The prison mug shots of convicts of, left to right, Frank Lee Morris, Clarence Anglin and John Anglin. Escape from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied
The prison mug shots of convicts of, left to right, Frank Lee Morris, Clarence Anglin and John Anglin. Escape from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied

New letter may show three escaped Alcatraz... and survived

THE FBI have reopened the cold case into three Alcatraz Prison escapees after receiving a letter claiming to be from one of the trio.

Brothers John and Clarence Anglin, along with fellow inmate Frank Morris, are believed to have died after tunnelling out of their cells and vanishing into the cold, rough waters surrounding the now-defunct island penitentiary in 1962.

This letter is said to be written by John Anglin who was thought to have died after escaping from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied
This letter is said to be written by John Anglin who was thought to have died after escaping from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied

But The Sun reports that the prison's iconic boast that no prisoner has ever escaped alive may now be under threat after cops were sent a mysterious letter starting: "My name is John Anglin."

Sent to a San Francisco Police Department in 2013, but made public this week, it goes on: "I escaped 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 prison mug shots of convicts of, left to right, Frank Lee Morris, Clarence Anglin and John Anglin. Escape from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied
The prison mug shots of convicts of, left to right, Frank Lee Morris, Clarence Anglin and John Anglin. Escape from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied

The phantom author claims Frank "passed away" in 2008 and his brother John died three years later.

He then aims to strike an astonishing deal with the FBI, writing: "This is no joke.

"If you announce on TV that I'll 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."

Alcatraz island from the boat. Picture: Jenny Stevens
Alcatraz island from the boat. Picture: Jenny Stevens

The FBI lab analysed the letter for DNA and fingerprints but their results were inconclusive, CBS San Francisco reported.

The fate of the escapees has been the subject of much speculation over the decades, thanks in no small part to the 1979 Clint Eastwood movie based on their getaway, Escape From Alcatraz.

 

 

Along with accomplice Morris, the bank robbing Anglin brothers crept out of their cells via holes dug for months with spoons.

It was believed they then attempted to paddle to freedom from Alcatraz Island on a raft made from 50 raincoats.

Does this 1975 photo from Brazil show that John and Clarence Anglin survived Alcatraz? Picture: YouTube
Does this 1975 photo from Brazil show that John and Clarence Anglin survived Alcatraz? Picture: YouTube

The FBI concluded the inmates most likely either drowned in the fierce, cold currents of San Francisco Bay or died of hypothermia.

But in 2016, their nephews reignited the mystery by presenting the police with a photo which they claimed was John and Clarence in Brazil in 1975.

 

 

In a documentary screened in the US, Ken and David Widner, of Georgia, claimed their uncles were picked up by a criminal associate who whisked them to freedom in South America.

They then presented a photo they claim was taken on a Brazilian farm owned by the men.

It featured two men with a striking resemblance to the Anglins standing on the roadside.

Clint Eastwood played Frank Morris in Escape from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied
Clint Eastwood played Frank Morris in Escape from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied

They recently gave it to ex-US marshal Art Roderick, who headed a 20-year probe into the escape, saying it was taken by family friend Fred Brizzi.

A forensic expert who compared the faces to their mugshots said they were "very likely" the same men.

John Anglin. Picture: Supplied
John Anglin. Picture: Supplied

The Widners also handed over Christmas cards signed with Clarence and John's names which were delivered to their mother, with no postage, for three consecutive years after the escape.

 

This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission.

Frank Lee Morris. Picture: Supplied
Frank Lee Morris. Picture: Supplied
Fred Ward played John Anglin in Escape from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied
Fred Ward played John Anglin in Escape from Alcatraz. Picture: Supplied

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