Case File #0270
The Getty Kidnapping
The Kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III
"he will arrive in little bits"
The highly publicised kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III, grandson of the wealthy tycoon Jean Paul Getty, occurred on 10 July 1973. The 16-year-old was snatched off the streets of Rome by a group of unknown men who demanded a ransom of $17 million for his safe return. When the boys father asked his own father, the patriarch of the Getty family, for the money, the miserly Jean refused arguing his other 13 grandchildren would be targeted if he were to pay. By November 1973, the kidnappers sent an envelope containing a lock of hair and a human ear to a daily newspaper. The group threatened further mutilations to the young man if their demand of $3.2 million was not met, and when this was not forthcoming they eventually reduced the ransom further. Getty's grandfather agreed to pay no more than $2.2 million, lending his son the other $800,000 on the condition that he pay four percent interest. His grandson was later found alive in the Provence of Potenza and eventually nine people were arrested. The kidnappers were members of a notorious Mafia organised crime group from Calabria, and only two would face prison over the crime, whilst the young Getty would struggle over the trauma of his ordeal, eventually turning to drink and drugs which would forever ruin his life.
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