Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The following is a verbatim newspaper account from the Times Leader on the morning of Sept 9th, 1966. The names of the kidnapper, his family, the victim and her family were deleted from this article.

A four day old infant was kidnapped from Taylor hospital during the predawn hours by a 25 year old Taylor man who telephoned a Scranton radio station demanding $20,000 from the child’s parents. The baby was returned to the hospital several hours later unharmed. Agents of the FBI are holding the kidnapper pending an arraignment. He is a former employee of the hospital and at 3am he went to the nursery where he picked up the four year old girl. The kidnapper walked out of the hospital unnoticed.
At about 425am, the man called Joseph Shaver an all night disc jockey on a Scranton radio station and asked to speak to Harry West, a daytime announcer on the station. West was not working at the time so the kidnapper told Shaver that he had taken a baby from a hospital and wanted $20,000. Shaver turned on a tape recorder and got most of the conversation with the kidnapper on tape. He immediately called Taylor hospital and confirmed that the baby was missing, advising the hospital to call Taylor police. Shaver then telephoned the FBI in Philadelphia and special agents Thomas Williams and Robert Harvey were dispatched from the Scranton field office to the Taylor police station. The kidnaper called the radio station 6 or 7 times during the early morning hours but Shaver did not put the information on the air for fear he would not call back. Shortly before 7am West arrived at the station and received a call from the kidnaper. Telling West he had the missing baby, the kidnapper declared, “Listen carefully, I’ll say this once and once only. I want $20,000 before 8 o’clock tonight and I’ll call later for details.”
West had a tracer put on the station’s lines by Bell Telephone company but the kidnapper never got the chance to call back. After hearing the tape recording of the kidnapper’s voice and checking various other information, Chief Joseph Wincovitch of Taylor deduced who the kidnapper was. The Chief declined to be more specific as to how he knew it was the kidnapper but stated emphatically that the kidnapper is not deranged. Pressed for information, the Chief replied, “I know the people in my town.” Driving to the kidnapper’s home chief Wincovitch knocked on the door and learned that the kidnapper’s wife had just arrived home from her shift as an LPN at Taylor hospital. It was about 7 am by then. The police heard a baby crying upstairs and after questioning the kidnapper they learned it was the missing child. They took the kidnapper into custody and returned the baby to the hospital. Following a physical checkup it was learned the child was unhurt by the experience.
A few things about this article, notice how it was written, a lot of redundant phrasing. And nowhere in the article is WARM mentioned, rather it was “a Scranton Radio station”. Until the early 1980s, the lines between print and broadcasting rarely crossed and this article and incident is a prime example.
In Sept. 1966, one of the songs Joey Shaver was most likely playing during this drama was "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb.

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