About a month after the escape, a body was spotted about 17 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge by a Norwegian cargo ship. According to them, the body was in clothes similar to the Alcatraz prison uniforms. However, it took a while for the report to be filed, and the body was never recovered.
In 2014, a group of researchers used a computer model to calculate the currents flowing on the night of the escape. According to their findings, if the gang headed out around midnight, the water currents would actually assist them on their way to shore, and they had a good chance of survival.
The Bay Search
The bay was searched intensively but no bodies were ever recovered, although some personal items were discovered floating in the water the following day. The water the night of the escape was quite cold, ranging from a temperature of 50 to 54 degrees. The San Francisco Bay is characterized by frigid water all year long.
According to the experts, an adult male would be able to survive roughly 20 minutes in the cool water before it caused a breakdown in bodily functions. Also, the escapees would not have been able to prepare for the frigid water temperatures while at Alcatraz because the officials kept the water warm in part to deter from escape.
On December 31, 1997, 17 years after the escape, the FBI investigation was finally dropped. They concluded that the prisoners probably drowned in the San Francisco Bay as the bodies never being found. The US Marshals, however, have kept their investigation ongoing.
The Deputy US Marshal said to NPR in an interview in 2009: “There’s an active warrant, and the Marshals Service doesn’t give up looking for people.” In fact, that was not the last that was heard about the three people who allegedly escaped from Alcatraz. This story has no ending as it seems, and the mystery will forever live.
Signs of Life
A History Channel documentary aired in 2015 brought to light new evidence that seemed to support the Angling brothers having survived the escape. A signed Christmas card was sent to their family, and handwriting analysis was a match for the brothers. Unfortunately, no one could determine the date of delivery.
The Anglin family brought to light another key piece of evidence, a picture of the two brothers in Brazil shot in 1975. This picture was analyzed by a forensic expert who stated that it was “more than likely” John and Clarence Anglin. To this day, no one is 100% sure that these allegations have any truth behind them.
Another piece of the puzzle was supplied by Robert Anglin, one of the Anglin siblings, who confessed on his deathbed that he had been in touch with John and Clarence from 1963 through 1987 but claimed that they later lost touch. The Anglin family did not seek out their long-lost brothers in Brazil because the escape from “The Rock” is still an open Interpol investigation.
If they were to locate and inadvertently lead police to their siblings, they would face severe repercussions. The question of why the police didn't harshly investigate the Anglin family members remains unknown. Maybe the police knew more than we think?