Alcatraz prison’s reputation as never having a successful escape is being questioned amid new claims from the families of two escapees that the men made it away alive.
Brothers John and Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris chiselled through the walls of the prison in 1962, climbed on to the roof, and used a makeshift raft made from raincoats to paddle away into the night.
A new film has claimed the prisoners then ‘body-surfed’ behind a ferry leaving Alcatraz and were picked up by a criminal associate and taken to freedom.
Their escape was masked by realistic dummies left in their bunks with heads made from papier mache.
What happened next has been the subject of speculation for more than 50 years.
Prison authorities maintained that the men never made it to land, drowning in San Francisco Bay.
Now, though, the Anglin family is claiming to have proof that the men made it to safety and could even still be alive today in Brazil.
Their claims are detailed in a new documentary, Alcatraz: Search for the Truth.
The Anglins’ nephews David, 48, and Ken Widner, 45, say they want the real story to be publicised while their mother, the sister of the Alzatraz escapees, is still alive.
Among the items they claim prove the men survived their escape are Christmas cards from 1962.
A handwriting expert says they are legitimate but it is not known when they were written.
The New York Post reports that a picture to be shown during the documentary proves that the brothers may have been alive in the 1970s.
Art Roderick, a retired US marshal who was the lead investigator on the escape and continues to work on the case despite being retired, told the Post the latest information was the best possible lead.
“When you work these types of cases there’s a feeling you get when stuff starts to fall into place,” he says. “I’m getting this feeling now.”
The Anglin family case was strengthened after DNA of a third brother, who died trying to escape prison in Alabama, was checked against skeletal remains found north of San Francisco in 1963 which prison authorities said may have belonged to one of the three escapes.
Checks found no DNA match to the Anglin family.
The remains found could be Frank Morris, but there is no way to check.
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