It's Been 43 Years Since He Vanished. Where Is Jimmy Hoffa?

8 theories about the union leader's fate

By Evan Bleier

 
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31 July 2018

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Since he disappeared on July 30, 1975, there’s perhaps no name that has been more synonymous with unsolved missing persons cases than Jimmy Hoffa.

Hoffa, whose career in union politics took him to the presidency of the Brotherhood of Teamsters to prison to his current location (parts unknown), had plans to meet with Mafia bosses Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone and Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano on the 30th.

Dressed in a blue shirt and dark pants, he called his wife Josephine from a Detroit-area pay phone in Bloomfield Township to say the two mobsters didn’t show for the afternoon meeting. That — as far as we know— was the last time anyone ever heard from the longtime union leader and, given that he was declared dead in 1982, the last time anyone ever will.

Since he disappeared, stories — now all 99.9 percent debunked — about where Hoffa wound up after placing that call have become as plentiful as hypotheses about what the Journey-backed final scene of The Sopranos was really all about.  

Here are eight of ’em.

No. 1:  Detroit, Michigan
In a 2011 book he co-wrote with a journalist, a self-described “chauffeur and goon for mob bosses” claimed that Hoffa was buried under the downtown Detroit headquarter of General Motors. Driver Marvin Elkind — who claimed Hoffa as a client — said he came across the info during 1985 Teamsters conference in Detroit. Elkind said he was walking near the GM headquarters with a group that included mob boss Anthony Giacalone. As they passed GM, Giacalone allegedly nodded toward the building’s foundation and said, “Say good morning to Jimmy Hoffa, boys.”

No. 2: East Rutherford, New Jersey
In a 1989 interview with Playboy, hitman-turned-state’s witness Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos suggested Hoffa had been dismembered and buried near the west end zone in Giants Stadium. Frankos went on to say he actually watched a game from the section, 107, underneath which Hoffa was supposedly buried, even joking about it with a friend. While never given much credence, the theory was officially debunked when the stadium was torn down in 2010 and Jimmy Hoffa’s bones were nowhere to be found.

No. 3: Gardena, California
Shortly after he vanished, rumors surfaced Hoffa may have had a dispute during a negotiation with a Gardena businessman at a Teamsters hangout and had been murdered. According to conspiracy theories, Hoffa was then buried in the foundation of a poker club and restaurant nearby. In 2000, Larry Flynt excavated the property and reopened it as the Hustler Casino. If anyone would’ve made news out of finding Hoffa’s remains, it was Larry Flynt. No dead Teamster there.

No. 4: Staten Island, New York
When The Sopranos was popular in the mid-2000s, a woman who claimed her family history was used as the model for the show also claimed her late husband said he murdered Hoffa and dumped him under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Lynda Milito said she and her husband Louie were arguing while driving over the bridge when he told her he’d killed Hoffa in Detroit and eventually dumped him near a stanchion supporting the bridge. Unfortunately, Louie pulled a vanishing act of his own two weeks after the conversation and couldn’t confirm the story.

No. 5: The Everglades, Florida
While testifying in 1982, Hoffa’s former bodyguard told a newspaper that his  ex-boss was shot with an electric stun gun, killed, shredded, and dumped into the Florida Everglades to become alligator food. Charlie Allen said Hoffa’s body was brought to the swamp in a steel drum after it had been ground up at an ironworks. Allen entered witness protection shortly after his testimony but continued to tell his story, leading authorities to conclude it likely wasn’t true.

No. 6: Japan
In a book he wrote after interviewing Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski, author Philip Carlo claimed the notoriously cold-blooded mob killer said he bumped off Hoffa for $40,000. After allegedly stabbing Hoffa in the head with a hunting knife, Kuklinski drove back to New Jersey junkyard with Hoffa in the trunk of his car. Once there, the car was crushed and sold overseas as scrap metal.

No. 7: Jersey City, New Jersey
According to investigative reporter Dan Moldea, the owner of a toxic waste site under the Pulaski Skyway told him Hoffa’s body had been dumped in a 55-gallon drum on the site. Before his death, Phillip “Brother” Muscato told Moldea the FBI had searched the property under the Pulaski for three months after getting a tip about the body dump. Muscato alleged Hoffa had been brought to the Garden State after being shot dead on a farm in Wixom, Michigan.

No. 8: Springfield, ?
We have the least info about this theory, but it’s a colorful one.

Photo by Frank Dandridge/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

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