Tales of the Bizarre: The Kidnapping & Murder of Beer Baron Heir Adolph Coors III

(Original Caption) Adolf Coors III (above), Chairman of the Board of the one of the nation's largest independent breweries, disappeared February 9th, leaving several bloodstained clues that led authorities to believe he may have been kidnapped. The 44-year-old Coors is shown in a photo from files. Coors' carryall truck was found parked on a bridge over Turkey Creek on a road he normally used to drive to his office at Adolph Coors Co. here. There was blood on the front seat of the truck, on a bridge railing and on Coors' cap, which was found in the dry creek bed along with his eyeglasses.

We are bringing you another bizarre tale from history, one that is pretty heartbreaking. In 1960, Adolph Coors III, the heir to the Coors brewing brand, was kidnapped in the town of Denver. He was later murdered by the man who kidnapped him, Joseph Corbett, Jr. But why?

Adolph Coors III displays two of the many rador, radio and television parts manufactured at the Coors Porcelain Co. In his right hand is a radar coil, in his left, a TV tube

A book called “The Death of an Heir: Adolph Coors III and the Murder That Rocked An American Brewing Dynasty” by Philip Jett dives into the entire ordeal. The Coors family was well-known in Colorado at that time. Coors III had left his home in Denver and headed to work as the CEO of his family’s brewery. On February 9, 1960, a milkman found a car blocking a bridge and noticed some reddish-brown stains and a hat. He reported the scene to the police, who found out that the car belonged to Coors III, who was nowhere to be found. His wife, Mary received a handwritten random note and followed the instructions under the guidance of law enforcement. Strangely enough though, they didn’t hear anything back.

February 10, 1960 cover of the Rocky Mountain News


Jett explained, “[Corbett] decided that he didn’t want to work at minimum wage, he was looking for some way to get rich. He considered bank robbery, considered a lot of things. And decided he would kidnap someone.” He tried kidnapping Coors III and when things didn’t go as smoothly as he planned, he shot him twice in the back and took the body. When Coors III never showed up for work and the police realized that the car and hat belonged to Coors III, his father called J. Edgar Hoover and asked for help (Hmm… another Tale of the Bizarre that includes Hoover!).

Portrait of Joseph Corbett, Jr.

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Hoover sent even more FBI agents than had worked on the Lindbergh kidnapping and the news went viral in the media. Several months later, skeletal remains and clothing belonging to Coors III were found with trails leading to Corbett Jr. He was arrested after confessing to the police when they showed up on his doorstep and was sent to prison after a highly publicized trial. The FBI was able to prove that the ransom note was typed by Corbett Jr. based on his typewriter and paper with an unusual watermark. Eventually, he died by suicide in 2009 after being released from prison. He was reportedly dying from cancer at the time and had no family to speak of. What do you think of this crazy tale? Do you remember learning about it in the news?

Want more Tales of the Bizarre? Check out our other stories and get your fill of weird history.

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