FBI hunt for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains enters third day

  • Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 9:27 a.m.
Members of the FBI evidence response team look over an area being cleared in Oakland Township, Mich., Tuesday, June 18, 2013 where officials continue the search for the remains of Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant in 1975. (AP PHOTO)
Members of the FBI evidence response team look over an area being cleared in Oakland Township, Mich., Tuesday, June 18, 2013 where officials continue the search for the remains of Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant in 1975. (AP PHOTO)

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — FBI agents in suburban Detroit began a third day of digging Wednesday in the search for the remains of former Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared 38 years ago.

Authorities have pursued multiple leads as to Hoffa’s whereabouts since his disappearance in 1975. He was last seen outside an Oakland County restaurant where he was to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.


The latest tip about Hoffa’s remains came from reputed Mafia captain Tony Zerilli, who, through his lawyer, said Hoffa was buried beneath a concrete slab in a barn in Oakland Township, north of Detroit.

The barn is gone, but FBI agents on Monday starting poring over the field where it used to stand. FBI spokesman Simon Shaykhet said work started again around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

On Tuesday, authorities used a backhoe to dig and move dirt around in the section of land. Authorities also called in forensic anthropologists from Michigan State University and cadaver dogs from the Michigan State Police.

Hoffa’s rise in the Teamsters, his 1964 conviction for jury tampering and his presumed murder are Detroit’s link to a time when organized crime, public corruption and mob hits held the nation’s attention. Over the years, authorities have received various tips, leading the FBI to possible burial sites near and far.

In 2003, a backyard swimming pool was dug up 90 miles northwest of Detroit. Seven years ago, a tip from an ailing federal inmate led to a two-week search and excavation at a horse farm in the same region. Last year, soil samples were taken from under the concrete floor of a backyard shed north of the city. And detectives even pulled up floorboards at a Detroit house in 2004.

No evidence of Hoffa was found.

Other theories have suggested he was entombed in concrete at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, ground up and thrown in a Florida swamp or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant.

Zerilli, now 85, was in prison for organized crime when Hoffa disappeared. But he told New York TV station WNBC in January that he was informed about Hoffa’s whereabouts after his release. His attorney, David Chasnick, said Zerilli is “intimately involved” with people who know where the body is buried.

Details are in a manuscript Zerilli is selling online.

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