Peoria Public Radio Staff
Tue June 18, 2013
A Field Guide To Jimmy Hoffa Searches
The mystery of Jimmy Hoffa's final resting place was opened yet again Monday, when the FBI began digging up a field near Detroit in the hopes of finding the former Teamsters president, who was last seen on July 30, 1975.
His disappearance is the stuff of urban legend and evergreen fascination. Claims of Hoffa's whereabouts have taken FBI investigators and amateur sleuths on wild goose chases for nearly 40 years.
Here are some of the places investigators have looked for Hoffa's body:
Waterford Township, Mich.: Roughly two months after he vanished, in September 1975, investigators spent three days digging in a 29-acre area on a farm in Waterford Township. State police and members of the organized crime division of the state attorney general's office broke out their spades after a Mafia informant's tip.
From a New York Times account:
"The information does not provide street names. The instructions, for example, say to proceed left from the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, where Mr. Hoffa was last seen, go nine and a quarter miles and then proceed again for another six and a half miles. ... Sources disclosed that the Mafia members were upset with the inability of the investigators to follow what they consider to be clear instructions."
Detroit area: In October 1975, FBI agents probed the trash compactor at the Raleigh House restaurant, roughly five miles from the Machus Red Fox, the restaurant where Hoffa was last seen alive. The theory was that Hoffa's body was stuffed in the compactor and hauled off by a Mafia-connected sanitation company; investigators turned up nothing in their search of the 40-cubic-yard compactor.
Jersey City, N.J.: The search for Hoffa took investigators to Jersey City, where in December 1975, FBI agents searched a 47-acre landfill with mob connections. Officially, investigators weren't searching for the rumored 55-gallon drum with Hoffa's remains, but rather the body of Armand Faugno, a missing loan shark. William Spedding, then-director of the city's sanitation department, was nonplussed by the episode.
"It's no big deal," Spedding said, according to a UPI story at the time. "We move earth around every day. Except for the intrigue of maybe finding Jimmy Hoffa out there, it would be rather boring."
Hampton Township, Mich.: An incarcerated informant, who had already led police to another body, claimed Hoffa's body could be found under an above-ground pool in the backyard of his former home in Hampton Township. The tipster, brought to the scene in handcuffs, watched as a backhoe demolished the pool in July 2003 and dug beneath it. Later, the people living in the home would get a new pool paid for by the county.
Milford, Mich.: The FBI called it quits after a 12-day search of Hidden Dreams Farm in Milford in May 2006. A 100-foot barn was demolished as part of the search by 35 agents, geologists, archaeologists and other experts. While the dig didn't yield any remains, it proved to be big business for the Milford Baking Co., which sold 3,500 "Hoffa cupcakes" featuring a green plastic hand reaching up through the icing and sprinkles.
East Rutherford, N.J.: In 1999 a convicted mobster alleged Hoffa's body was buried at Giants Stadium, though the feds never dug it up to find out. In a Playboy interview, Donald "Tony the Greek" Frankos said Hoffa's body was cut up in Michigan, then driven to New Jersey and buried in the concrete foundation of the stadium — Section 107.
ESPN recounted how Hoffa became a part of Giants lore in 2010 when the stadium was set to be demolished:
"The west end zone became the 'Jimmy Hoffa Memorial End Zone.' Teams didn't just beat the Giants or Jets, they 'Jimmy Hoffa-ed' them."
Roseville, Mich.: After a tip in the fall of 2012, authorities began sampling soil on the property of a Roseville home. Investigators had used radar and found an unusual mass, which prompted the sampling, but the results showed no sign of human decomposition in the dirt.