The search for Jimmy Hoffa's body: 6 rumored burial grounds
Not for the first time, investigators are digging around to find the body of Teamsters chieftain Jimmy Hoffa, who mysteriously vanished in 1975. A forensics team is following a tip that Hoffa lies buried under a concrete driveway in suburban Detroit, some 30 miles east of the Bloomfield Township restaurant where he was last seen alive. He was declared legally dead in 1982, and the hunt for his remains includes many high-profile — and expensive — searches. Here's a look at the latest quest to find Hoffa's remains, and other rumored burial grounds for one of organized labor's most powerful bosses:
1. The Roseville backyard burial
On Friday, Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality is taking a core sample from the driveway of a house in the Detroit suburb of Roseville, after a recent radar scan of the driveway found an anomaly two feet underground. If forensic anthropologists find human remains in the sample, local police will excavate to find the body, be it Hoffa's or someone else. An unidentified tipster told Roseville police that he saw the man who owned the house in 1975 — a bookie for Detroit mafia captain Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone, one of the men Hoffa was going to meet the day he vanished — stay up all night mixing concrete for his driveway on the fatal day. Retired Detroit FBI chief Andrew Arena is skeptical. "You've got to check it out, but this doesn't sound right," he tells the AP. "I just don't see [the mob] burying the body basically at the intersection of a residential neighborhood with this guy standing there."
2. The horse barn interment
In 2006, the FBI followed "a fairly credible lead" to a horse farm about 30 miles west of Bloomfield's Machus Red Fox restaurant. On the day of Hoffa's disappearance, there was a lot of activity at the farm, including reports of a backhoe appearing on the property — reputedly a mafia meeting place at the time. The feds hauled in a whole team of investigators, archeologists, and anthropologists, plus enough heavy equipment to dig around and demolish the horse barn. Two weeks and $250,000 later, the FBI left empty-handed, mystery unsolved.
3. The Beaverland betrayal
Hoffa loyalist and Pennsylvania Teamster official Frank (The Irishman) Sheeran died in 2003, but not before suggesting to his biographer that he shot Hoffa in a home in the Detroit suburb of Beaverland. The account, by former prosecutor Charles Brandt, has Sheeran betraying his friend on the orders of Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino. According to the book, Sheeran lured Hoffa into the house, shot him in the back of the head, and left, while brothers Thomas and Stephen Andretta cleaned up and disposed of Hoffa's body, burning the remains in a trash incinerator at a funeral home. In May 2004, local police pried up some of the floorboards in the Beaverland home to test blood found on the wood against a sample of Hoffa's DNA. Their conclusion: The blood wasn't Hoffa's.
4. The New Jersey stadium burial
In a 1989 Playboy interview, convicted mob enforcer Donald (Tony the Greek) Frankos made one of the most enduring, and oddly specific, claims about Hoffa's fate: After being lured to a Mt. Clemens, Mich., home by foster son Charles (Chuckie) O'Brien, Hoffa was shot dead with a silenced .22 pistol by New York Irish mobster Jimmy Coonan, dismembered with a power saw and meat cleaver by Coonan and fellow mob boss John Sullivan, bagged and frozen, then buried five months later in the concrete under Section 107 of the New York Giants' stadium in New Jersey. Before the old Giants stadium was razed in 2010, TV's Mythbusters squad looked for evidence of Hoffa's entombment under the stadium and found nothing.
5. The GM headquarters tomb
This claim comes from a 2011 book by self-described "weasel" and mob "goon" Marvin Elkind: Hoffa was buried in the foundation of Detroit's Renaissance Center, which was being built when the ex-Teamster boss disappeared. Elkind says he learned the location from Giacalone at a 1985 Teamster conference, when the mobster nodded toward the building and said, "Say good morning to Jimmy Hoffa, boys." After Hoffa's body was dumped in, "there was a mad rush to get the concrete poured," Elkind adds. "It makes some murderous logistical sense to kill him and dispose of his body" in nearby Detroit — certainly more so than hauling his remains to New Jersey, says John Pearley Huffman at Edmunds Inside Line. But if Hoffa really is buried under the Renaissance Center, now the headquarters for GM, the largely union-owned auto giant's home is "built upon a foundation that includes one of labor's most famous leaders."
6. The watery grave
In 1987, former Hoffa tough Joe Franco and ex-New York Times reporter Richard Hammer claimed in a book, Hoffa's Man, that the FBI's theory is all wrong. Hoffa wasn't whacked by mafia and Big Labor rivals, but by two federal agents who abducted the labor boss, took him up in a small airplane, and pushed him out over the Great Lakes.