FBI investigates theft of a Kennedy letter

Note never sold, given, family says

By Associated Press  |  September 14, 2009

DALLAS – The FBI is investigating a “stolen’’ handwritten condolence note from Jacqueline Kennedy to Ethel Kennedy that was penned shortly after Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination, a newspaper reported yesterday.

The Dallas Morning News reported that investigators and Kennedy family members suspect the note was taken from Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s McLean, Va., home.

The note, which has changed hands several times and has sold for as much as $25,000, opens with “My Ethel.’’

“You must be so tired,’’ Jackie Kennedy wrote. “I stayed up till 6:30 last night just thinking and praying for you.’’

Robert Kennedy was shot and killed in Los Angeles during his presidential campaign. The undated note appears to have been written after his June 8, 1968, funeral.

The two-page note made its way in 2006 to Heritage Auction Galleries, a Dallas auction house, where it was consigned by a Massachusetts attorney.

One of Robert Kennedy’s sons told the FBI that his family neither gave nor sold the note.

“It’s a personal possession of my mother and obviously extremely personal,’’ Max Kennedy, a lawyer and author who lives in Los Angeles, said Friday. “I think most people would be heartsick if it happened to them.’’

FBI spokesman Mark White says the note is considered “a stolen good’’ and part of a criminal investigation.

Agents used a search warrant to seize it Aug. 27 from the auction house, which says it has been working with the Kennedy family to facilitate the letter’s return.

The Morning News reported that Russell Thomas Nuckols, a plumber who once worked at the Kennedy home, died Jan. 10, 1999.

Nuckols’s son, Thomas, found the letter in his father’s papers, according to an FBI affidavit.

The son contacted the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston about the letter, but apparently got little interest.

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