In a newly surfaced letter obtained by CBS affiliate KPIX, a guy claiming come be one of the escapees claimed that all three prisoners survived the attempt. (KPIX 5)

The questions have actually stymied law enforcement agencies, haunted family members and intrigued the general public for more than half a century.

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Did the three men who escaped in 1962 native Alcatraz — then well-known as the world’s many impenetrable island prison, a location for just the most hardened of criminal — make it through their brazen attempt?


To this day, open minded Morris, Clarence Anglin and John Anglin continue to be the only world who have escaped Alcatraz and never been uncovered — a loss that is just one of the country’s most infamous unsolved mysteries.


The prevailing concept is that Morris and also the Anglin brother drowned after ~ leaving Alcatraz Island and also attempting to cross the frigid mountain Francisco Bay.


But in a recently surfaced letter sent out to mountain Francisco police in 2013 and obtained by CBS affiliate KPIX, a guy claiming to be among the escapees said that all 3 of the prisoners survived the effort — but that he was the only one still living.


“My surname is john Anglin,” the handwritten letter began. “I escape from Alcatraz in June 1962 through my brother Clarence and also Frank Morris. I’m 83 years old and also in bad shape. I have cancer. Yes we all made it that night yet barely!”


The keep in mind continued: “If friend announce top top TV the I will certainly be promised to first go come jail for no more than a year and get clinical attention, I will write earlier to let you know precisely where i am. This is no joke.”


A U.S. Marshals service representative said The Washington write-up that the agency believes the letter is there is no merit. Follow to the agency, the letter was submitted to an FBI lab for forensic handwriting analysis, compare it to samples native all three escapees, and the results were “inconclusive.”


“At this time, there room no leads stemming native the 2013 cotton letter,” the Marshals business said in a statement.


It’s unsure why the took virtually five years because that the letter to surface. FBI officials did not automatically respond to requests for additional details Wednesday morning.


Whatever the fate of the escapees, the bold prison break indigenous a maximum-security facility nicknamed “The Rock” has come to be the ingredient of legend, immortalized in the 1979 movie “Escape native Alcatraz,” which starred Clint Eastwood.


According come the FBI, this much is known: around six months before the escape attempt, 4 Alcatraz prisoners began plotting their jailbreak, making use of found and also stolen materials (including a damaged vacuum cleaner motor) to fashion a makeshift drill.


Slowly, every of the guys drilled small holes about the wait vents in the back of their cells, then punched out a section of the wall big enough come wiggle through.


For weeks, the FBI stated, the prisoners provided the waiting vents to access an empty corridor they supplied as a “secret workshop” to construct their escape equipment, i m sorry attested to the men’s ingenuity:


More than 50 raincoats that they stole or gathered to be turned right into makeshift life preservers and a 6×14 foot rubber raft, the seams very closely stitched together and also “vulcanized” by the hot vapor pipes in the jail (the idea come from magazines the were uncovered in the prisoners’ cells). They likewise built wooden paddles and also converted a musical instrument into a tool to inflate the raft.
At the same time, castle were looking for a way out of the building. The ceiling was a an excellent 30 feet high, but using a network that pipes they climbed up and eventually pried open the ventilator at the optimal of the shaft. They kept it in location temporarily by fashioning a fake bolt out of soap.

At last, sometime in between the night of June 11 and also the morning the June 12 in 1962, Morris and the Anglin brother made their escape, slipping out v the air vents in their cells one critical time, grabbing the equipment from their secret workshop and climbing approximately the ventilator top top the jail roof. They to be able come trick night guards right into thinking they to be still sleeping by tucking dummy heads into their beds before they left.


According come the FBI, Allen West, among the 4 men originally in ~ above the plan, wasn’t ready in time and also was left behind. West passed away in 1978.


The firm used interviews through him to glean most of the details about the plan leading as much as the to escape — however evidence after the escape continued to be scant, save for piece of homemade paddles and also a life vest that washed ashore nearby.


For decades, questions have persisted: did the men efficiently make the north toward Angel Island, one of two people in your makeshift raft or by swimming? Or to be they conquer by the bay’s turbulent waters, your bodies long lost to the Pacific Ocean?


The unsolved case has spawned every little thing from tv specials to interactive modeling of current problems the night of the escape.


Alcatraz closed as a jail in march 1963, much less than a year after ~ the notorious escape, but the island facility remains one the the mountain Francisco bay area’s best-known tourist attractions — and the starting point for the grueling “Escape from Alcatraz” triathlon.


“For the 17 years we worked on the case, no credible evidence emerged to suggest the guys were still alive, one of two people in the U.S. Or overseas,” the FBI stated.


However, the Marshals business has ongoing to investigate leads and said that will carry out so till the guys are proven deceased, or until they turn 99.


“The ongoing U.S. Marshals investigation of the 1962 escape from Alcatraz commonwealth prison serves together a warning to fugitives the regardless that time, we will continue to look because that you and bring you come justice,” Marshal Don O’Keefe of the north District of California stated in a statement in 2012, the 50th anniversary that the escape.

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Relatives the John and Clarence Anglin firmly believe they endured their escape: at least four members the the Anglin family, consisting of two nephews and also a sister, spoke to the san Francisco Chronicle in 2013, furnishing what they stated was evidence the men were lively — consisting of a Christmas map the family received in 1962 that read: “To Mother, indigenous John. Funny Christmas.”


“If they room not alive,” a nephew, Dave Widner, said the newspaper, “then why is the federal government still looking for them?”


The brand-new York jail break will certainly look really familiar if you've seen movies like "The Shawshank Redemption" or "Escape from Alcatraz." (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)
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