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Man who escaped Alcatraz sends FBI letter after being free for 50 years

Gerrard Kaonga

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| Last updated 

Man who escaped Alcatraz sends FBI letter after being free for 50 years

Featured Image Credit: FBI/KPIX

One of the three men who were able to escape the infamous Alcatraz prison sent a letter to the FBI with an interesting demand.

Alcatraz prison, operated between 1934 and 1963, built quite a reputation.

The prison, located on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California, was widely considered to be escape-proof - largely due to the fact that it was surrounded by a massive body of water, the San Francisco Bay.

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The prison, located on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California, is widely considered to be escape-proof.  Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The prison, located on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California, is widely considered to be escape-proof. Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

As well as that, the prison was reserved for the worst of the worst, so conditions were pretty strict.

But if you managed to somehow break out of your cell and get to the beach, you would still have to swim or man a boat to get to the rest of civilisation.

The only successful escape was pulled off by three men - brothers John and Clarence Anglin and fellow prisoner Frank Morris, who are believed to have escaped the prison in 1962.

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Never to be seen again, the trio - who were all behind bars for robbing a bank - were put on the most wanted list and still remain there to this day.

But in 2019, it was confirmed that five years prior, the FBI received a letter from a person who claimed to be John Anglin.

Brothers John and Clarence Anglin and fellow prisoner Frank Morris managed to escape from the notorious prison in 1962. Credit: FBI
Brothers John and Clarence Anglin and fellow prisoner Frank Morris managed to escape from the notorious prison in 1962. Credit: FBI

“My name is John Anglin," reads the letter. "I escape from Alcatraz in June 1962. Yes we all made it that night, but barely!"

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The note also said that Clarence Anglin died in 2008 and that Morris died in 2005.

Anglin then had a bizarre request for the authorities.

“If you announce on TV that I will be promised to just 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,” it said.

“I am 83 years old and in bad shape. I have cancer."

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Despite the wild claims, it was not outright dismissed by the authorities who were forced to test to find out if the letter was genuine.

In 2014, the FBI received a letter from a person who claimed to be John Anglin. Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
In 2014, the FBI received a letter from a person who claimed to be John Anglin. Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The US Marshals Service, who was responsible for the case involving the trio since 1978 submitted the letter to the FBI for them to do laboratory forensic handwriting analysis.

"Handwriting samples of all three escapees, John Anglin, Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris, were compared to the anonymous letter, and the results were deemed 'inconclusive'," said a statement from the US Marshals Service.

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So, it wasn't really any clarification if it really was Anglin writing to the authorities, but it could make for an interesting film. Especially since the inmates’ escape has already been immortalized in the 1979 movie Escape from Alcatraz.

Topics: News, US News, Crime

Gerrard Kaonga
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