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Thu, 28 Nov 2013, Updated Sun, 4 Feb 2018


Did Frank Morris Survive After He Escaped From Alcatraz?


Alcatraz is perched on a rocky Island in San Francisco and was listed as the most dreaded prisons in America. Alcatraz was considered as the perfect prison for the notorious criminal for the island was surrounded with ice-cold treacherous water as well as hungry sharks circling the bay that it was guaranteed that nobody would ever make a successful escape. That is... until June 11, 1962.



Frank Lee Morris


If there was a convict who was destined to escape from Alcatraz, that man will be no other than Frank Lee Morris. He was a man with a keen and brilliant mind and it is said that he had an IQ of 133. He was not a notorious criminal, but he earned his ticket to Alcatraz because of his impressive successful escapes resume.



Morris and the Anglin Brothers Escaped Alcatraz


On January 3, 1960, Frank Morris was shipped to Alcatraz and became an inmate #AZ-1441. It was reported that Morris began constructing his escape within a year of his arrival. Three men were involved as well, but it was Morris who masterminded the plot, and it took them two years to perfect their escape plan.

On June 11, 1962, Morris and the Anglin brothers, John and Clarence, successfully made it out of the Alcatraz. But after more than half a century, the debate continues. Did Morris and the Anglin brothers make it to San Francisco Bay? Or did Frank Morris survive after he escaped from Alcatraz?



Evidence That One of the Anglin Brothers Survived

Two days after the breakout, investigators discovered some important evidence that suggested that the escapees did not survive. They reasoned that the outgoing tide is very strong and they believe that they were taken by the currents into the Pacific Ocean.

Did Frank Morris survive after he escaped from Alcatraz? The captain of the Guards at Alcatraz, Philip Bergen believed that survival was impossible. He reasoned that they may have made it out of the Alcatraz alive but they cannot survive the waters. While Patrick Mahoney had some doubts. He said that he felt they didn't make it, but they never saw a body.

A Norwegian ship reported that they have spotted a body that matches Frank Morris description floating 20 miles past the Golden Gate Bridge on the day of the escape.

But there is some strong evidence that indicated that one of the Anglin brothers survived. The day after the escape, a call to the San Francisco law firm known to represent Alcatraz inmates was made. The caller claimed to be John Anglin. What about the mastermind? Did Frank Morris survive after he escaped from Alcatraz?



New Evidence That Frank Morris And The Anglin Brothers Survived

17 years later, the FBI officially closed the case on December 21, 1979 stating that there is no credible evidence that could suggest that Morris or the Anglin brothers were still alive.

But recently in 2011, the National Geographic Channel featured a program entitled Vanished from Alcatraz. Accordingly, a newly uncovered official record shows that a raft was discovered in Angel Island with footprints leading away.

There was also a report of a stolen car that night of the escape. Also, the TV show MythBusters showed it is possible to sail through the waters in a raft made of raincoat in similar condition. The end of the show was an interesting report that a paddle was found on a part of Angel Island. The show concluded that it is likely that Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin may have survived.

In 2015, a History Channel documentary presented evidence gathered over the years by the Anglin family. Photographs of John and Clarence Anglin, taken in 1975, were presented and two family members of the Anglin brothers went public saying their uncles were alive in the 80s and living in Brazil. For three years they received Christmas cards. The handwriting was analyzed and believed to be theirs.

In 2018, the FBI confirmed they had a letter written by John Anglin. FBI had to reopen the investigation and the letter opens with:

"My name is John Anglin. I escaped 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 all made it that night but barely!"

He also writes that he wants to make a deal with the authorities. He says he will tell where he is if he gets medical care and not sent to prison.



So, did Frank Morris survive after he escaped from Alcatraz?