Coors Brewery Loses its CEO


Adolph Coors Kidnapped

Adolph Coors III was the 45-year-old heir to the Coors Brewery Corporation.  On January 9, 1960, he left for work, but never made it in.  Coors had been kidnapped.

His car was found later that day on the Turkey Creek Bridge near Morrison, Colorado.  Police started an immediate search.  Coors’ hat, glasses, and some blood was found nearby, certainly an ominous sign.  

The FBI was called in to begin what became the biggest kidnapping case since the Lindbergh baby.  A ransom note was received the next day, demanding $500,000 for Coors’ safe release.  The FBI processed the note and noted the unusual typeface and a watermark on the paper. 

The instructions on the note were followed at the direction of the FBI, but no further communication was made with the perps.

Through interviews and good investigative work, the investigation soon focused on a man named Joseph Corbett.  Corbett was an escaped convict who had committed a homicide in 1951. 

The FBI found that Corbitt had been living in the area under the assumed name of Walter Osborne.  He hadn’t been seen since the kidnapping.  Additional canvassing discovered that he had purchased a pistol, handcuffs, and a typewriter in the days before the crime.  (that’s called a clue)  The typewriter matched the unusual typeface on the note.  Corbitt’s car was later found torched in an empty lot near Atlantic City, NJ.  The FBI knew they had their man, but needed to find their victim and prove their case. 

Unfortunately, this kidnapping did not have a storybook ending.  In September of 1960, hikers found the remains of Adolph Coors in the Colorado mountains.  It is believed that Coors resisted the kidnapping attempt and was shot and killed by Corbitt right there on the Turkey Creek Bridge.  

The FBI got a tip that Corbitt was staying under a new assumed name and driving a red Pontiac from one hotel to another.  On October 29th 1960, an observant cop in Vancouver Canada saw the car at a motel.  The diligent patrolman investigated further was was able to apprehend Corbitt without incident outside of the motel. 

Corbitt proclaimed his innocence but was found guilty at trial.  Although there were no witnesses and little forensic evidence, the FBI and federal prosecutors were able to secure a life sentence based on the wide array of circumstantial evidence. 

A nice job by law enforcement bring closure for Coors’ wife and four children.  


Christopher Flanagan
photo By Thistle33 – Own work, Public Domain,


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