Anna Sheffer
January 24, 2018 1:48 pm
Bettman via Getty Images

The infamous high-security prison Alcatraz is the subject of many an urban legend. One of the greatest mysteries from Alcatraz revolves around the fates of three men who disappeared in 1962: Did they survive? Where are they? Now, a new clue has surfaced in this 55-year-old mystery — and it’s from a potential Alcatraz escapee.

CBS San Francisco released a letter today, January 24th, that claims to be from John Anglin, one of the three notorious Alcatraz escapees. And what’s more, Anglin’s alleged letter claims that all three men — he, his brother, and Frank Morris — made it out alive.

The letter states that Clarence Anglin died in 2011 and Morris in 2008. The author of the letter also promised to reveal his whereabouts to police if they announce on TV that he would go to prison for one year and receive medical treatment after turning himself in. The San Francisco Police Department received the letter in 2013, leading the FBI to reopen the long-dead mystery. But despite FBI analysis of the handwriting and fingerprints left on the letter, it’s still unknown if Anglin is the real author.

After their escape attempt in 1962, the Anglins and Morris were assumed to have drowned. The three were among the 36 inmates who tried to break out of Alcatraz during the prison’s operation — but they were the only successful escape. They managed to drill a hole in their cell wall and fashioned a raft made of rain coats to leave the island. The FBI closed the Anglin-Morris case in 1979 after bones washed up on the San Francisco shore.

But in 2015, the Anglins’ nephews claimed that their mother received Christmas cards from the former Alcatraz inmates and that they may have been alive. The date on the Christmas cards was never verified, but, like the letter, they added another layer to the Alcatraz escape drama.

Unfortunately, the letter that is allegedly from Anglin leaves us with more questions than answers. Did Anglin really write the letter? Why? And where is he now? The Alcatraz escape is no closer to being solved, but we can’t help but be fascinated by this eerie case. We’ll be keeping our eyes and ears peeled for news of the Alcatraz escapees — and other criminals who have escaped from prison, too.

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