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3 Alcatraz Inmates May Have Survived 1962 Escape, Letter Suggests

In 1962, three men broke free from the most secure federal prison in the country, but they were never found.

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

In 1962, three men broke free from the most secure federal prison in the country, Alcatraz in San Francisco. As KPIX 5 reported, new information about their escape has surfaced. About 55 years later, what's believed to be a letter from an inmate named John Anglin has been discovered, which leads some to believe that the escapees may have survived.

“My name is John Anglin. I escape from Alcatraz in June 1962 with my brother Clarence and Frank Morris. I’m 83 years old and in bad shape. I have cancer. Yes we all made it that night but barely!” the letter says.

According to the FBI, this letter was sent to the San Francisco Police Department’s Richmond station in 2013.

“It’s interesting, I mean it’s obviously a very famous case here in San Francisco,” said KPIX 5's Security Analyst Jeff Harp.

On June 11, 1962, Frank Morris and brothers Clarence and John Anglin were bank robbers who broke free from the island of Alcatraz. Their daring and well-planned escape has fascinated people for decades. 

The FBI said that the trio used a homemade drill made from a broken vacuum cleaner motor to open the vents in the back of their cells. They crawled through and climbed up a network of pipes and plumbing. Eventually, they freed themselves through a ventilator that led them to the prison roof.

Using more than 50 raincoats, they created a makeshift raft along with life vests and wooden paddles. When the guards realized the men were missing, they found dummy papier-mâché bodies used as props in their cell.

Per the letter, Frank Morris died in 2008, and John's brother died three years later.

“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 writer of the letter says that he lived in Seattle for years after his escape and did stints in North Dakota and currently lives in Southern California. Members of the Anglin family believe the escapees survived, citing that they received mysterious Christmas cards and phone calls from whom they believed to be John.

The FBI investigated the letter for fingerprints and DNA as well as the handwriting, but results were inconclusive.

If the men are alive today, Frank Morris would be 90 years old. John and Clarence Anglin would be 86 and 87, respectively.

[Photo: Facebook]

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