In the new movie “The Irishman,” in theaters Nov. 1, Al Pacino plays the labor leader, who went missing in 1975. The film depicts Hoffa’s murder at the hands of his mob-fixer pal, Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro.
But to this day, nobody knows how — or even if — Hoffa really died. After he vanished in Detroit, his body was never found, although he was declared dead in absentia in 1982.
Wild theories and confessions abound, claiming he’s buried everywhere from Giants Stadium to a horse farm. Authorities haven’t given up on the truth.
“If we do get logical leads and enough probable cause that warrant the resources to do an investigation, then we’ll continue to do so,” Detroit FBI Chief Robert Foley said in 2013. Here are some of Hoffa’s rumored resting places:
Cement, or cemetery?
In 2012, a suburban Roseville, Mich., driveway became unexpectedly famous when Detroit police received a tip from a man who claimed to have seen a body buried on the night of Hoffa’s disappearance 35 years earlier.
“We received information from an individual who saw something,” Roseville Police Chief James Berlin told the Detroit Free Press. “The information seemed credible.”
That was good enough for TV news trucks and onlookers, who soon flocked to the innocuous-looking home, hoping to bear witness to a solved mystery. But soil samples revealed no signs of human decomposition, or Hoffa.
Still, it was a thrill for the owner of the house.
“To think that for 24 years we may have been walking or driving over a dead body,” Patricia Szpunar said at the time. “Can you even imagine?”
The horse farm
After a tipoff, the FBI led a 2006 investigation to the Hidden Dreams horse farm in Milford Township, Mich. The property was once owned by a Teamsters official and regularly played host to Mafia meetings. The tipster claimed that on the day Hoffa died, a back hoe appeared near the horse barn — possibly used to bury a body. The FBI brought cadaver dogs and went so far as to fully demolish the barn on site. But agents found zilch.
The failed search cost the FBI $265,000, including $160,000 for the owners to replace their razed building.
The old Giants Stadium
In 1989, hitman-turned-informant Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos told Playboy magazine that Hoffa was killed in Mount Clemens, Mich., by Irish mobster Jimmy Coonan.
The body, Frankos said, was then schlepped to East Rutherford, NJ, and buried beneath the end zone at Giants Stadium, which was being built at the time.
Frankos also recalled a 1981 game he and Coonan attended: “The Giants made a few touchdowns, and we sat directly up from Jimmy Hoffa’s final resting place. And we said, ‘Do you think Jimmy’s watching the game? Hey, Jimmy, this touchdown is for you.’ ”
But the FBI didn’t take the tip seriously and never searched the site. When the stadium was torn down in 2010, the field — and potentially Hoffa — was buried under 13 feet of concrete.
The swimming pool
Several theories claim Hoffa was laid to rest in a watery grave, such as the Great Lakes or a Florida swamp. In 2003, a convicted murderer named Richard Powell told cops that Hoffa was buried beneath the above-ground pool on his former property in Hampton Township, Mich. Police found the story credible, and brought not only Powell and a SWAT team to the home, but also “Dateline NBC.”
The pool was destroyed, but no remains were found. The police department had to pay for a replacement pool after the peeved new owners complained.
Here’s Hollywood’s take.
In a three-page letter written from his deathbed in 2003, Frank Sheeran confessed to disposing Hoffa’s body, which he said he retrieved from a home in suburban Detroit.
”The Irishman” dramatizes Sheeran’s version of events, which, like the others, has been disputed. The hitman claims to have flown from Florida to Pontiac, Mich., drove to this home — where Hoffa was shot inside the doorway — and brought the corpse to an incinerator some 25 miles away.
When FBI agents checked it out in 2005, they did find blood on floorboards.
But it wasn’t Hoffa’s
The corporate headquarters
Hoffa’s driver, Marvin Elkind, claimed in the book “The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob” that his boss was buried in the foundation of General Motors’ Detroit headquarters, the Renaissance Center. It was being built at the time of Hoffa’s death.
Elkind said that in 1985, he was driving with gangster Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano when they passed the building.
“When Tony Jack passed the middle point of the bridge . . . he nodded toward the huge tower’s foundation. ‘Say good morning to Jimmy Hoffa, boys,’” Elkind recalled Provenzano saying.
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