SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — It is one of America’s greatest mysteries: What happened to three men after they pulled off a daring prison break Alcatraz in 1962?
Only the worst criminals were sent to Alcatraz. And for 29 years, it was the most secure federal prison in the country – surrounded by the cold, rough waters of the Pacific. But brothers John and Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris disappeared into the night and have never been found.
The men have become folklore – fueled by Hollywood and popular shows. And in the last 55 years, theories about their fate have multiplied as new evidence surfaces.
A letter allegedly written by one of the escapees recently came to light. KPIX 5 exclusively obtained it from a source.
“My name is John Anglin. I escape 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!”
The FBI says this is the most recent piece of evidence that forced the agency to reopen the iconic cold case. The letter was sent to the San Francisco Police Department’s Richmond station in 2013.
“It’s interesting, I mean it’s obviously a very famous case here in San Francisco,” said KPIX 5 Security Analyst Jeff Harp.
Harp spent 21 years with the FBI, but did not work directly on this case.
“As a law enforcement person I’d like to think that their escape attempt was not fruitful for them. Personally, as someone who swims in the bay, and we have a triathlon that goes on every year, and there’s not a single person that doesn’t make that swim,” he added.
This past summer, we got an exclusive tour of some never-before-seen parts of Alcatraz. After months of meticulous planning – on the night of June 11, 1962 – the trio of bank robbers squeezed through the vents in the back of their cells.
The FBI says they used a homemade drill made from a broken vacuum cleaner motor to widen the vents. Once they crawled through, they climbed up a network of pipes and plumbing in a commonly unguarded space.
They set up a secret workshop on the top of their cells, where they built and hid what they needed to escape. They eventually made it out through the ventilator that led them to the prison roof. They slid down the smokestack to the ground and launched their raft – made of more than 50 raincoats. They also created life vests and wooden paddles.
The next morning, guards found dummy heads made of plaster, paper mache, paint and real human hair in their cells.
According to the letter, Frank died in 2008 and John’s brother died three years later. The writer makes a deal – “If you announce on TV that I will be promised to first go to jail for no more than a year and get medical attention, I will write back to let you know exactly where I am. This is no joke…”
The U.S. Marshals, which is the sole agency investigating the case today, says the FBI lab examined the letter for fingerprints and DNA, and the handwriting.
The FBI’s results were inconclusive.
“So that means yes, and it means no, so this leaves everything in limbo,” said Harp.
The writer of the letter says he spent many years after his escape from Alcatraz living in Seattle. He also mentions that he lived in North Dakota for 8 years, and currently lives in Southern California.
In a statement to KPIX 5, the U.S. Marshals Service writes: “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 Federal Bureau of Prisons say that they drowned once they got off of Alcatraz and their bodies were swept out to the Pacific Ocean — end of story,” said National Park Service Ranger John Cantwell.
New evidence presented in a 2015 History Channel special shows a photo allegedly showing escaped brothers John and Clarence Anglin in Brazil – 13 years after the great escape.
If the men are alive today, Frank Morris would be 90 years old and John and Clarence Anglin would be 86 and 87.
“I didn’t believe that they made it, but that’s was because of what the officers were saying,” said author Jolene Babyak.
Babyak was 15 years old and living on the island with her family when the men broke free.
Her father was the acting warden.
“I was awaken by the siren, which I had never heard before, so I wasn’t really sure exactly what it was,” she said.
She has since written several books on Alcatraz. KPIX 5 showed her a copy of the letter.
“No evidence, lots of allegations, no real evidence, nothing you can follow up on,” she said.
As for the US Marshals, they tell KPIX 5 they consider this lead closed with no merit.
“They’re getting up there in age, someone knows, cause if they made it out they communicated with somebody, so somebody somewhere knows – that’s still alive,” added Harp.
PLEASANTON (KPIX 5) – A wrestling accident left Myles Molnar paralyzed from his chest down a year ago, but the Pleasanton teen hasn’t let that get in the way of his goals.
“Having a will and then thinking outside the box. Those two things have really helped me more than anything really,” Molnar said.
