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Dig Yields No Clues to 1975 Hoffa Disappearance

July 17, 2003|From Associated Press

HAMPTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Authorities dug under a backyard pool Wednesday in search of clues to the disappearance of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa but came up empty after an eight-hour search.

Nearly 28 years after Hoffa disappeared from the Detroit area, law enforcement officials combed the site where an informant said a briefcase was buried that contained a syringe and possible evidence that Hoffa had been injected with drugs or poison.

When nothing was found, the search was ended, said Jeffrey Werner, chief of the Bloomfield Township police, the lead investigative agency in the case.

"We thought this information was pretty good, and that's why we went to all this effort, and we're frankly disappointed that we didn't find something," he said.

Hoffa, 62, vanished the afternoon of July 30, 1975, from a parking lot in Oakland County, about 25 miles north of Detroit. Hampton Township is a few miles northeast of Bay City, about 100 miles away.

Authorities said the informant, an inmate named Richard Powell who is in prison for killing his landlady in 1982, led a team to the spot. He lived in the home in the 1970s.

Bay County Undersheriff Joel Luethjohann said Powell told investigators in March that he buried the body of a missing Bay City man in the crawl space beneath the same home.

Acting on that information, state police investigators found the body of Robert A. Woods, who had been missing for nearly 30 years.

Powell had long claimed a role in the Hoffa case, but authorities had not taken him seriously.

Powell earlier this year told officers that Hoffa's body was buried at his former home, where the aboveground pool now sits.

Authorities decided to follow up on the lead in part because Powell's claim about Woods' body had proved true.

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