The only reason the public even learned about the letter was its publication on KPIX, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco. The station received a copy of it from an anonymous source. After the letter was published, the US Marshals made the following statement.
“There is absolutely no reason to believe that any of them would have changed their lifestyle and became completely law-abiding citizens after this escape.” The US Marshals are the only ones still on the case, so they probably know what they are talking about. What do you think happened? Will the truth ever come out?
Over the years, the US Marshals’ position has been that “it is possible” Morris and the Anglin brothers survived the escape. But after the letter came to light in January 2018, one of their representatives questioned the letter’s legitimacy to The Washington Post, claiming he believed it was a fake.
A quote from the Post’s article stated: “The Marshals Service has continued to investigate leads and said it will do so until the men are proven deceased, or until they turn 99.” The FBI saw things differently when they decided to call off the search in 1979; this was their take: “For the 17 years we worked on the case, no credible evidence emerged to suggest the men were still alive, either in the U.S. or overseas.”
The Last Man on Alcatraz
Jim Albright, the very last guard to leave Alcatraz prison, was interviewed by ABC 7, a local TV affiliate in San Francisco, to commemorate 55 years of the prison’s closing in March 2018. He worked there during the escape and was asked about his beliefs regarding the men’s fate. Does he think they drowned, or did they survive as claimed in the letter?
This is what he had to say: “It depends on whether you’re talking to me or you’re talking to their mother. I believe they drowned, I really do.” Albright believed that the man who wrote the letter, pretending to be John Anglin, was a very sick man who needed treatment for his cancer and was using the famous escapee’s name to get help.
Inside Alcatraz: historic photos of America's most notorious prison
This is a shot of the Alcatraz recreation yard. Prisoners could use the yard to play sports like handball and baseball or to enjoy the fresh air in the few hours they were allowed to use it. The prisoners in Alcatraz had a very harsh daily routine, consisting of counts that would reach 13 times daily.
With such a limiting day-to-day, the time spent in this yard was precious, and the prisoners wouldn't risk their relatively free time for the world. The fresh salty air of the sea was felt while in the yard so that the inmates could smell freedom; however, to most, that was as close as they could get.
This next image shows what the cellblocks looked like from the outside. Now, although the photo is black and white, it didnt look any better even when in color. The cells were smaller than average, and the inmates didnt get more than a hard bed to sleep on.
The cell didnt consist of anything much more than that, and the day-to-day was pretty much basic. These blocks consisted of 336 cells, and on average, 260 of them were filled. In addition to these cells, around 40 other cells were called "solitary confinement." Over the years, there were 1557 prisoners who spent their days in cells looking like this.