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July 28, 2016

Could the Alcatraz Escapees Still Be Alive? Here Are Some of Historical Photos of the Great Escape from Alcatraz in 1962

The Alcatraz escape in June 1962 may have been the only successful escape from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in that facility's history. On the night of June 11 or early morning of June 12, inmates Clarence Anglin, John Anglin and Frank Morris tucked papier-mâché heads resembling their own likenesses into their beds, broke out of the main prison building via an unused utility corridor, and departed Alcatraz Island aboard an improvised inflatable raft to an uncertain fate.

Frank Lee Morris, Clarence Anglin and John Anglin (l-r) made it out of Alcatraz, but did they survive?

Hundreds of leads have been pursued by the FBI and local law enforcement officials in the ensuing years, but no conclusive evidence has ever surfaced favoring the success or failure of the attempt. Numerous theories of widely varying plausibility have been proposed by authorities, reporters, family members, and amateur enthusiasts. In 1979 the FBI officially concluded, on the basis of circumstantial evidence and a preponderance of expert opinion, that the men drowned in the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay before reaching the mainland. The U.S. Marshals Service case file remains open and active, however, and Morris and the Anglin brothers remain on its wanted list.

Recent experimental and computer-simulated evidence has suggested that the ultimate outcome of the attempt may have depended on the exact time of the men's departure aboard the raft. A 2015 documentary presented circumstantial evidence in support of a longstanding rumor that two of the men—the Anglin brothers—had survived and fled to Brazil; but authorities warned against drawing conclusions until the evidence could be reviewed through "regular investigative channels".

John Anglin's cell and shows the entire cell with the method of concealing the escape method and the dummy head used. (Photo: Handout Photo, U. S. Penitentiary Alcatraz)

Frank Morris' cell and shows the entire back of the cell with the accordion case that was blocking the avenue of escape. The U.S. Marshals Service to this day continues to have an open case on the escape. (Photo: Handout Photo, U. S. Penitentiary Alcatraz)

Cell #138 "B" Block in Alcatraz is the cell that housed Frank Morris until his escape. The cell is closed showing position of the accordian case blocking the hole and position of the false head on the pillow. (Photo: Handout Photo, U. S. Penitentiary Alcatraz)

Correctional officer Orrin T. Maybee looking over the inside of the escape hole and the cover fashioned by the prisoners. (Photo: Handout Photo, U. S. Penitentiary Alcatraz)

Frank Morris's cell and Senior Officer Howard Waldron looking at the point of escape. (Photo: Handout Photo, U. S. Penitentiary Alcatraz)

Correctional officer Orrin T. Maybee looking over the vent, grill and cover used as an escape exit. (Photo: Handout Photo, U. S. Penitentiary Alcatraz)

The prisoners created dummy heads from soap, paper and hair.

The inmates placed the heads in their beds on the night of the escape.

A wanted poster for renowned Alcatraz escapee Clarence Anglin. Anglin, along with his brother John Anglin and Frank Morris, escaped from Alcatraz on June 11, 1962. They remain unaccounted for. (Photo: U.S. Department Of Justice)

A boat searching for an escaped prisoner from Alcatraz prison. (Photo: Nat Farbman, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image)

A coast guard helicopter flies over Alcatraz on Jun 13, 1962, after the escape of three prisoners from Alcatraz. (Photo: Joe Rosenthal)

People view Alcatraz through powerful telescopes on June 16, 1962. (Photo: Joe Rosenthal, The Chronicle)

A line of handcuffed prisoners, the last of the convicts held at Alcatraz prison, walk through the cell block as they are transferred to other prisons from Alcatraz Island on San Francisco Bay, Calif., March 21, 1963. Alcatraz, known as "The Rock," was a federal penitentiary for 29 years and a prison for more than a century. (AP Photo)

The last guard tower deactivated on Alcatraz on March 21, 1963. (Photo: Peter Breinig, The Chronicle)

A view of Alcatraz Prison pictured from San Francisco in 1962. The Alcatraz Penitentiary was officially closed on March 21, 1963. (Photo: Keystone-France, Gamma-Keystone Via Getty Images)

This image shared on the History Channel claims to shows Clarence (left) and John Anglin (right), two bank robbers who infamously escaped from Alcatraz in 1962, standing on a farm where they allegedly lived in Brazil in 1975. If alive today, John would be 85 years old and Clarence would be 84. (ANGLIN FAMILY ARCHIVES/HISTORY)


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