On April 25, 1934, six-year-old June Robles was snatched outside of her school by a dirty man in sunglasses. The youngster, who was the granddaughter of southern Arizona’s wealthiest man, was forced into a vehicle and disappeared into thin air.
Later that afternoon, her father received an anonymous ransom note demanding $15,000 or his daughter would be killed. Allegedly, the boy who delivered the letter was paid 25 cents to pass on the message. It was signed simply “Z.” June’s father was frantic to make contact with her abductors and request her release. Shortly after receiving the first communication from her captors, the ransom was lessened to $10,000.
But when he arranged to deliver the ransom, they were nowhere to be found.
A widespread manhunt was soon underway, which some called “the greatest manhunt ever staged in the West.” However, there still weren’t any leads.
Then on May 7, there was a break in the case. Another ransom note was pushed under the door of the County Attorney’s Office. It promised that little June would be released 48 hours after the cash was delivered, and was signed “XYZ. OBEY.”
Still, there weren’t any clues to her whereabouts.
It wasn’t until another bizarre postcard from Chicago reached Arizona Governor B.B. Moeur in Phoenix that the girl’s family was able to let out a sigh of relief. Up until this point, they had absolutely no idea if she was actually alive or dead.
The note said she could be found in the desert on the east side of Tucson.
A search team scanned the vast desert, and right before giving up, one of them stumbled upon a mound of dirt. Beneath that, they found June alive. She was chained up and buried three feet below the surface in an iron cage just nine miles outside of Tucson.
She had been buried alive for 19 days before being rescued.
The iron cage she was in was so tiny that she was unable to stand up. If it would have rained, she surely could have drowned. Thankfully, she was able to survive by means of holes punched in the top of her enclosure, receiving food through a trapdoor and drinking water from dirty cans.
Those who witnessed the cage described it as a living tomb, surprised that anyone, especially someone so young, could survive for so long inside.
Despite an investigation into her abduction, a grand jury closed the case after evidence proved insufficient “to warrant the indictment of any person.”
The $15,000 ransom was never paid, and her kidnapping remains one of Tucson’s most notorious unsolved criminal cases. It’s one that continues to mystify people just as much as it did back in 1934. There have even been rumors that her family staged the entire event to draw attention.
In the video above, you’ll see June sitting on her father’s lap and describing details of her horrific kidnapping. Astonishingly, she remains calm while she remembers being trapped in an underground cage. Following this interview, she never spoke publicly about the incident ever again.