Three inmates from the notorious jail in San Francisco might have survived their escape ordeal in 1962 when they chiseled their way out of the “Rock” and were reported missing, presumed dead. Authorities always maintained that no one had successfully escaped from Alcatraz.
Brothers John and Clarence Anglin and fellow bank robber Frank Morris were assumed drowned after they climbed on to the roof of the prison in San Francisco Bay in June 1962 and crossed the dangerous stretch of water to the shore. They had breached Alcatraz’s walls using metal spoons and had left dummies in their bunk beds to fool the guards. They hid from the public and the police for decades according to reports from the family of the brothers.
Sky News reports:
The three men used spoons to dig through their cell walls and had made a raft and life vests from more than 50 cotton raincoats with rubber backing, before apparently getting into the water to make their escape.
Alcatraz officials have long believed the three, who were serving time for bank robberies, drowned in the water after they disappeared.
But the family of the brothers has begun co-operating with authorities more than 50 years after the escape attempt.
Nephews David Anglin, 48, and Ken Widner, 54, are featured in History Channel show Alcatraz: Search For The Truth, which airs on Monday night.
In it they claim the family withheld information because they were being spied on and harassed by the FBI.
Mr Anglin said: “[Alcatraz officials] were not willing to say, ‘maybe [the escapees] did make it’.
“That gave me the motive to prove them wrong.”
The family claims that Christmas cards signed by the brothers were delivered to their mother for three years after the escape without postage on them.
The nephews have also produced a photograph which they claim proves the Anglins may have been alive in the 1970s.
Art Roderick, the retired US marshal who was the lead investigator on the case for 20 years, told the New York Post: “This is absolutely the best actionable lead we’ve had.
“When you work these types of cases there’s a feeling you get when stuff starts to fall into place. I’m getting this feeling now.”
The documentary also reveals that the family allowed investigators to dig up the remains of the Anglin’s other brother Alfred, who was electrocuted during an escape attempt from an Alabama prison.
Authorities checked his DNA with a set of remains found washed ashore near San Francisco in 1963, but found they did not match. They could, however, belong to Morris as he has no surviving relatives to check them against.
Officials have always insisted that no one has successfully escaped from Alcatraz.
Last year, experts claimed it was possible they survived the journey.
If they did, the brothers would now be aged in their 80s.