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Jimmy Hoffa Search Continues In Michigan Field [VIDEO]

FBI agents returned to a field in Oakland, Michigan today and made some progress in finding the remains of former Teamsters 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
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)

A cadaver dog made a “hit” today on something in the overgrown field once owned by Detroit mob boss Jack Tocco, is where Tocco’s second-in-command,  Tony Zerelli, claims Hoffa was murdered in 1975 after he disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant where he was supposed to be meeting with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said the dog “reacted to some scent” in the ground according to WWJ TV, but it was far from conclusive. “It [the dog] is supposed to be discerning enough to tell the difference between a human or other kinds of animals, but, you know, obviously we’ve had some time lags and differentials and so … we’re not sure if the cadaver dog was in fact conclusive,” Bouchard explained.

Bouchard said the digging has moved onto a new parcel of the field and expects the search to continue through Thursday.

Meanwhile, Zerelli told WXYZ TV he is surprised nothing has been found yet. “I hope they’ll be able to find the body.  It’s as simple as that,” said the 85-year old.

Tony Zerelli
Tony Zerelli (WXYZ TV)

Zerelli says he has told the FBI his story many times. “Oh sure.  They know about it.  In great detail.  I’m tired of telling everybody about it,”

An excerpt from Zerellis book handed out to reporters by an unidentified man decribes how the murder of Hoffa went according to the Detroit Free Press.

 

 

“There was an old house with an old barn on the property. As soon as they pulled near the barn, Hoffa was dragged out of the car, and bound and gagged. A shallow hole was already dug in the barn floor. He put up a fight, but he was easily overpowered. …(One of the men) picked up a shovel and cracked Hoffa over the head with it. …They threw him into the hole, and buried him alive. He wasn’t shot, he wasn’t stabbed, nothing like that. A cement slab of some sort was placed on top of the dirt to make certain he was not going to be discovered. And that was it. End of story.”

 

 

Zerelli was in jail in Las Vegas when Hoffa went missing. He denies being involved with the planning of Hoffa’s murder.

A Small Search Area

The area being searched is about the size of a small party tent according to CNN and Detroit TV station WDIV.

The search began Monday morning when FBI agents and police arrived with shovels and began digging on the private property. A back hoe was also brought in as part of the dig.

Aerial view of area being searched for Jimmy Hoffa's remains in Oakland, Michigan
Aerial view of area being searched for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains in Oakland, Michigan (WDIV TV)

Agents would not comment on the exact reason for their search but FBI Special Agent Bob Foley, head of the agency’s Detroit office, told CNN at the scene that the information leading to the search “reached the threshold of probable cause, which was sufficient to allow us to obtain a search warrant. “If it didn’t rise to that level then, certainly, we wouldn’t be out here.”

Agents found several concrete slabs on the site of an old barn according to WJBK TV but no remains.

False Leads Over The Years

Agents have chased leads all around the country from Florida to the Meadowlands to the  area around Detroit. In September, police took soil from a suburban backyard after a tip Hoffa had been buried there. Previous tips led police to a horse farm northwest of Detroit in 2006, a Detroit home in 2004 and a backyard pool two hours north of the city in 2003.

 


The Associated Press contributed to this report

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