When I started working as a reporter at the Las Vegas Sun
in 1993, one of the first things I learned was the urban legend about where Jimmy Hoffa’s body might be.
I covered the crime beat for the Sun, so my editors thought it important for me to know the rumors about Hoffa’s body being entombed in a wall inside a hotel-casino that was built around the time of Hoffa's disappearance.
It was one of many rumors, I soon learned, as to exactly where the body of the former and powerful Teamster leader might be. But rumors aren't evidence, and therein lies the problem with narrowing down the search with facts and bonafide information.
Finding Hoffa’s body has been an exhaustive pursuit by federal agents ever since Hoffa disappeared on July 30, 1975.
Hoffa, who was 62 at the time, did not disappear without notice. He was last seen outside the Machus Red Fox, a Detroit, Michigan, restaurant.
Nearly four decades later, the case remains unsolved, although it's widely believed Hoffa was murdered by the mob. But exactly who perpetrated the crime has been the million-dollar question. Little evidence has come to light in the decades since Hoffa's disappearance.
Hoffa led the union from 1957 to 1971. In his final years as union president, he was imprisoned for fraud and jury tampering, but he was released in 1971 after President Richard Nixon commuted his sentence. In exchange, Hoffa resigned from his post as the union's top leader.
Some believe organized-crime leaders put a contract on Hoffa's head and had him killed to prevent him from regaining control of the union he once reigned over.
The last investigation was to look once again for Hoffa's remains. It happened in June 2013 in a field outside Detroit, where federal agents dug, based on a tip, using heavy equipment and shovels, for three days. The search, one of many done over the years, had the same outcome: Hoffa's remains were not located.
The hope has been that if Hoffa's body can be found, then clues as to exactly who murdered him might be discovered as well. But with the last effort, which included FBI agents, Michigan state police, Oakland County sheriff's deputies, and forensic anthropologists from Michigan State University, is it now time to put to rest the age-old question of "Where's Hoffa's body?"
As the 39th anniversary of Hoffa's disappearance approaches, I can't help but ask this question: Has the effort now turned into a wild goose chase? During the 2013 search, law enforcement combed an acre of the overgrown field not far from where Hoffa was last seen, but once again came up empty.
Time will tell if and when another tip comes in whether federal agents will embark once again on a search for the remains of the infamous Jimmy Hoffa. In the meantime, Hoffa's disappearance remains a mystery.