Today-Remember Judge Crater

Locked
Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Today-Remember Judge Crater

Post by Ralph » Sun Aug 07, 2005 5:18 am

New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
The judge mystery
By OWEN MORITZ
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, August 7th, 2005

He was last seen 75 years ago yesterday, leaving a W.46th St. watering hole after dining with two companions and jumping into a taxi, disappearing into history.

Judge Joseph Force Crater - Tammany Hall stalwart, justice of the New York State Supreme Court and dapper man about town - remains the city's most famous missing person.

His baffling disappearance spawned thousands of jokes and from time to time rumors circulated of Crater being spotted on a South Sea isle or in some other remote locale.

Fresh theories abound over the disappearance of a man who had everything, including friendship with top elected Democrats and a fondness for chorus girls, and was, at age 41, in the very prime of his life.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1889 and a graduate of Columbia Law School, Crater had decided early on to throw his lot in with the dominant if corrupt Tammany machine. He counted prominent figures among his friends - his mentor was future U.S. Sen. Robert Wagner Sr. - and Crater headed Manhattan's powerful Cayuga Democratic Club.

After paying the going rate of $20,000, he became a judge. He did his job well enough for Gov. Franklin Roosevelt to consider him for promotion. But Crater was also a person of interest to investigators probing the scandal-ridden administration of Mayor Jimmy Walker.

In late July 1930, Crater was on a Maine vacation with his wife when he got a mysterious phone call. He told his wife, Stella, he was going back to New York "to straighten those fellows out."

On the morning of Aug. 6, he spent two hours going through his files in his chambers on Centre St. An aide cashed two checks for him totaling $5,150. He bought a ticket for a Broadway play, "Dancing Partners."

At Billy Haas' chophouse that night, he ran into a lawyer and his date and joined them for dinner. It ran to 9p.m., well past the play's starting time.

Shortly after 9 p.m., Crater bid farewell to his two companions, then hailed a taxi. He was never seen or heard from again.

Inexplicably, the judge's disappearance went unnoticed for weeks. Court was in recess until Aug. 25, so his absence wasn't noted. Stella Crater told investigators she thought her husband was busy in New York.

On Sept. 3, 1930, police finally entered the investigation - and Crater's vanishing act became headline news.

Detectives discovered his safe-deposit box empty.

After a barrage of publicity, the case died, except for one strange development. On Jan. 21, 1931, his wife found three envelopes with $6,690 in cash, along with a $30,000 insurance policy and the judge's will in a drawer in the couple's apartment at 40 Fifth Ave.

Detectives, having thoroughly searched the apartment, were dubious.

Was Crater the man who knew too much and therefore had to be eliminated? Was he near a breakdown? Did some of the judge's questionable deals prompt a hit on his life? Or maybe he was caught up in a midlife crisis, ready to start a new life. If so, where did he go?

Among the theories is one from his widow, Stella Crater. After moving to Florida, she concluded her husband had been murdered. "It was all due to politics," she said.

But in "Vanishing Point," a compelling book published last year, journalist Richard Tofel suggests that after the Aug. 6 dinner Crater went to the salon of notorious madam Polly Adler and suffered a heart attack during sex with one of Adler's girls.

While Adler's best seller, "A House is Not a Home," makes no mention of the incident, Tofel pieces together other evidence to suggest Adler called on one of her gangster buddies to dispose of the body.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:10 pm

Maybe he knows where that kid in Aruba is. I hear the Boulder team that did such a bang up job on the Ramsey case has been advising the Aruba police.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Mon Aug 08, 2005 4:57 am

Corlyss_D wrote:Maybe he knows where that kid in Aruba is. I hear the Boulder team that did such a bang up job on the Ramsey case has been advising the Aruba police.
*****

Oh great.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests