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On Monday, June 17, investigators, a tipster and several onlookers were all optimistic as the FBI led a search for Jimmy Hoffa’s body in a field lined with yellow caution tape and TV news vans in the rural Oakland Township, Michigan. But their enthusiasm was “tempered, given that it is the latest in a series of digs since the Teamsters boss went missing, setting off one of the 20th century’s most vexing mysteries”. Back in January, Tony Zerilli, 85, the son of reputed former Detroit mob boss Joseph Zerilli, told broadcast media that Hoffa, 62, was buried there. Zerilli also claims Hoffa was struck with a shovel and then buried alive on the property, with a slab of concrete placed over the body.
Hoffa was kidnapped on the afternoon of July 30, 1975, from the parking lot of the formerly known Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. Zerilli was in jail when Hoffa disappeared but described himself as a good friend of Hoffa’s. He said he learned about the disappearance from the “inner circle” of the Detroit mafia. Sources at the scene in question said investigators were searching a concentrated area there. They also witnessed tents were set up in the middle of the property, at least 500 feet off the dirt road.
The FBI theorized Hoffa disappeared after going to the restaurant for a reconciliation meeting with Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, a mob-connected New Jersey Teamster official, and Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone, a Detroit Mafia captain. The FBI thought Provenzano and Giacalone had Hoffa killed to prevent him from regaining the Teamsters presidency, ending the mob’s influence over the union and its easy access to Teamster pension funds.
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No human remains were found during three days of excavation on the one-acre parcel.