease family.

Shortly after Bobby left school the nun decided to check on the family. She found herself speaking to Bobby’s mother who was supposed to be incapacitated. The nun and Bobby's mother soon realized that the woman Bobby left school with was not his aunt. Those who were aware of the events quickly took note that Bobby had been abducted and the F.B.I. were called in.

The woman who had abducted Bobby had fled in a cab, from the cab she met with her cohort, none other then Carl Austin Hall who was finally living out his goal of taking the fortune of the Greenlease family. The woman, whose name is Bonnie Heady worked with Carl to pull off the brazen plan. Bonnie and Bobby exited the cab and entered Carl’s vehicle.

The duo would send multiple letters to the family, as well as make a number of calls to get their demands across; $600,000 in $10 and $20 denominations. Within a few days the team received the ransom and instructed the family that Bobby would return to them unharmed in 24 hours. I am curious what Carl and Bonnie were thinking as they made their get away money in hand. Was there any remorse? Regret? Disgust? What they failed to reveal to the family is that Bobby had died shortly after getting into Carl’s car. Bobby had been shot and buried near their home unfortunately. There was never a real chance at a rescue of this innocent boy. 

 Bonnie Heady and Carl Hall in police custody.

Bonnie Heady and Carl Hall in police custody.

Despite their heinous acts, the two decided to stick together at first and travelled to St. Louis. Shortly there after,  Carl abandoned Bonnie as she slept, or according to some, passed out from too much alcohol consumption. In a few days, Carl would raise suspicion as he was spending carelessly and flashing large sums of money. This kidnapping was one of the biggest cases at the time and he was quickly picked up for questioning. It did not take long for Carl to mention Bonnie’s name. As authorities searched Bonnie’s residence, they quickly found the shallow grave where Bobby Greenlease Jr. lay. The two were charged with his kidnapping and murder, found guilty of the crimes and sentenced to death.

In an odd move, the state decided to execute the pair at the same time in the Gas Chamber. Carl perished first and Bonnie came tumbling after, just 20 seconds later.

Of the $600,000 ransom the Greenlease family paid out, only $288,000 was recovered. There are a number of theories floating around but Carl or Bonnie never let anyone in on their secret, at least they never did publicly.