This past week I had the chance to join the legendary FBI criminal profiler, and founder of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit, John Douglas to film a NOVA documentary in the Bronx, NY featuring my father’s neighbor John Knoll.
It was at Woodlawn Cemetery, where the intermediary “Jafsie” Condon first met with the kidnapper who called himself “John,” where Douglas interviewed me about my research and findings in the case. Between the takes, I was lucky enough to chat with Douglas and gain some valuable insight on his dedication to justice.
It has been an incredible opportunity to work with Douglas and his crime writing partner Mark Olshaker.
Here is a recent post Douglas put on Facebook plugging Cemetery John:
I’ve written the foreword for a terrific new book to be published on June 14 by Robert Zorn called CEMETERY JOHN: THE UNDISCOVERED MASTERMIND OF THE LINDBERGH KIDNAPPING. Robert’s late father, a nationally recognized economist named Eugene C. Zorn, Jr., was convinced that in the summer of 1931, as a fifteen-year-old boy growing up in the South Bronx, he had unwittingly witnessed two German immigrant neighbors of his, John and Walter Knoll, conspiring at a New Jersey amusement park with Bruno Richard Hauptmann to kidnap the Lindbergh baby. (Eugene heard John speak in German to a man he called “Bruno” about “Englewood,” the New Jersey town where the Lindberghs were living in 1931.) Gene realized the importance of what he had seen and heard as a boy of fifteen when he happened across a magazine article about the kidnapping decades later and learned many details about the case that were unfamiliar to him.
Since his father’s death five years ago, Robert has crisscrossed the globe in search of the truth. During my first meeting with him, which lasted for six hours, he showed me evidence to support his father’s belief that his former Bronx neighbor John Knoll was indeed Hauptmann’s accomplice. The evidence, including a photograph that showed that Knoll had the same physical features as the mysterious “Cemetery John” figure in the case right down to a lump or “fleshy mass” at the base of the left thumb, was extremely compelling. A NOVA documentary is going to feature Eugene Zorn’s story and the evidence he and Robert compiled. In fact, just yesterday we were filming the documentary at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, where the intermediary first met “Cemetery John.” The book applies modern investigative criminal analysis to this important case in the crime annals of American history. It’s written in the nonfiction novel style of Capote and is a great read. You may want to follow what Robert is doing by “Liking” the Facebook page for Cemetery John. You will probably be hearing about this in the news after June 14th.
The paperback version of the book is now available through independent stores, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.