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Jimmy Hoffa Body Hunt Called Off, No Remains Found

 

The FBI says it has found no sign of the remains of former Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa and is ending a dig in suburban Detroit.

Crime scene tape marks the area beyond which news media may not go where FBI agents search a field (background) outside Detroit for the alleged remains of former Teamsters' union president Jimmy Hoffa
Crime scene tape marks the area beyond which news media may not go where FBI agents search a field (background) outside Detroit for the alleged remains of former Teamsters’ union president Jimmy Hoffa (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The announcement was made Wednesday by Robert Foley, head of the FBI in Detroit, just a few hours after digging resumed. The dig began Monday.

Authorities have pursued multiple leads on 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.

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.

 

Tony Zerelli
Tony Zerelli (WXYZ TV)

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.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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