Workers Demolish Barn at Hoffa Search Site
May. 24, 2006
MILFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) _ It took about three hours Wednesday for a 75,000-pound excavating machine to gobble up a barn as part of the FBI's search for the remains of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.
The barn's destruction was the most dramatic moment in the week since dozens of FBI agents descended on the horse farm 30 miles from Detroit.
The farm once was owned by a Hoffa associate and is located not far from where the former Teamsters chief vanished in 1975. No trace of Hoffa has ever been found, and no one has ever been charged in the case.
On Thursday, crews will begin to remove the barn's 200-square-foot concrete floor and then the FBI will dig to search for evidence.
Donald Shouse of nearby Highland Township, who has done business on the farm for three decades, said the structure was built sometime in the 1970s and was the oldest barn on the site.
Officials have said the search, which began May 17 at the Hidden Dreams Farm in Milford Township, would last a couple of weeks and involve cadaver dogs, demolition experts, archaeologists and anthropologists.
A government investigator said last week that Donovan Wells, who lived on the land at the time, was the one who gave the FBI the tip that has sparked the intense effort to solve a legendary mystery.
Wells' lawyer, Joseph J. Fabrizio, said that his client told the FBI in 1976 that he saw suspicious activity on the farm around the time of Hoffa's disappearance.
The investigator said that Wells wasn't that forthcoming 30 years ago and that he recently passed a polygraph exam. The investigator is familiar with the current dig and spoke on condition of anonymity because some of his information comes from records that have been ordered sealed by a federal judge.
Another former lawyer for Wells, James Elsman, said Wells said he actually saw a grave being dug with a backhoe. He claims that based on what Wells told him in 1976, he could pinpoint the location.
Hoffa last was seen on a night he was scheduled to have dinner at a restaurant about 20 miles from the farm. He was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain, both now dead.
Over the years, Hoffa's disappearance spawned endless theories _ that he was entombed in concrete at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands; that he was ground up and thrown to the fishes in a Florida swamp; that he was obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant that has since burned down.