The dig that could solve the Jimmy Hoffa mystery: ‘Hoffa would have died in that car’

If you looked carefully at the images on this map and by the text, you’ll notice there is a landmark up in the north – what, exactly, is this? I think I see a…

The dig that could solve the Jimmy Hoffa mystery: ‘Hoffa would have died in that car’

If you looked carefully at the images on this map and by the text, you’ll notice there is a landmark up in the north – what, exactly, is this? I think I see a ferris wheel or something there?

Look closer: why is that a semi-pro baseball player in a baseball uniform? In a small picture of Hoffa, looking at his reflection I can make out that he had a cap (knee high) on his head. The image that pops up is actually the seventh of eight paychecks that went out to the former president of the New York Yankees. It’s very enticing.

F.B.I. agent Robert Consiglio studied eight of Jimmy Hoffa’s checks – all going to the former president of the New York Yankees. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/AP

We received a tip that Jimmy Hoffa’s body may have been dumped in a car that dropped him off at the Hudson River east of Jersey City. Who thought that a car would be dropped into a river and have its trunk emptied? We started to make our way through a forest of reeds – there were huge rocks, some as big as houses, with leaves and vegetation everywhere. It was covered by corn stalks, with stems sticking out and twigs everywhere. We had to climb a ladder up to the trunk of a tree, and as we did, we started to identify a lot of items: boots, ties, buckles, jackets. Now I was wondering: How did the body get into the river? If we found it in a trunk that had been emptied of blood, then we had to open the trunk and find out where the blood was removed.

Only then did we start to search the area. We found a light inside the trunk, and on the head coverings of the carpenter tools and the shovels, there were drops of hair on the handles. We began the search in the water around the car. I’m not the type of agent that likes to wear a flotation device, but I was relaxed because I didn’t think Jimmy Hoffa would still be alive at that point. As we picked up the shovels and prepared to bury the car, and saw some empty car parts down below, I started to feel anxiety.

The massive dig has taken six months – and about 70 people have been brought in to dig

The head coverings were identified as emanating from Vietnam uniforms. We picked them up and noticed the war medals that went with them. Then I decided: if the man in the Vietnam uniforms left those behind, there was a good chance Jimmy Hoffa was still in them. We wrapped the medals around the head coverings of the carpenter tools.

We finally got to dig. It took seven hours. We dug about 30ft down into the river bottom, then peeled up the boot of the car, all the seats, the fuel tanks, and little pieces of wood under them. Around the cars were the earth bags that carried the cremains of the original owner, Richard, who was still alive when the car was stripped of its contents and dumped into the river.

The massive dig has taken six months, since that very morning. About 70 people – including a physician, a forensic anthropologist, a retired homicide detective, two F.B.I. agents, a D.N.A. person and representatives from the Ancient Burial Society – have been brought in to dig. Every day we come back to view the results of the forensic analysis and analysis. There is still some questioning of what we found, but we are convinced that this is where Jimmy Hoffa’s body was dumped.

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