Twisted Facts About The Kidnapping And Murder Of Bobby Greenlease

Bobby Greenlease was kidnapped on September 28, 1953. A woman named Bonnie Emily Brown Heady appeared at his school, Notre Dame de Sion. The school allowed Greenlease to go with her and didn't bother to check who she was or how she was related to the child until slightly later that day. By then, it was too late. The Bobby Greenlease case became one of the most famous kidnappings in American history. 

Within minutes of heading off in a cab with Greenlease, Heady met up with her accomplice (who was also her boyfriend), Carl Hall. Hall killed Greenlease and the two disposed of his body together. They then called the boy's parents to demand ransom money, which was provided to them several days later. Thankfully, they were caught while spending the money and both pled guilty to the crime. 

Bobby Greenlease, Jr., was the son of Robert Greenlease, Sr., one of the wealthiest men in Kansas City, Missouri. He owned and managed a number of auto dealerships. Bobby was born in 1947 when Robert was 65 years old. The boy had a biological sister, as well as an adopted brother. Read on to discover disturbing facts about the unfortunate death of Bobby Greenlease, the boy who was murdered at the tender age of six. 

  • Greenlease Was Killed Within 30 Minutes Of Being Kidnapped And Was Buried In Heady's Backyard

    Greenlease was killed in a vacant field in Overland Park, Kansas, by kidnappers who had no plans to take him back to his family alive. At first, Hall pulled a rope around the six-year-old's neck, trying to asphyxiate him. However, the rope wasn't long enough. Hall then punched the young Greenlease several times in the head before he shoved the child to the ground and shot him to death. Greanlease was dead within 30 minutes of being kidnapped. 

    After the boy died, the murderers took the body to Heady's house. They stuffed the boy into a plastic bag and covered it in lime juice. Then, they buried the child in a ditch that Hall had prepared the night before in the backyard. Knowing that the soil would look like it had been disturbed, they planted flowers in hopes of hiding the grave. 

  • Heady Showed Up At The School, Pretended To Be Greenlease's Aunt, And Lied That His Mother Was Ill

    Heady didn't face many hindrances when kidnapping Greenlease. On the morning of September 28, 1953, she went to his school in Kansas City, Missouri, and claimed to he his aunt. She told Sister Morand, who had opened the school's door to let her in, that Greenlease's mother had been stricken with a heart attack and was in the hospital. Heady also said that she was instructed by the Greenlease family to take the child to his mother. The ruse worked and Heady walked out of the school with the child. 

  • The Ransom Note Demanded $600,000

    The Ransom Note Demanded $600,000
    Photo: Arresting Police/Sheriff's Department

    Hall and Heady made random demands in a series of letters and phone calls. They identified themselves only as "M" and requested $600,000 - the equivalent of over $5 million in the 21st century. The kidnappers insisted that the child was alive throughout the entire ordeal, when he was actually dead. They demanded the money be in only $10 and $20 bills, which were easy to spend, and that it be dropped off on US Highway 40 in a duffel bag. 

    Distraught, Greenlease's father did as he was instructed. After he dropped off the money, Hall and Heady called to let him know that they received the payment and lied that Greenlease would be returned to his family shortly. They fled to St. Louis to celebrate. 

    Greenlease was targeted by the kidnappers because his father owned a number of car dealerships in a swath of states that stretched across of the central US, ranging from Texas to South Dakota. The family lived in the wealthy Mission Hills neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, and appeared extremely wealthy. As it turns out, Hall and Heady had been following the family for some time, waiting for the perfect moment to kidnap little Bobby Greenlease, Jr. 

  • The Kidnapping Was Discovered Within The Hour When The School Called Greenlease's Mother, But It Was Too Late

    Bobby Greenlease's mother, Virginia, received a phone call around 11:30am on the morning that her son was kidnapped. The caller, Sister Marthanna, was wondering how she was doing and seemed to be puzzled by the fact that she was at home. Virginia was surprised to hear that she had supposedly had a heart attack, and the two of them quickly figured out that Bobby had been kidnapped. Unfortunately, by that time, the child was already dead. 

  • Only Around Half Of The Ransom Money Was Ever Recovered

    Half of the $600,000 ransom was never recovered. According to the FBI, Hall put the money in two metal suitcases that never made it to the police station. Hall stated that the entire sum of the random was in the motel room when he was arrested. The officers who were at the scene claimed that those suitcases were taken to the police station. It was later theorized that these two officers took half of the money for themselves and submitted the other half as evidence. 

    Other theories believe that a local mobster, Joe Costello, might have been told about the money by Joe Carr, the cab driver who took Hall to his motel. Some sources point out how corrupt the St. Louis police were at the time, while others suspect Carr himself of taking the cash. 

  • Heady Is One of Three Women Executed By The Federal Government

    Heady is one of three women who have received death sentences and have been executed by the federal government. On December 18, 1953, she and Hall were led to the gas chamber in the Missouri State Penitentiary. There, side by side, the two were put to death for their crimes.

    Most of the women on death row who meet their end via execution are sentenced by the state in which they committed their crimes in. Only three females have been sentenced to death and executed by the federal government. Apart from Heady, there is Mary Surratt, who was put to death in 1865 for her role in Abraham Lincoln's assassination, and Ethel Rosenberg, a Russian spy.