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Will Hoffa Remains Ever be Found? FBI Hunt Continues Near Detroit

Image: Will Hoffa Remains Ever be Found? FBI Hunt Continues Near Detroit

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 07:12 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Jimmy Hoffa's remains have yet to be found two days into a dig led by Federal authorities at a field located in the Detroit, Mich. suburb of Oakland Township.

Acting on what officials describe as a "highly credible" tip from reputed Michigan mob boss Tony Zerilli, the dig that began Monday morning is the latest in a series of attempts by authorities to search for Hoffa's elusive body.

In an interview with CNN, FBI Special Agent Bob Foley, head of the agency's Detroit office, said that the information leading to the search "reached the threshold of probable cause, which was sufficient to allow us to obtain a search warrant."

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Acknowledging the multiple attempts over the past nearly 40 years to find Hoffa's body, Foley added, "If it didn't rise to that level then, certainly, we wouldn't be out here."

Hoffa went missing in July 1975. He was last seen outside a restaurant just 20 miles south of the field where the current dig is taking place.

According to Zerilli, who was incarcerated at the time of Hoffa's disappearance and presumed death, the Teamster's leader was lured out to meet with Detroit-based mobsters at a farm owned by a mob underboss approximately 20 miles from the restaurant where Hoffa was last seen.

Once there, Hoffa was hit on the head with a shovel and buried alive at the farm.
In a manuscript published by Zerilli, the mobster further explains the hit.

"He wasn't shot, he wasn't stabbed, nothing like that," Zerilli's manuscript says according to CNN. "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."

At the time of his disappearance, Hoffa, having been released from prison four years earlier after being convicted of jury tampering and fraud in 1967, was reportedly attempting to regain power in the labor movement where the mob retained a strong influence over the union's pension funds.

Zerilli's account, which placed the blame on Detroit mobsters for Hoffa's disappearance, contradicted the previously accepted theory that New York City's Genovese family head Anthony "Tony Pro" Provensano had been responsible for Hoffa's presumed death.

At the time Hoffa disappeared Zerilli himself was in prison, serving time for crimes in connection with organized crime in Detroit, CNN reports.

According to Zerilli, he was informed of where Hoffa was buried after his release by another mobster.

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Now 85 years old and suffering from a rapidly declining health, Zerilli denied playing any role in Hoffa's disappearance and said his reason for coming forward with the information now was to put the story to rest.

Describing Hoffa as a "good friend," Zerilli told CNN affiliate WXYZ on Tuesday, "I'd like to see him exhumed and be buried properly, like he deserves to be."

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