Search for Hoffa under the Jersey City Bridge has grown empty, FBI says
It seemed like a promising lead in locating the remains of Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters union boss who disappeared 47 years ago: the deathbed account of a man who claimed to have buried the body in a barrel with an excavator in Jersey City, New Jersey
But on Thursday, the FBI announced that a nine-month investigation including two visits to the site found nothing.
The search had focused on an old dump where the dying Paul Cappola Sr. claimed to have buried Mr. Hoffa in 1975, shortly after the embattled Michigan labor leader disappeared. Officers visited the site in October to carry out tests, then in June to search for evidence.
“Nothing of probative value was uncovered during this search,” said Special Agent Mara R. Schneider, spokeswoman for the Detroit field office, which led the investigation into Mr. Hoffa’s disappearance. “Although we currently do not anticipate any additional activity at the site, the FBI will continue to pursue any viable leads in our efforts to locate Mr. Hoffa.”
In the summer of 1975, shortly after Mr Hoffa’s disappearance, Paul Cappola worked at the old PJP landfill under the Pulaski Skyway alongside his son, Frank Cappola, who later said he had remembered men driving up and having a heated argument with his father. out of earshot.
Years later, in 2008, the elder Cappola, in serious health, told his son what had happened that day: Visitors said that Mr. Hoffa’s remains were delivered to the dump and that he had to bury the body. They indicated exactly where it should go.
But later, when the body arrived, Paul Cappola secretly changed the burial site in the middle of the night, he told his son. He believed the dump, long associated with organized crime, was under surveillance, so he chose a location off the property but nearby.
“My father, who trusted no one, decided to dig a second hole with a company excavator and put Hoffa there,” Frank Cappola would later write in an affidavit.
In 2019, Frank Cappola shared this account for the first time, with journalist Dan Moldea, who has written extensively about Mr Hoffa since before his disappearance. Mr Moldea said the story held promise because of previous statements and advice about the discharge, and he passed the story on to authorities.
Mr Moldea said he was disappointed by the findings of the investigation on Thursday, but added a touch of intrigue to an already twisty thread. He said a recent ground-penetrating radar survey conducted by a private company revealed disturbances and apparent objects below the surface of the ground that were near where the FBI searched, but not at the same places. He said data had recently been passed to the FBI
“I am more than happy to accept this verdict,” he said Thursday, “but there is one lingering issue which I believe remains unresolved. It is a stone that has not been returned.
The Jersey City site is the latest in a series of fruitless, decades-old searches for the missing union boss. Hints and leads suggesting he was buried in various locations in Michigan or under the old Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands also ended up with officers empty-handed.