A Letter from an Alcatraz Inmate May Give Insight to 1962 Escape

On June 11, 1962, three prisoners at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary escaped. Using an elaborate strategy that involved squeezing through a cement wall, climbing through pipes and vents, and building a raft made from four dozen raincoats, Frank Morris, and brothers John and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz and disappeared into the San Francisco Bay. Their bodies were never found.

More than 55 years and one Clint Eastwood movie later, the escape has earned its place in history as the most infamous prison break of the 20th century.

Earlier this week, a letter purportedly written by one of the escapees, John Anglin, surfaced in San Francisco. According to CBS, the letter read:

“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 made it that night but barely!”

The letter, which was originally sent to a San Francisco police station in 2013, also explained that Frank Morris died in 2008 and Clarence Anglin died in 2011.  The US Marshals Service took jurisdiction of the case in 1978 and considers it still open.

The letter did undergo 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.

Read more from CBS.

In 2014, Dutch scientists, using computer models to reveal that it was possible the men could have survived, recreated the escape and made it to land successfully. To learn more about this research and Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, watch Secrets of the Dead: The Alcatraz Escape here: