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Jimmy Hoffa - Famous and Strange Disappearance

Updated on January 27, 2019
Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa - member of the mob and Teamster Union leader. The last time he was seen alive was at a Detroit-area restaurant in 1976, then he just vanished. There were a few alleged "confessions" from mobsters, none of which enabled authorities to figure out what happened to Hoffa or where his body might be. All this probably made Hoffa more famous in death than anything he did in his life.

Four decades have past since Hoffa disappeared from outside a Detroit-area restaurant called Machus Red Fox. He vanished on July 30, 1975 and now the mystery begins. No one knows who is responsible for his disappearance or what happened to his body.

Hoffa had connections but not much power when he went to the Red Fox that fateful day. He was hoping this would change soon. He spent time in jail for racketeering. Now he wanted to retake control of the Labor Union and limit the mob's influence over the union's pension plan.

Many believed that these ideas and ambitions that Hoffa had upset members of organized crime. More so for those that were thought to be behind the embezzlement of hundreds of millions of dollars, discovered two weeks before Hoffa's disappearance. He had last been seen in the parking lot of the Red Fox restaurant.

There were two men Federal investigators keyed in on at the start of the case. The two men were Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone and Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano. These two Mafia bosses had strong connections with the Teamsters. Supposedly they had set up a meeting with Hoffa at the restaurant. Unfortunately neither man could be tied to the scene even though there seemed to be a possible motive here. This set the scene for a very exhausting probe, the biggest one in the history of the bureau.

His body has never been found. Jimmy Hoffa is the example of what happens to anyone that goes against or crosses organized crime – they pay the ultimate price – loss of life. This is at least the public's view and imagination on the subject.

The reality of this case is no one knows for sure what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. Any forensic operations performed to date have turned up nothing. No clear picture exists of how he vanished on that fateful day in July of 1976.

Although not found, his body has suffered a large amount of abuse, both in rumors and jokes. The first group to crack wise jokes about Hoffa's disappearance were the writers of Saturday Night Live. These writers reported in 1977 that he was secretly portraying R2-D2 in Star Wars.

Now, let's set all the jokes aside along with evidence – there really isn't any. The following are possible gruesome fates suffered by the missing Teamster leader.

Theories on Jimmy Hoffa's Fate

First: Section 107 of the old Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey is where Hoffa is buried. The stadium was demolished in 2010 and no search for Hoffa was ever done. The FBI was so convinced the story was bunk they never bothered to send anyone there to investigate.

Two: Hoffa was placed in a trash compactor outside the Raleigh House restaurant in the Detroit suburbs. This restaurant was five miles from where he vanished. The Mafia ran the sanitation business, making this a relatively routine hit.

Three: Joseph Franco was Hoffa's former associate as well as a self proclaimed “thief, extortionist, leg breaker, and hired killer”. Franco made the following claim: Hoffa was shoved out of an air plane, alive, over one of the Great Lakes by federal agents.

Four: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran was a Mobster and former friend of Hoffa. Before his death, Sheeran confessed to killing Hoffa. He said he was shot and then cremated in a trash incinerator in the Detroit suburbs. A movie out on Netflix has Robert De Niro portraying Sheeran. The movie is based on Sheeran's account of Hoffa's murder. Al Pacino will play Hoffa.

Five: Hoffa was shot with a stun gun, then ground up at an iron works place. What was left of his body was placed in a steel drum, shipped to the Florida Everglades, and disposed of. Some stories say he may have been, at least partially, eaten by alligators.

Six: Prior Mafia chauffeur , now stool pigeon, Marvin Elkind made this claim about Hoffa: he was kidnapped, killed, then buried in the wet concrete foundation of Detroit's Renaissance Center. In 2011, Elkind made this comment (ominously) to the New York Post - “practically every union carpenter all over the city was called to rush the construction of wooden forms needed for pouring concrete at the Renaissance project”.

Seven: Hoffa was stabbed in the head with a hunting knife, placed in a steel drum, set on fire, and then buried. The body was dug up and compacted inside a car, then shipped to Japan as recycled scrap metal for use in a new car. Investigative reporter Jerry Stanecki made this comment in the New York Times - “It was the ultimate insult – a nonunion market”.

These seven theories are the most popular ones concerning Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance. None of these stories amounted to anything and left the mystery unsolved.

Official Report on Jimmy Hoffa's Disappearance

The F.B.I. Does have an offical report on the case. They called this report “HoffexMemo” and it suggests a motive but not a method.

The following comment was found in the Chicago Tribune: “The memo says a plan was conceived in New Jersey by Teamsters with ties to the Mafia to stage a hit on Hoffa in Detroit. According to Federal authorities, the hit was set up out of fear of Hoffa's possible return to power in the Teamsters”.

This memo makes a specific comment as why Hoffa was killed. His death prevented him from gaining control of the shady Teamsters Central States Pension Fund. At the time the Fund was worth around a billion dollars, not adjusted for inflation.

In 1999, Hoffa's son – James P. Hoffa – was elected head of the Teamsters. Son James believed the Mafia was involved with his father's death. He ran his campaign on this conviction. Back in 1996, James made this statement to a crowd of truck drivers: “The mob killed my father. If you vote for me, they will never come back”.

Let's say that most people agree with the statement that the mob is responsible for Hoffa's death. Today, all these years later, people are still fascinated with the whereabouts of his body. Alan Greenblatt of NPR (National Public Radio) made a claim in 2013 that this fascination is instinctual. He feels that we all know people die but when they go missing, this taps into massive fears.

A professor from Syracuse University named Bob Thompson feels the general public may not want this case to be completely solved. Why? If the case is solved – the body is found – then the closure is here and ruins all else. As it stands, the details remain imaginary, making things enchanting because nothing is known for sure.

Amelia Earhart is probably the most famous missing person in history. Like her case, Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance is legendary. If the truth is ever found, it becomes a loss of a completely different kind.

As of today, the case still remains open.

One of Jimmy Hoffa's Many Quotes
One of Jimmy Hoffa's Many Quotes

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