Authorities Receive Letter From Alcatraz Escapee, Reopen Decades Old Cold Case

The FBI received a letter that may have been written by Alcatraz Prison escapee John Anglin. Though the letter was received in 2013, it is only being made public now. No reason was given for the letter’s release. John and Clarence Anglin, along with Frank Morris, escaped from Alcatraz in 1962.

The trio of prisoners tunnelled out of their cells and used paper mâché heads to give the appearance that they were still in their beds. They built a life raft out of raincoats in a “workshop” they had created behind the walls of their prison cells.

The official story was that the three men did not survive the journey across the bay. They were never found and their bodies were never recovered. The letter that may have been written by Alcatraz prison escapee John Anglin reads: “I’m 83 years old and in bad shape. I have cancer. Yes, we all made it that night but barely!”

It continues to say, “If you announce on TV that I will be promised to first go to jail for no more than a year and get medical attention, I will write back to let you know exactly where I am. This is no joke.” The letter also claimed that Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris both died, in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

The FBI has tested the letter for fingerprints and other forensic evidence but has stated that the results are inconclusive. For the time being, there is no way to know for sure if the letter was actually written by Alcatraz prison escapee John Anglin. However, David Widner, a nephew of the Anglin brothers, believes they are still alive.


Widner told CBS news “My grandmother received roses for several years after the escape.” He also said the flowers came with cards that had the signatures of John and Clarence Anglin. While the fate of the men remains unknown, they are still on the US Marshal Service’s Most Wanted list.

Jolene Babyak, whose father was the acting Warden during the time of the escape, lived on the island and recalled hearing the siren sounding during the escape. “I wasn’t really sure exactly what it was,” she told CBS news. She continued, “I can see why the FBI would consider it inconclusive because there are no leads here that you can go further with.”

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