Alcatraz officials have always claimed that no prisoner ever successfully escaped during its 29 years of operation. However, a recent letter has forced the FBI to reopen a case from 1962.
The mighty Alcatraz prison had 14 prison attempts during its history. Of the 36 inmates that tried to escape, 23 were caught, six were shot dead, two drowned and five were listed as “missing and presumed drowned.”
Three such inmates were Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin. Working together in secret, the trio executed a highly ingenious prison break, which involved tunneling through the air vents and swimming to shore using makeshift life rafts. Although they managed to exit the premises, it’s believed they ultimately drowned in the cold waters of San Francisco Bay.
Their story would later become the inspiration for the film Escape from Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood.
Now, it looks there’s enough material for a sequel. The San Francisco Police Department made public recently a letter received back in 2013, which begins with an incredibly enticing sentence: “My name is John Anglin.”
CBS San Francisco reported the FBI analysed the letter for DNA and fingerprints but their results were not conclusive.
The letter goes on, “I escaped from Alcatraz in June 1962 with my brother Clarence and Frank Morris. I’m 83 years old and in bad shape. I have cancer … Yes we all made it that night but barely.”
The unidentified author claims Frank Morris passed away in 2008 and Clarence in 2011.
“If you announce on TV that I’ll be promised to first go to jail for no more than a year and get medical attention,” he also said, “I will write back to let you know exactly where I am.”
To add an extra layer to the mystery, the nephews of John and Clarence Anglin claim in a 2016 documentary that their famous escapee uncles were whisked to South America by a criminal associate in the ’70s.
They recently presented a photo of the Anglin brothers taken in a Brazilian farm in 1975 to ex-US marshal Art Roderick, who lead a 20-year probe into the infamous escape. A forensic expert compared the faces to their mugshots, and stated that they were “very likely” the same men.
While the FBI officially closed its case on the Alcatraz escapees in 1979, after 17 years of working on it. The Marshals Service, however, continues to investigate leads and will do so until the men are proven dead, or until they turn 99.
So, how would you title the Escape from Alcatraz sequel? Who would you cast?