DETROIT (AP) – Last week, the FBI confirmed that it was searching an area at a landfill in New Jersey for the remains of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. This is the latest update in a search that started in 1975 when Hoffa disappeared.
Several theories about what happened to Hoffa have emerged since he disappeared, but many of them have been linked to book releases.
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Here are some of the theories:
Theory: Hoffa was killed on the orders of the alleged New Jersey mob figure Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano. His body was “smashed to pieces, shipped to Florida and thrown into a swamp.”
Who made it: The self-proclaimed mafia assassin Charles Allen, who was serving a prison sentence with Hoffa and participating in the federal witness protection program, told the story to a 1982 U.S. Senate committee.
Result: The FBI never found enough evidence to support the claim, and questions were raised about Allen trying to sell the story to make money.
Theory: Probably the most infamous Hoffa had buried under section 107 of the Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Who made it: The self-written hitman Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos in a 1989 interview with Playboy magazine.
Result: The FBI found nothing to support the claim and did not want to show up when the stadium was demolished in 2010.
“When that information came to our attention, we turned it around, but we were all convinced that this guy was unreliable,” said FBI agent Jim Kossler. “We were able to prove to our minds that what he told us could not have happened because he either could not have been there or he was in jail at the time.”
Theory: Hoffa was abducted by “either federal marshals or federal agents”, driven to a nearby airport and fell off a plane, possibly in one of the large lakes surrounding Michigan.
Who made it: Former Hoffa assistant and armsman Joseph Franco in the book “Hoffa’s Man.” from 1987.
Outcome: Apart from Franco’s words, there was nothing to support his claim.
A review of the book by the Chicago Tribune put it this way: “Former New York Times reporter Richard Hammer, who helped Franco with the book, writes honestly in the introduction that the stories have the ‘ring of truth’. Maybe, but they also smell of something else.”
Theory: Hoffa was killed by former ally Frank Sheeran in a house in Detroit. Key parts of the narrative became the basis for the 2019 film “The Irishman.”
Who posted it: Sheeran.
Result: Bloomfield Township police ripped floorboards into the house in 2004, but the FBI’s crime lab concluded that blood found on them was not Hoffa’s.
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Theory: New Jersey mob hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski killed Hoffa in Michigan, drove the body to a New Jersey junkyard, sealed it in a 50-gallon drum and set it on fire. Later, he dug up the body and put it in the trunk of a car that was sold as scrap metal.
Who made it: Kuklinski, who claimed in his 2006 book, “The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer,” that he received $ 40,000 for the murder.
Result: The former head of organized crime investigation for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice told The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey that he doubted the allegation.
“They took a corpse from Detroit, where they have one of the largest lakes in the world, and drove it all the way back to New Jersey? Come on,” Bob Buccino said.
Theory: Hoffa was killed and his body buried under a swimming pool in Oakland County’s Hampton Township.
Who made it: Richard C. Powell, who used to live on the property and served a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole for a 1982 murder in Saginaw County.
Result: Police used a backhoe to tear down the pool and dig under it in 2003, although no trace of Hoffa was found. At one point, police brought Powell to the scene handcuffed and handcuffed. Bay County then-prosecutor Joseph K. Sheeran told the Bay City (Michigan) Times that Powell “had no connection to Hoffa at all” and that the convict simply wanted a few moments of fame.
Theory: Hoffa’s assassins buried him under the 73-story Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
Who made it: Marvin Elkind, a self-described “driver and guf for mob bosses,” in the 2011 book “The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob.”
Result: The building, home to General Motors’ headquarters, stands, and the claim has never been taken seriously.
Theory: Hoffa was buried in a temporary grave under a concrete slab in a barn in Oakland Township about 40 miles north of Detroit.
Who made it: The esteemed mafia captain Tony Zerilli in the online “Hoffa Found”. Zerilli was in jail for organized crime when Hoffa disappeared, but he claimed he was informed of Hoffa’s whereabouts after his release.
Result: In 2013, the FBI and police spent two days digging at the site, which no longer had the barn but found nothing.
Theory: Hoffa’s body was delivered to a landfill in Jersey City in 1975, placed in a steel drum and buried about 100 meters away on state property under an elevated highway.
Who made it: Journalist Dan Moldea, who has written extensively on the Hoffa saga as a result of interviews with Frank Cappola. Cappola, who died in 2020, says his father owned the landfill and buried the body.
Result: To be determined. The FBI obtained a search warrant to conduct an on-site investigation, which it conducted last month, and analyzed the data. The agency has not said whether it has removed anything from the site.
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