Cold Case

Jimmy Hoffa: The Years-Long Search for the Teamsters Boss (PHOTOS)

As police take one more crack at one of America’s most famous cold cases, see some of the rumors, theories, and dead ends in the 37-year saga. By Nina Strochlic.


Tony Spina / Detroit Free Press-MCT-Landov

This photo, taken on July 24, 1975, was one of the last pictures of Jimmy Hoffa—the legendary union boss whose disappearance has baffled the FBI for 37 years. On the last day he was seen, Hoffa was set to meet with New Jersey Teamsters boss and Mafia member Anthony Provenzano and Detroit Mafia captain Anthony Giacalone at the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield, Michigan, but only he showed up. After that, he was never heard from again. This cold case has inspired endless speculation about what really happened to Hoffa on July 30. And the mystery has endured over the decades: investigators are currently looking into a "credible" tip that Hoffa's body lies under a home in Roseville, Michigan. Here's a look back at the places searched high and low for the long-missing Teamsters honcho.


Last Place Seen

Normally in an investigation, the last place a victim was seen alive provides the police with valuable clues. Not so in Hoffa's case: the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfied, Michigan, where Hoffa was spotted for the last time, revealed no hints to his whereabouts.

Ira Rosenberg / Detroit Free Press-MCT-Landov

The Abandoned Car

Bloomfield police sweep Hoffa's abandoned car for clues to his disappearance.

Detroit Free Press-MCT-Landov

Scouring the Fields

A line of police prepare to search a field in Waterfront, Michigan, with the hope of finding Jimmy Hoffa's remains.


Fruitless Dig

Michigan state police and local authorities enlist the help of a heavy equipment operator who digs in search of the former Teamster president's body.


No Bang in the Drum

Rumor had it that Hoffa's body was taken to New Jersey in a 55-gallon drum like this one. The FBI searched a 47-acre landfill in Jersey City after being tipped off by an informant, but didn't turn up any remains.


Body Disposal?

Three years after Hoffa's disappearance, the FBI was still getting new leads. In 1978, they began working on a theory that the Teamster leader's body had been shredded or buried at a suburban disposal company. Here, two neighbors search through remains of a company that was destroyed by a fire.

AP (left)

False Claim

Infamous mob killer Donald "Tony the Greek" Frankos told a Playboy writer he was part of the team that offed Jimmy Hoffa and offered clues to his wearabouts, insisting the body was dismembered, put in a barrel that was transported from Detroit to New Jersey, and buried under Section 107 of the Giants Stadium construction site. The feds didn't put much faith in Frankos' claim, but the rumor persists as one of the most famous theories.

David Pickoff / AP

'Chuckie' O'Brien

More than 25 years after Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, news came that the day after his disappearance the FBI announced they had matched DNA from a hair found in Charles "Chuckie" O'Brien's car to Hoffa. The two had considered each other father and son, and O'Brien insisted his car had been borrowed that day by a friend to deliver frozen salmon to the local Teamsters president, Robert Holmes.

Carlos Osorio / AP

Swimming Pool Search

In 2003, new theories led law enforcement agents to a private swimming pool in Hampton, Michigan. After six hours of excavation and searching, nothing was found.

Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

The Teamsters House

Could this innocuous-looking house be where Jimmy Hoffa breathed his last breath? A book released in 2004 claims to have solved the mystery at last. Criminal investigator Charles Brandt talked to legendary hitman Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran in prison, and Sheeran told the author he had killed Hoffa in the foyer of his house, belonging to a local Teamsters president from Delaware. Before his death, Sheeran said, "I stand by what's written in the book." Investigators hired by Fox News found evidence of blood in the area Hoffa was said to have been shot, giving credibility to the theory, but the blood was later found not to be Hoffa's.

Rebecca Cook / Reuters-Landov

Hidden Dreams Barn

In 2006, 75-year-old imprisoned drug smuggler Donovan Wells told FBI agents that Hoffa could have been buried under a barn on Hidden Dreams horse farm, 20 miles from where he was last seen. The agency tore down the barn, but, despite a lie-detector test done on Wells, found nothing and paid to rebuild the barn.

Carlos Osorio / AP

Renaissance Center Tip

"No year would be complete without a Jimmy Hoffa burial rumor," one Michigan journalist joked in 2011, when Jimmy Hoffa's former chauffeur said the local mobster leader revealed Hoffa was buried under Detroit's Renaissance Center during a meeting in the 1980s. "Say good morning to Jimmy Hoffa, boys," he reportedly said.

Carlos Osorio / AP

Under the House?

Roseville Police Chief James Berlin says a man claims to have seen a body buried under this house 35 years ago and thinks it could be Hoffa. Radar scans have revealed something abnormal underground, but police say it could be anything. In the never-ending Hoffa investigation, it's best not to get hopes raised.