Thirty Years Later, Search for Hoffa Resumes
Thirty Years Later, Search for Hoffa Resumes
The FBI is searching a Michigan horse farm for clues about the disappearance of labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. Since Hoffa vanished in 1975, theories about his fate have multiplied. The most famous is that he was murdered and buried in a New Jersey football stadium. Noah Adams talks to David Shepardson of The Detroit News about the renewed search for Hoffa.
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
This is DAY TO DAY, I'm Madeleine Brand.
NOAH ADAMS, host:
And I'm Noah Adams. Jimmy Hoffa, still presumably dead but the FBI has another fresh lead. The former Teamsters' President disappeared decades ago. The whereabouts of his body is often a matter of joking speculation. David Shepardson of the Detroit News joins us now, and how often have you written about, about where Jimmy Hoffa's body might be?
Mr. DAVID SHEPARDSON (Reporter, Detroit News): It's at least a once a year thing I think.
ADAMS: Things keep coming up; people keep digging up ground and not finding anything?
Mr. SHEPARDSON: More than that it's been mobsters or convicted murderers on their death beds admitting or taking credit for killing Hoffa which has sparked new rounds of searches and questions about whether they're they real, the real killers.
ADAMS: Here you have Milford Township involved, a horse farm there, a pasture. Where is Milford Township with relation to Detroit proper?
Mr. SHEPARDSON: It's about 35 miles northwest of Detroit. It's a fairly rural area that the FBI believes the property at one point had ties to organized crime. They recently got a lead, developed it enough to believe that it was credible to obtain a search warrant from a federal judge, and began a pretty intensive effort that's supposed to last several days.
ADAMS: So a federal judge said hey you've got enough here to go on.
Mr. SHEPARDSON: And that's why this lead is a bit more than these recent searches that the local police have done the last couple years.
ADAMS: Do, you know, anything about what they might be saying in this tip?
Mr. SHEPARDSON: There was some specificity to it. Now I don't-we don't know if it was information about how he was killed, who was involved, I mean the FBI's amassed millions of pages of evidence over the last thirty years.
ADAMS: Do, you know, if the FBI is indeed digging on this horse farm?
Mr. SHEPARDSON: Indeed they are. They brought in some heavy moving equipment. There are helicopters flying over head. You can see agents and other officials digging at a couple of sites on the farm. That reporters are being kept fairly far away. One of the FBI officials said yesterday, you know, we expect this to last several days.
ADAMS: And to be clear here, you're, you're in Washington D.C. for the Detroit News, but you're, you're the resident expert on the search.
Mr. SHEPARDSON: I've covered the FBI for, for a long time and we have a, we have several reporters who are out at the scene as well.
ADAMS: Well, what do you think? What's your feeling about it?
Mr. SHEPARDSON: Well, you know, I talked to Jimmy Hoffa's daughter, Barbara Crancer who's a judge out in St. Louis and she has, you know, aggressively followed the, the case, petitioned the FBI for records. I mean she's obtained hundreds of thousands of pages of files, so much that she jokes she won't be able to finish reading them till she retires and she said, you know, I've been down this road so many times before I don't know what to think. But she doesn't-she hasn't given up hope and the bureau knows the potential of embarrassment if it's another, you know, another dry hole. So, there's certainly a decent shot.
ADAMS: Well the daughter and James P. Hoffa, Jimmy Hoffa's son who's current Teamsters' President, they surely would like to see some sort of end to this mystery.
Mr. SHEPARDSON: Right. Absolutely. As Barbara said, you know, yesterday, every time, because the FBI called her to tell her about the search. You know, she said every time it brings a, you know, it brings all these painful memories back. You know, he was, he was around twenty, she was a, she was younger; you know, she was a teenager when their father disappeared. I mean unfortunately for so many people this is just a semi unserious, you know, some people make jokes about him being in Giant Stadium, but the reality is, you know, this was, this was a father to two children who were both fairly prominent and certainly if it was your father you'd want to know where the body was and have some, some closure on what's, you know, a very painful disappearance.
ADAMS: David Shepardson of the Detroit News talking with us today from Washington D.C. thank you.
Mr. SHEPARDSON: Thank you.
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