Once again, FBI agents are digging for Jimmy Hoffa, this time on a tip provided by Tony Zerilli, 85, and a former underboss of the Detroit Partnership criminal organization. In a 21-page statement, Zerilli said that after Hoffa was kidnapped from a Michigan restaurant in July, 1975, he driven to 20 miles to a vacant lot in northern Oakland Township, where he was dragged from a car, bound and gagged, hit with a shovel and buried alive under a cement slab in a barn on the property.
Zerilli’s attorney, David Chasnick, said that the FBI has been talking with Zerilli over the last seven or eight months and that the agency believes Zerilli’s story is 100 percent accurate. Zerilli was in jail at the time of Hoffa’s disappearance, but claims he was privy to information about Hoffa’s death. According to the Chicago Tribune, the property was owned by a man who Zerilli said was his first cousin.
On Monday, teams of FBI agents showed up at the overgrown field with land survey equipment and a backhoe, but by the end of the day, no body had been found. They have resumed a search this morning, this time bringing in the K-9 unit. According to Freep, “The dog arrived at the dirt road just after 9:30 a.m., walking into the grassy field with a handler. More than a dozen FBI agents can be seen off in the distance, some gathered together in a group not far off the site on Buell Road, just north of the intersection of Orion and Adams roads.”
Jimmy Hoffa led the Teamsters Union from 1957 to 1971 and was imprisoned for fraud and jury tampering. Since his disappearance 38 years ago, investigators have followed up on dozens of leads. According to Gawker, “Last October, someone suggested Hoffa might be buried in a yard in a Detroit suburban community, but soil samples showed up negative. In 2010, there was some to-do after authorities stated they would not search for Hoffa before the Giants stadium was demolished. In 2004, a Detroit home was torn up as authorities searched under the floorboards looking for blood after Teamster Frank Sheeran claimed he shot Hoffa, before Sheeran died in 2003. Nothing was discovered.”
Credit: JERRY SISKIND/X01588/Reuters/Corbis