Mobsters buried Jimmy Hoffa alive near Detroit after kidnapping him, a reputed
crime family member said as the FBI was to resume searching for his body
Anthony Joseph "Tony" Zerilli, 85, a reputed former underboss of the Detroit Partnership criminal organization, said through his attorney and in a manuscript Hoffa was buried in a shallow grave in a field 30 miles north of Detroit underneath a concrete slab.
Hoffa, who ran the Teamsters union and was alleged to have been involved with organized crime, disappeared from a restaurant parking lot about 25 miles northwest of Detroit July 30, 1975. He was 62.
No body was found. His disappearance gave rise to many theories about what happened to him and where his body was hidden. Hoffa was declared legally dead July 30, 1982.
The FBI searched a field identified by Zerilli Monday and were to return at 8 a.m. Tuesday, an FBI spokesman said.
"Hoffa's body is in the field, no doubt about it," Zerilli attorney David Chasnick told reporters Monday across the street from the FBI dig.
"There was an old house with an old barn on the property," Zerilli wrote in the manuscript.
"As soon as they pulled near the barn, Hoffa was dragged out of the car, and bound and gagged," the manuscript says. "A shallow hole was already dug in the barn floor. He put up a fight, but he was easily overpowered. ...
"[One of the men] picked up a shovel and cracked Hoffa over the head with it. ... They threw him into the hole, and buried him alive.
"He wasn't shot, he wasn't stabbed, nothing like that. A cement slab of some sort was placed on top of the dirt to make certain he was not going to be discovered. And that was it. End of story," Zerilli wrote.
Zerilli was in jail when Hoffa disappeared, but was the son of reputed Detroit gangster Joseph Zerilli, alleged to have led the Cosa Nostra's Partnership from the 1930s through the 1970s. The older Zerilli died in 1977.
"It's my fondest hope that we can give ... closure not just to the Hoffa family, but also to the community and stop tearing that scab off with every new lead and bring some conclusion," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard was quoted by the Detroit Free Press as saying. "It's long overdue."
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