Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

September 28, 2012

No sign of remains in new Mich. search for Hoffa

ROSEVILLE, Mich. — Authorities drilled through concrete and removed wet soil samples in a modest Detroit-area neighborhood Friday in the latest effort to find the remains of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975.

There was no immediate sign of human remains, but test results could be ready by Monday, Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said.

“We’re not sure if anything is down there. That’s what this is all about,” Berlin said.

They drilled the concrete floor of a shed attached to a driveway where a recent radar test revealed a shift in the soil. The latest investigation was launched after a man told police that he saw a body being buried under the driveway 35 years ago and “thinks it may have been Jimmy.”

Could this search be the one that solves the mystery? Don’t get excited: Authorities have already said they don’t think the timeline adds up and that it’s unlikely Hoffa’s body is there. He was last seen July 30, 1975, outside a restaurant in Oakland County, more than 30 miles to the west.

The homeowner, Patricia Szpunar, 72, has lived there since 1988. She said her son uses the 12-by-12 shed to store two workbenches and his motorcycle.

Police detectives appeared two weeks ago and said they may need to search her yard for a dead body.

“I laughed at them,” Szpunar said Friday as the work began. “I looked at them and said, ‘What? Do you think Jimmy Hoffa is buried in my backyard?’ ... They just looked at me, and asked why I said Jimmy Hoffa.”

Recently retired Detroit FBI chief Andrew Arena is among the doubters.

“You’ve got to check it out, but this doesn’t sound right,” he told The Associated Press. “The working theories that have developed over the years, this really doesn’t fit any of those.”

Berlin said he’s not claiming Hoffa is under the slab, but they are “investigating a body that may be at the location.” He said the home may have been owned in the 1970s by a gambler with ties to organized crime.

Feisty and iron-willed in contract talks, Hoffa was an acquaintance of mobsters and adversary to federal officials. He spent time in prison for jury tampering. The day he disappeared, Hoffa was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit mafia captain.

He was declared legally dead in 1982. Previous tips led police to excavate soil in 2006 at a horse farm more than 100 miles north of Detroit, rip up floorboards at a Detroit home in 2004 and search beneath a backyard pool north of the city in 2003.

There were even rumors that Hoffa’s remains were ground up and tossed into a Florida swamp, entombed beneath Giants Stadium in New Jersey or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant.

Roseville is one of several inner-ring communities that grew quickly as unionized auto factory workers left the city in search of nicer homes and bigger yards.

News of the latest search has brought attention to the mostly working- and middle-class suburb from the curious and naysayers. Slow-moving vehicles have clogged the residential street as camera-wielding neighbors snapped photos for keepsakes.

“I believe it’s him. My sister said it is, and she’s a psychic,” said Mike Smith after ambling up to the home Thursday and shying a bit from the yellow police tape stretched across the driveway.

One local theory that has endured is that Hoffa is beneath the foundation of a downtown Detroit hockey stadium, said 57-year-old Cindi Frank. The daughter of a unionized driver and salesman for a Detroit bakery, Frank remembers conversations about the mobster.

“It was a family thing. Every time we’d go somewhere we’d say, ‘Hey, I wonder if Jimmy Hoffa is buried there?’ “ she said.

Some think the least likely spot for him to turn up might just be the place he does.

“Maybe the most inconspicuous spot might be the place to stash a body or something,” said 52-year-old Andrew Kacir, who lives across the street.

1
Text Only
National and World
  • West Africa Ebola outbreak tops 700 deaths

    Security forces went house-to-house in Sierra Leone’s capital Thursday looking for Ebola patients and others exposed to the disease as the death toll from the worst recorded outbreak in history surpassed 700 in West Africa.
    U.S. health officials urged Americans not to travel to the three countries hit by the medical crisis:  Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 31, 2014

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Comiskey.jpg Sterling not the only bad owner

    As the Donald Sterling era in with the Los Angeles Clippers looks to be winding down, many are calling him the worst owner in sports history. From being cheap with the players to his most recent racist comments, it's hard to argue against.
    Yet, there are a few owners of athletic teams who can give Sterling a run for title of worst in history.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • US warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

    July 31, 2014

  • Israel vows to destroy Hamas tunnels

    July 31, 2014

Local News
AP Video
Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Russell Simmons, LL Cool J Visit Youth at Jail Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire Despite Moratorium, Detroit Water Worries Remain Faith Leaders Arrested at DC Deportation Protest Family Dispute Cripples Northeast Grocery Chain CDC Warns Travelers Amid Ebola Outbreak US Stocks Plunge, Wiping Out July's Gains Demoted Worker Shoots CEO, Kills Self Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Raw: 2 Hurt in NY Trench Collapse House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Suing Obama: GOP-led House Gives the Go-ahead
Sister Newspapers' News