There’s no shortage of guesses — or guessers — when it comes to the mystery of Jimmy Hoffa’s final resting place. Fabled hypotheses say the former Teamsters boss is buried underneath the end zone at the former Giants Stadium in New Jersey, or perhaps his body was even fed to alligators in the Everglades. Few tangible details have emerged in the nearly 40 years that have passed since Hoffa vanished from a restaurant parking lot in Oakland County, Michigan. But now, police are back on the hunt for his remains, acting on new information from a tipster who claims Hoffa is buried underneath the driveway of a house in the suburb of Roseville.
Last Friday, a scan of the driveway by the Department of Environmental Quality indicated an “anomaly” two feet underground. Tomorrow morning, authorities plan to return to the site and dig up a soil sample, which will be then analyzed by a forensic anthropologist at the University of Michigan. The soil sample will only be able to reveal whether there are human remains, but not whether it’s Hoffa himself. If it does comes back as human remains, authorities will have the go-ahead to excavate.
It’s a lot of work for a minor tip, but Roseville police are taking it seriously, if only to capitalize on the mystique surrounding Hoffa’s disappearance. Roseville Police Chief James Berlin didn’t reveal the identity of the tipster, but told the Detroit Free-Press that this was just one of thousands of tips that authorities have pursued since Hoffa’s disappearance. If anything, he expressed his skepticism. “We are not claiming it’s Jimmy Hoffa, the timeline doesn’t add up,” Berlin told the Associated Press. “We’re investigating a body that may be at the location.” The tipster told the Roseville police that Hoffa’s body was buried there around the same time as his disappearance in 1975, the Free-Press reports.
Hoffa was one of the most infamous union leaders in history, running the International Brotherhood of Teamsters labor union from 1958 to 1971. In 1967, he was convicted of jury tampering and fraud — consequences of the widely-presumed influence of organized crime on his union — and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He served almost five years of the sentence in prison but was pardoned by President Richard Nixon in 1971. Just a few years later, he vanished.
The FBI connected his disappearance with two Mafia bosses, Anthony (“Tony Jack”) Giacalone and Anthony (“Tony Pro”) Provenzano. Both Tonys reportedly met with Hoffa the day he was last seen. Investigators speculate that the two killed Hoffa in order to prevent him from regaining power in the union and blocking the mob’s access to the union’s pension funds.
The tipster told the Free-Press he waited three decades to come forward for fear of being killed. He revealed that the man living in the Roseville house was a bookie for Giacalone, who stayed up all night mixing and pouring concrete for a driveway the day of Hoffa’s disappearance.
It will take several days for results from the soil test to come back, and the Roseville police force has its doubts about Hoffa’s remains being buried in plain sight in the middle-class neighborhood. And even if, by some small chance, the search does yield signs of Hoffa’s body, it’s unlikely the wild speculation will be put to rest. His disappearance is one that will forever captivate rumormongers.