My Body Lies Over the Ocean: Let’s Dig Up Jimmy Hoffa (Again)

June 26, 2013

Jimmy HoffaJimmy Hoffa was a well-known union leader in the 1960s and ’70s, but he’s far more famous for being a missing person (and maybe for his ties to organized crime). On July 30, 1975, Hoffa had dinner at the Raleigh House Restaurant in suburban Detroit. Then he completely disappeared. After no trace of him showed up for seven years, he was declared legally dead in 1982. But nearly 40 years later, federal agents—and conspiracy theories—are still looking for him. Here’s a brief timeline of the very long search.

• 1975: Detectives inspected a trash compactor at the Raleigh House after theorizing that mobsters might have used it to crush Hoffa’s body before it was carted off by a Mafia-related garbage service. They found…nothing.

• 1989: In an interview with Playboy magazine, gangster Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos said he’d been part of the hit team that murdered Hoffa. Then, Frankos said, they dismembered the body and shipped it to New Jersey in an oil drum, where it was buried under one of the end zones in Giants Stadium. This story has become something of an urban legend; federal agents never even bothered to dig up Giants Stadium to investigate. When the stadium was demolished in 2010, Hoffa was nowhere to be found.

• 2004: In the 2004 book I Hear You Paint Houses, a criminal named Frank Sheeran admitted to author Charles Brandt that he’d killed Hoffa in a Detroit house in 1975. Some producers at Fox News heard about it and hired two retired Detroit police detectives to search the house in question. After they claimed to have found traces of blood on some floorboards, authorities searched the property and removed floorboards but they didn¹t find Hoffa, or any of his blood.

• 2012: On his deathbed, a Detroit man said that in 1975 he saw somebody burying a body under a driveway in Roseville, Michigan. The FBI went to the house, and, after convincing a very skeptical homeowner, they dug up the driveway. No Hoffa.

• 2013: This month the FBI received a tip from a man who reportedly had mob ties that Hoffa’s body was buried in a field outside of Detroit. Agents conducted a search, but didn’t find anything. Again.

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