Unsolved Crimes: The Escape from Alcatraz

Jillian Falkner

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Unsolved Crimes: The Escape from Alcatraz

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The Escape from Alcatraz has been a popular topic ever since it happened fifty years ago. Alcatraz is a federal prison located on an island in San Francisco, California. Since is was off the coast of the San Francisco Bay and surrounded by water it was deemed “unescapable”. The worst of the worst criminals were sent there, some famous inmates were Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert Stroud. Prisoners had to abide by strict rules and regulations. The quote they had to live by was : “You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else that you get is a privilege”. This prison was not for the light hearted.
The prison opened in 1934, twenty eight years later three men might have successfully escaped. Their names were Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin. Over the years of being there the inmates collected different materials they would need. They got hair from the prison barbershop, took newspapers, stole raincoats, and got spoons from the kitchen as a way to get through the walls. With these items they put papier-maché dummies in their beds and floated away on a raft made from 50 raincoats. The night of June 11, 1962 the three men had escaped the prison. They now needed to take on the dangerous waters of the San Francisco Bay. It was never discovered whether they made it to land, which is where the mystery starts.
I recently went to Alcatraz last summer in June, summer in San Francisco is not exactly warm. The temperature was around 60 degrees everyday , so the water had to have been freezing cold as they crossed it in the middle of the night. The prisoners also had to face the threat of sharks. They had a small make shift raft to get across it. No one knows what ever happened to Frank, John, and Clarence. The FBI never found the three men on land or in the water. While I was visiting the prison I heard multiple opinions from people on whether or not they think the inmates made it to land. The majority thinks the water was too cold for them to get across it, but one past inmate was at Alcatraz signing the book he had written about his own experience at the prison.He said that they definitely crossed the ocean, so everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
Relatives of the Anglin brothers presented evidence in 2012 to back up the rumor that the Anglin brothers had fled to Brazil after escaping. They showed letters and Christmas cards that they apparently received from the brothers. A facial recognition analyst also concluded that a photograph of two men from 1975 had an uncanning resemblance to John and Clarence Anglin. This could possibly be a piece of evidence showing that they got out alive. Personally, I think they crossed it due to the fact the there was no evidence to support them drowning and the possible letters and cards. If they did successfully escape, this could be the most elaborate prison break ever made. Both civilians and FBI agents will never know the real answer. Due to the lack of evidence, the case of the Alcatraz escape will always remain unsolved.

Alcatraz Island

The three inmates (Frank, John, Clarence)

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