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Informed by thousands of pages of newly released FBI files, The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash tells the gripping story of the only crime investigated by J. Edgar Hoover himself, the sensational 1938 murder of a five-year-old boy from the Florida Everglades.

In his long and storied career, J. Edgar Hoover investigated only one case personally, the 1938 kidnapping and murder of five-year-old Floridian James "Skeegie" Cash. What prompted the director himself to fly from Washington DC, to a rain-drenched hamlet on the edge of the Everglades? Congress had slashed FBI funding, forcing Hoover to lay off half his agents. The combative Hoover believed if he could bring Skeegie's killer to justice, the halo of positive publicity would revive the fortunes of the embattled FBI.

In The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash, Robert A. Waters and Zac C. Waters bring to life the drama of the abduction, the payment of a $10,000 ransom, the heartbreaking manhunt for Skeegie and his kidnapper, the arrest and confession of Franklin Pierce McCall, and the killer's trial and execution. Hordes of reporters swarmed into the little village south of Miami, and for thirteen days until McCall confessed, the case dominated natioal headlines. The authors capture the drama and the detail as well as the desperate and sometimes extralegal lengths to which Hoover went to crack the case.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, the authors obtained more than four thousand pages of FBI files and court documents to reconstruct this important but forgotten case. The tragedy that played out in the swamps of Dade County constituted the backdrop for a political struggle that would involve J. Edgar Hoover, the United States Congress, and even president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Hoover and the president prevailed and within two years the FBI grew from 680 employees to more than 14,000. No books and few articles have been published about this historic case.
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About the Author

Robert A. Waters has published four true crime books including Sun Struck: Sixteen Infamous Murders in the Sunshine State. His popular blog, Kidnapping, Murder, and Mayhem, was named the seventh best true crime blog by CriminoBlogica and has been read by hundreds of thousands of viewers.Zack C. Waters most recent book, A Small but Spartan Band: The Florida Brigade in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, won the prestigious Charlton Tebeau Award for the best book about Florida history. Zack Waters, who has a degree in law and worked for may years as a teacher, speaks regularly at Civil War symposiums and historical confereces.

Reviews

In a tale clear and gripping, Robert and Zack Waters have deftly chronicled a crime that was as significant to FBI history as all the public enemies that came before. The crisp narrative exposes J. Edgar Hoover's bold political machinations and an urgent grassroots effort to save a missing child. This is true crime at its best: unembellished, dramatic, and authoritative.--Ron Franscell, bestselling author of The Darkest Night Robert A. Waters and Zack C. Waters have crafted a masterpiece of detective work and analysis, detailing the tragedy of the kidnapping and murder of Little Skeegie Cash in Princeton, Florida. They place this tragic event in the context of the machinations of J. Edgar Hoover to claim credit for the eventual arrest of Franklin Pierce McCall in a desperate attempt to reverse severe budget cuts for the FBI by Congress. Based on newspaper research, examinations of the trial records, and 4,000 pages of FBI records, secured through the Freedom of Information Act, The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash highlights one of the most infamous criminal episodes in Florida history. It is also another in the damning indictments of Hoover and his tenure as head of the FBI. It is an excellent read.--Nick Wynne, Executive Director Emeritus of The Florida Historical Society

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