Investigators are following a lead that suggests the notorious Teamsters boss, Jimmy Hoffa, could be buried in Roseville, Mich. Hoffa was last seen in Oakland County, Mich., in 1975. NBC's John Yang reports.
Police in Roseville, Mich., drilled into the ground Friday and took soil samples in the latest effort to find the remains of notorious Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.
Hank Walker/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Teamsters' boss Jimmy Hoffa in an undated image.
The decades-long investigation for Hoffa's body has had false leads before, and some experts are already knocking down the idea that Hoffa, who was last seen on July 30, 1975, outside a restaurant in Oakland County, Mich. -- 30 miles west of where police dug Friday -- could be buried in Roseville, a Detroit suburb.
The most recent investigation was launched after police in Roseville received a tip from a man in August who said he saw a body being buried underneath the driveway 35 years ago and "thinks it may have been Jimmy."
Police dug for about an hour and a half on Friday morning. They told NBC News' John Yang they were collecting soil samples around the home because ground-penetrating radar indicated the presence of something about two feet below the surface; officers came out of a shed with two cylindrical soil samples that were two inches in diameter and six feet long.
The soil samples are going to be hand-delivered by Roseville Police Chief James Berlin to a Michigan State University forensic anthropologist, who is expected to have the results of the samples as early as Monday afternoon. If human remains are found, the ground will be dug up.
The shed on the Roseville home's property is not the same one that was there when Hoffa disappeared in 1975, the police chief said.
The tipster who prompted the search spoke with police on Aug. 22 and didn't come forward sooner out of fear, reported WDIV in Detroit.
Feisty and iron-willed in contract talks, Hoffa was an acquaintance of mobsters and adversary of federal officials. He spent time in prison for jury tampering.
The day he disappeared, Hoffa was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit mafia captain. He was declared legally dead in 1982.
Previous tips led police to excavate soil in 2006 at a horse farm more than 100 miles north of Detroit, rip up floorboards at a Detroit home in 2004 and search beneath a backyard pool north of the city in 2003.
There were even rumors that Hoffa's remains were ground up and tossed into a Florida swamp, entombed beneath Giants Stadium in New Jersey or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant.
Roseville is one of several inner-ring communities that grew quickly as unionized auto factory workers left Detroit in search of nicer homes and bigger yards.
News of the latest search has brought attention to the mostly working- and middle-class suburb from the curious and naysayers. Slowly moving vehicles have clogged the residential street where the home sits as camera-wielding neighbors snapped photos for keepsakes.
Police remove two large soil samples from a Michigan home based on a tip that Jimmy Hoffa's body may have been buried there decades ago. MSNBC's John Yang reports.
"I believe it's him. My sister said it is, and she's a psychic," Mike Smith said after ambling up to the home Thursday and shying a bit from the yellow police tape stretched across the driveway.
One theory that has endured was that the body was beneath the foundation of a downtown Detroit hockey stadium, said 57-year-old Cindi Frank, who snapped photos Thursday of the Roseville driveway.
The daughter of a unionized driver and salesman for a Detroit bakery, Frank remembers conversations about Hoffa while he was alive and rumors about his fate.
"It was a family thing. Every time we'd go somewhere we'd say, 'Hey, I wonder if Jimmy Hoffa is buried there?'" Frank said. "It's just been one of those unsolved mysteries that's gone on for 30-something years. If he show up in Roseville ..."
Recently retired Detroit FBI chief Andrew Arena is among the doubters that the latest report will check out.
"You've got to check it out, but this doesn't sound right," he told the AP. "The working theories that have developed over the years, this really doesn't fit any of those. If this was the mob and they killed somebody, I just don't see them burying the body basically at the intersection of a residential neighborhood with this guy standing there."
Some think the least likely spot for him to turn up might just be the place he does.
"Maybe the most inconspicuous spot might be the place to stash a body or something," said 52-year-old Andrew Kacir, who lives across from the taped off driveway.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bill Pugliano / Getty Images
Police officials prepare to drill through a concrete driveway to obtain a soil sample that will be tested for signs of human decomposition at a site where a tipster reported that the body of former Teamster's union boss Jimmy Hoffa could be buried in Roseville, Mich.
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