FBI ends Michigan search for Hoffa’s remains

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Beneath a swimming pool, under a horse farm and now a weed-grown field north of Detroit. For at least the third time in a decade, FBI agents grabbed shovels and combed through dirt and mud in the search for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains or clues to the disappearance of the former Teamsters boss.

Once again, the search was futile.

“Certainly, we’re disappointed,” Detroit FBI chief Robert Foley told reporters Wednesday as federal and local authorities wrapped up another excavation that failed to turn up anything that could be linked to Hoffa, who has been missing since 1975.

Many people interested in the mystery assume Hoffa ran afoul of the mob and was whacked.

“Right now the case remains open,” Foley said. “At this point, 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.”

The latest search for Hoffa’s remains was prompted by a tip from reputed ex-Mafia captain Tony Zerilli. About 40 FBI agents searched a small field surrounded by trees and a gravel road in Oakland Township. With the aid of a backhoe, they spent about 10 hours in the field Monday and another 10 Tuesday before calling it quits about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“We’re always hopeful that we’ll get a lead that will lead us to a position in which we can conclude this investigation,” said Foley, “both for the process of justice but also for the family.”

Hoffa was last seen on July 30, 1975, when he was to meet with reputed Detroit mob enforcer Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone and alleged New Jersey mob figure Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano at a restaurant in Bloomfield Township, north of Detroit. The 62-year-old Hoffa never was seen or heard from again.

His rise in the Teamsters, his 1964 conviction for jury tampering and his presumed murder are Detroit’s link to a time when organized crime, public corruption and mob hits held the nation’s attention.

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