85-year-old mob boss says he knows for certain where Jimmy Hoffa’s body is
Tony Zerilli, an ex-Detroit mafia boss, has stated that he knows where the missing body of Teamsters Union leader, Jimmy Hoffa is buried. Anthony ‘Tony’ Joseph Zerilli (October 24, 1927 – March 31, 2015) was an Italian-American mobster from Sterling Heights, Michigan. From 1949 he was one of the majority owners of the highly profitable Hazel Park Raceway. In 1970 he succeeded his father Joseph Zerilli as head of the Detroit Partnership (“The Partnership”) criminal organization.
After Zerilli was convicted and imprisoned in 1974, his father came out of retirement to lead the organization until his death in 1977, when Jack Tocco became head of the Partnership. Anthony Zerilli was later his deputy. The Detroit Partnership is believed to be part of the American Cosa Nostra.
According to the 85-year-old Zerilli shortly before his death, Hoffa was buried in a field outside Detroit, about 20 miles from the restaurant where he was last seen in July 1975. Zerilli explained that the mafia’s original intent was to move the body and not leave it in the shallow grave it was temporarily placed in.
“The master plan was, that I understood, was that they were going to put him in a shallow grave here. Then, they were going to take him from here to Rogers City upstate. There was a hunting lodge, and they were going to bury him in a shallow grave then take him up there for final burial. Then, I understand, that it just fell through.”
Local mob boss and expert Scott Burnstein, author of “Detroit Mob Confidential” and “Motor City Mafia” believes Zerilli may be telling the truth.
“I think this is the most credible person to ever come forward to talk about this story. If there is a body to be found, he’s the guy to lead you to it. This is someone who definitely could have intimate knowledge of what happened.”
Teamsters union boss Hoffa was last seen on July 30, 1975 outside a restaurant in Oakland County, Michigan.
Jimmy Hoffa disappearance timeline
- July 30, 1975 1:00 PM: Hoffa leaves his Lake Orion home about 1 p.m. and makes a stop to visit a friend in Pontiac.
- July 30, 1975 2:00 PM: He arrives around 2 p.m. at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Oakland County’s Bloomfield Township to meet reputed Detroit mob enforcer Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone and alleged New Jersey mob figure Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano.
- July 30, 1975 2:15 PM: Hoffa calls his wife, Josephine, about 2:15 p.m. from a pay phone and tells her no one showed up for his meeting. The 62-year-old Hoffa is never seen or heard from again.
- July 31, 1975: Hoffa’s green Pontiac Grand Ville is found, unlocked, in the restaurant parking lot. The Hoffa family files a missing person report with the Bloomfield Township police.
- Aug. 2, 1975: The FBI takes over the investigation.
- Aug. 8, 1975: The FBI gets a search warrant for the car. They find fingerprints of family friend Charles “Chuckie” O’Brien on a 7-Up bottle under the right front seat and a piece of paper in the glove compartment.
- Aug. 21, 1975: Police dogs sniff the shorts Hoffa wore the day before his disappearance and indicate Hoffa’s scent was in the rear of a car O’Brien borrowed from his friend Joe Giacalone, son of Anthony Giacalone.
- Sept. 2, 1975: A grand jury convenes in Detroit to investigate the Hoffa disappearance.
- 1975-85: More than 200 FBI agents are assigned to the case in New Jersey, Detroit and at least four other cities. During the period, more than 70 volumes of files are compiled, containing more than 16,000 pages. Six suspects in the disappearance, including Provenzano and Anthony Giacalone, are convicted on unrelated charges.
- 1982: Self-described mafia murderer Charles Allen, who served prison time with Hoffa and participated in the federal witness-protection program, tells a U.S. Senate committee that Hoffa was killed at Provenzano’s orders. Hoffa’s body was “ground up in little pieces, shipped to Florida and thrown into a swamp,” Allen said.
- 1982: Hoffa is declared legally dead.
- March 2001: A meeting is held in March after DNA tests find a match between a hair found in the back of the car driven by O’Brien and a hair in Hoffa’s hairbrush.