On June 11, 1962, three prisoners of the reputedly ‘escape-proof’ Alcatraz prison did the impossible.
Clarence Anglin, John Anglin and Frank Morris escaped and were never seen again. Completely vanishing from the face of the earth.
The stuff of Hollywood, their escape was made possible after months of using spoons to dig an elaborate escape tunnel, before duping guards using homemade mannequins left in their beds and setting sail from the island prison on a raft made from coats.
This is absolutely the best actionable lead we’ve had.
The whole thing took place between the hours of 8pm and 2am and no trace of the trio has ever been found, leading many experts to believe that they died during the attempt, beaten by the hard cold currents of San Franscico Bay before they could reach their destination.
New evidence, however, has been brought to light after their family members claimed that not only are the men still alive today, but they’ve been in contact with them.
If true, John and Clarence Anglin would be 84 and 83 whereas Morris would be 88. It would mean that the three have managed to live life on the run and evade capture for more than fifty years.
According to the Anglins’ nephews, David and Ken Widner, the pair had been in contact with the brothers and their mother over the years with signed Christmas cards and also photographs. One of which, below, allegedly shows them alive and well on a farm in Brazil in 1975, where they continued to see out their days.
Their claims come as part of a History Channel documentary: Alcatraz: Search For The Truth.
Retired US marshall-turned-investigator Art Roderick has worked on the case for 20 years and 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 evidence follows a study from last year that tracked the water conditions the trio were likely to have faced in their makeshift raft which discovered that, whilst the odds were against a successful escape, there was indeed a brief window of opportunity when the tides changed.
The study found that if the prisoners had managed to hit the water at 23:30 they would have likely landed just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Any other time would have seen them washed out to sea where they would have likely succumbed to hyperthermia and drowned.
Perhaps most interestingly, this scenario would also tally with debris from the escape washing up at Angel Island – which is exactly where one of the paddles and prisoners' belongings did indeed end up.
"The simulations show that if the prisoners had left before 11pm, they would have had absolutely no chance of surviving.
"The strong currents would have taken them out to sea.
"However, if they left between 11pm and midnight, there is a good chance they reached Horseshoe Bay north of the Golden Gate Bridge."
“Of course, this doesn’t prove this was what really happened, but the latest and best hydraulic modelling information indicates that it was certainly possible," said Dr Baart.
We may never know for sure if the three escapees were successful in their attempt but it’s beginning to look increasingly they may have managed it.