What Happened to Jimmy Hoffa?

It was 34 years ago tomorrow that Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. Ever since then, the rumors have been flying about where he might be - he's almost certainly dead, but who did it and what they did with the body is the mystery at hand. Here are a few of the theories.

His body is under Giants Stadium

A 1993 book written with the cooperation of former mobster "Tony the Greek" alleged that Hoffa was killed by Tony the Greek, Irish mobster John Sullivan and the leader of an Irish American organized crime association, James Coonan. Tony the Greek claimed that the three of them shot and killed Hoffa at a house in Detroit. They then dismembered him and left the pieces in a meat locker in the basement until they could all agree how to best dispose of the body. Apparently after much deliberation, the best they could come up with was to bury the pieces of Hoffa in an oil drum under Giants Stadium. Tony the Greek told Playboy the same story. The FBI doesn't buy it, though. As you probably know, Giants Stadium is headed the way of Hoffa - it's scheduled to be destroyed next year when Meadowlands Stadium opens. When asked if they intended to search the grounds, the FBI said they would if they had a credible tip, but they don't. Maybe they just don't care because Mythbusters has already answered the question for them: in 2003, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman searched some of the most popular spots using radar - each end zone, the 50-yard line, the 10-yard line, and seating section 107. They found no conclusive evidence that anything unusual was buried at Giants Stadium. And the vice president of public affairs for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority agrees, saying, "He ain't here." Photo from NFLteamhistory.com.

He was buried under a horse farm in Michigan

A 2006 tip led officials to dig up parts of a Michigan horse farm just a few years ago. FBI agents, archaeologists, cadaver dogs and anthropologists were all called in to assess the situation, which turned out to be... nothing. But the circumstantial evidence was pretty decent - at the time of Hoffa's disappearance, it was owned by a Teamsters official by the name of Rolland McMaster. A barn on the property was often used for Teamsters meetings, and the day Hoffa disappeared, there was a lot of unusual activity on the farm - including the use of a backhoe near the barn. However, after spending $250,000 and digging a 50 by 40-foot hole on the property, not a thing was found (aside from some pipes and beer cans). Photo by Paul Sancya/Associated Press, via CBC News.

He was cremated in a trash incinerator

A deathbed confession by a former Teamster and Hoffa cohort Frank Sheeran caused quite the stir in 2004. Francis Sheeran supposedly wrote a letter saying that he shot Hoffa, then drove his body to a trash incinerator and had it cremated. But Sheeran's daughter said no way - the letter is definitely a fake. "It's not his signature," she told the Detroit Free Press. She thinks the letter and signature was forged by the man who was writing Sheeran's biography - a similar book was scheduled to be published and he thought it would drum up better publicity for his own book. The biographer said it was a genuine confession from Sheeran and sent the letter to Hoffa's daughter, who in turn notified the FBI. Sheeran's backyard had been searched previously after it was alleged that a briefcase containing a syringe used to knock Hoffa out was buried there. Again, no evidence was found.

He's in Brazil, South America

I had to specify because Hoffa was born in Brazil, Indiana. Although that could probably be a theory too - he returned to his hometown in disguise and resides there today. Should we start that rumor? Anyway, when Hoffa first disappeared, one union official said that Hoffa wasn't dead at all; he had simply skipped down with a go-go dancer. Another Teamster said he saw Hoffa check into a hotel on August 2, three days after his "disappearance," wearing glasses and going by the last name of "Jewell."

He's somewhere in Detroit

Another year, another "credible" tip. In 2003, authorities received a tip from an informant who had given them accurate information before: Hoffa was supposedly underneath an above-ground pool near Bay City, Michigan. They dug under the pool, but found nothing. The same year, they dug up the yard of a home in Munger Township and also came up empty-handed. Apparently 2003 was a hot year for Hoffa tips, because in July of the same year, Fox News conducted an investigation based on Frank Sheeran's confession. They took tile up that had covered the hardwood floors that were present at the time of Hoffa's death, then sprayed a chemical to detect any traces of blood. And they did find blood, a fair amount of it, in exactly the place where Sheeran said he shot Hoffa. The problem? It wasn't Hoffa's blood. By the way, if Sheeran's stories sound conflicting, that's because they are - he told various stories to officials over the years and sometimes pled the Fifth. But right before he died in 2004, he said he stood by what he said in his book - he shot Hoffa twice behind the ear in this house and was told the body was later cremated.

He was fed to alligators in the Florida swamp

In 1982, a U.S. Senate hearing turned up a federal witness who testified that Hoffa had been ground up (perhaps his killers were Pink Floyd fans?), shipped off to Florida and dumped into a swamp to become alligator food. Photo from National Geographic.

He's between a couple of dams in Michigan

When convicted murderer Ricky Powell claimed that he knew where Hoffa was, he seemed pretty credible and his story was not any crazier than any of the others floating around. He said that he was the one who dumped the body in 1975, and if anyone was to search the Au Sable River about 175 miles from Detroit, they would find Hoffa's remains under 30 feet of water. Boating magazine immediately picked up on the story and offered $10,000 to anyone who could find the body in the river and produce evidence. So far, no one has collected the prize. A few other theories that have so far turned up nothing:

  • He's under the New Jersey Turnpike.

  • He's in the foundation of a public garage in Cadillac, Michigan.

  • He was sent to a fat-rendering plant, where his body was dissolved.

  • His body was crushed with a bunch of cars at Central Sanitation Services in Hamtrack, Michigan.

  • He's buried under the Sheraton Savannah Resort Hotel helipad.

  • He's alive and in the Witness Protection Program.
  • What do you think is the most likely theory?

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    hi, well i think he went to marine land with children (cause he likes children) then he felt like swimming with the whales so he jumped in.. and oh yea.. you know that movie free willy?
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