by Frank Ahearn Page 1 of 3 page(s)
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How to Disappear… Alcatraz Style Those of you who recognize my name know that I am a skip tracer, one who finds people; however, more interesting, I teach people how to disappear. About a year ago, I met up with some famed Hollywood Producers about creating a show about me finding people who have disappeared - titled Missing.
How to Disappear… Alcatraz Style
Those of you who recognize my name know that I am a skip tracer, one who finds people; however, more interesting, I teach people how to disappear. About a year ago, I met up with some famed Hollywood Producers about creating a show about me finding people who have disappeared - titled Missing.
The producers were interested in doing cases where it was possible the missing people maybe alive. Like Whitey Bulger leader of the Winter Hill Gang, DB Cooper skyjacker and bank robber, Lord Lucan British high society and suspected murderer, Moana Pozzi Italian porn star. Out all the cases that were kicked around they were interested in brothers Clarence & JW Anglin the famed escape from Alcatraz, made popular by Clint Eastwood in his portrayal of Frank Lee Morris one of the escapees.
My attitude was negative I figured there is no way the Anglins or Morris made it out the dark waters with their makeshift rafts, boy was I wrong. Therefore, the journey of locating the Anglin brothers begins, I started my search by locating family.
The Anglin name is somewhat of a common southern name, most searches on line brought me to IMDB.com the movie site that linked the movie Escape from Alcatraz. I located an old book written titled Riddle of the Rock by Don Denevi, an interesting book that discusses the escape in detail - unlike the movie that simplified the break out.
The theory is that Bumpy Johnson a notorious Harlem mob boss assisted in the escape by having a boat out in the bay waiting for the escapees. However when I did my research on Bumpy Johnson he had no power left and no money to finance such a feat. In addition, the environment on the rock was hostile, amongst the different ethnic groups, though some believe that the escape plan united the groups and kept it a secret from the guards.
The vital hope amongst the prisoners was that if the escapees made it out alive, they perhaps would shine light on the horrible conditions in Alcatraz. The big house was filled with small cells, no exercise and high carbohydrate diets to keep the inmates lazy although the Warden allowed painting on canvas.
After days of spinning my skip tracing wheels, I was unsuccessful in locating any of the Anglin family members. Sometimes when one skip traces the simple things are forgotten. I finally hit www.ancestry.com and start posting that I am a writer searching for Anglin family members. A few days later, I get an email from a woman who knows the oldest brother and patriarch of the family. I will refer to him as Man a family nickname.
I dial Man’s cell phone number and an easy southern voice answers. I tell him my story that I am working with some producers who want to do a TV show about his brothers. Of course, I leave out the part that we are looking to capture them. Man agrees to meet me at a nearby Arby’s restaurant the following day.
The next day I arrive at the Arby’s restaurant about forty minutes early, checking out the scene. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Man or other family members. When you’re a skip tracer being paranoid at times is your best tool. The paranoia can keep you one-step ahead. After assessing that, all was cool I walk in a sit down, shortly after walks in the kindest looking person I ever met, Man brother to JW and Clarence.
As Man was sitting down, he asked if I was going to make him rich and famous, I laughed. Although Man was not joking, he told me how the media pretty much used him and spit him out. He told me everyone else made money off his brother’s infamy but the Anglin family never received a dime from books, TV shows and movies made. My answer was simple, how bout we start with a cup of coffee I am buying. Man smiled, he preferred bottle water.
I wanted to know about the brothers, how they found themselves in a place like Alcatraz. Clarence and JW robbed a bank in Alabama, what most people do not realize is a third brother was with them and the supposed ringleader Alfred Anglin. Man told me that Alfred was always in trouble and prior to the bank robbery in Alabama Alfred was on the lamb for several years living in the middle of Florida working a farm picking fruit and vegetables.
While hiding out in Florida Alfred fell in love with a sixteen-year-old beauty named Jeanette. Like Romeo and Juliet it was a forbidden love, the couple crossed the state line and married.
Not far from the Arby’s restaurant is a small graveyard with Alfred’s headstone and an old photo of Alfred and Jeanette announcing their marriage for all to see, quite brazen for a man on the run. That was just the way Alfred was, he feared nothing and wanted to give his new bride more in life so he devised a plan.
While Alfred was picking fruit under the hot Florida sun, Clarence was working a road gang somewhere around Ft. Meyers. Turns out Clarence’s mother Rachel and another of her sons’ went to visit Clarence in the jail. Clarence told them not to come next week that he would be visiting them at home. The mother and brother shrugged it off to Clarence’s usual banter.
The following week, Clarence true to his word escaped the road gang with two other prisoners. Clarence was barefoot and made his way up the Gulf Coast, wading and swimming for more than sixty miles.
Once the leading source in skip tracing now working with clients seeking a private life.