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The Great Escape From Alcatraz

Three men escaped from Alcatraz Prison in 1962. They've never been seen again.

By True Crime WriterPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin were inmates at the infamous Alcatraz prison in San Francisco when they escaped the facility on June 11, 1962, after spending years planning the daring getaway. Even more shocking than the escape is the fact that authorities never captured the men and their whereabouts remain unknown more than 60 years later.

Alcatraz Prison, Photo: FBI

The brothers and Morris fashioned tools out of items they obtained from the prison, using them to widen the air vent openings in their cells to a capacity the men crawl through. Once inside the openings, they crawled through the plumbing system to the roof, then shimmied down a smokestack to reach the shoreline.

Photo: FBI

A fourth inmate planned to escape with the brothers and Morris. This inmate did not make it out of his cell in time to go with the men. Held back from his chance at freedom, the inmate eventually told guards what he knew about the escape.

Photo: FBI

The men placed dummy heads underneath blankets in their beds in order to trick guards into thinking they were asleep. The ploy worked until the following morning when guards finally realized the men were gone.

At the shoreline, the inmates used a raft made from raincoats stolen or donated by fellow inmates to make it into Angel Island. It’s unknown if the men arrived on Angel Island and followed through with their plans to steal a car and then travel to the Racoon Strait and onto Marin County or if they died before reaching freedom. Many speculate the three men drowned in the swift currents of the San Francisco Bay.

Photo: FBI

Police launched a massive manhunt for the escapees but never found any of them or any signs of their whereabouts.

A Mysterious Letter

In 2013, a letter supposedly written by one of the men came into the police. The letter contained a photograph of the brothers living comfortably in Brazil. Forensic testing conducted on the letter proved inconclusive, however, and definite proof the men survived has never been found.

Experts agree that while it is possible to make it across the Pacific onto the island from Alcatraz, the strong water currents and other conditions make doing so nearly impossible. Dutch researchers say, however, the men could very well have made it across from 11 p.m. until early morning hours when the water usually remained calm.

The men did not receive any help from family members during the 17-years the FBI investigated the case. It’s reported family members unlikely had the financial resources to assist them.

The FBI officially closed the case in 1979.

Photo: FBI

Escape From Alcatraz

If the men did make it across the waters into New York, it is the first and only successful escape from Alcatraz during the prison’s 29-year history.

A total of 14 attempted escapes perpetrated by 34 inmates took place at Alcatraz. Two inmates tried to escape on two separate occasions. Of the attempted escapes, 15 gave up, seven were shot and killed, one drowned, and five are listed as “missing and presumed drowned.”

The May 1946 attempted escape touted as the “Battle at Alcatraz” is one of the most notable of the attempts. Two guards died and three people were injured during a two-day standoff after two inmates attempted to escape the facility.

Surrounded by the frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean, Alcatraz prison came to life in 1934, taunted as the world’s most secure prison. The likes of Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and James “Whitey” Burglar all served time at the federal institution. The facility closed in 1964.

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About the Creator

True Crime Writer

The best of the worst true crime, history, strange and Unusual stories. Graphic material. Intended for a mature audience ONLY.

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