“Well, it changed my world, definitely,” Molnar said. He was 15 years old and on a wrestling team in Abu Dhabi. His family moved there temporarily for his father’s work.
A routine wrestling move with a teammate dislocated his C5 and C6 vertebrae and compressed his spinal cord.
“I remember everything that happened that day,” he said.
He was taken to Craig Hospital in Colorado, which specializes in spinal cord injuries.
“I have pretty good control over my shoulders and then my biceps are both fives, which is full movement,” he said.
Back home in Pleasanton, and one year later, Myles Molnar is celebrating many ‘Mylestones.’
One year since the accident, he took to the ski slopes, using adaptive ski equipment. Molnar said that experience “was awesome.”
“There’s wheelchair rugby,” Molnar said. “I definitely do want to do that.”
Frank Molnar, Myles’ father said, “It’s quite challenging, it’s very challenging. But we have a lot support and he’s easy going, easy to work with. I love him dearly and nothing I wouldn’t do for him.”
And Myles Molnar has big plans for his future.
“I’m going to get my driver’s license,” he said, although he’s not sure exactly when yet.
And while it has been a challenging year — and health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of all of his rehabilitation — on this one year mark, he says it does get easier and it keeps getting better.
“I did read somewhere, it was a quote: ‘It’s easy to be strong when being strong is the only option’ and I really feel like that fits,” Molnar said.
ST HELENA (KPIX 5) – Homeowners in St. Helena are demanding answers about water rate hikes. They claim big wineries aren’t paying their fair share.
“All we want is answers to the questions of why you’re screwing the citizens of St. Helena,” said Anthony Micheli, president of Citizens for Responsible Winery Growth.
That’s a question that Micheli has been asking the city for months, filed a lawsuit over, and is hoping will finally be addressed at the town hall meeting Monday night.
“We don’t understand it,” Micheli said.
The topic: water woes.
A group of locals has banded together against rate hikes and accuses the utility of a lack of transparency.
On Monday night, they hope to hold City Hall accountable.
“It’s not fair what they’ve done with this rate hike,” said Micheli. “They have put it to the citizens of St. Helena.”
Tom Belt, a concerned resident said, “Since 2000, our rates — if you were to compound the rates together — have gone up 739 percent.”
Meanwhile, the rates of big users like wineries, Belt says, are still a secret.
“Residents are subsidizing other customers and according to Prop 218, it’s against the law now,” said Belt.
They use hundreds of millions of gallons of water making wine. But Belt’s lawsuit accuses them of paying a fraction of what local homeowners do. The buck stops with the city, who runs the utility.
But Mayor Alan Galbraith refused an interview with us ahead of Monday’s meeting.
There is a recall effort for the Mayor and the folks that wanted to recall him have agreed to hold that movement if he agreed to these town hall meetings addressing their concerns.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Thousands of people poured into a football stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, the anniversary of women’s marches around the world, to cap off a weekend of global demonstrations that participants hope will continue building momentum for equality, justice and an end to sexual harassment.
“This is a birthday party for a movement that has only begun to flex its power to change this democracy,” Anna Galland, the executive director of the progressive group moveon.org, told the boisterous crowd.
Following marches that drew huge crowds across the U.S. on Saturday, one year after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, protesters gathered Sunday on multiple continents, including in London, Paris, Sydney, Madrid and Buenos Aires.
The events culminated with the Las Vegas rally, which launched an effort to register 1 million voters and target swing states such as Nevada in the U.S. midterm elections later this year, which could shift control of Congress. Organizers said they are planning future events in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.
Paula Beaty, 53, a tech worker from Durham, North Carolina, attended the Las Vegas rally wearing an outfit recalling the women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century. She cited the difference women made in helping Democrat Doug Jones upset conservative Republican Roy Moore for a Senate seat in Alabama in December.
“For us it’s all about women’s rights and we’re seeing them be eroded with Trump in office,” Beaty said. “The women made a difference in Alabama and we’re hoping we can flip the House and Senate with the power of women.”
There was also a push for women to not just register as voters, but as candidates. Democratic Idaho state Rep. Paulette Jordan, a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, drew an immense cheer when she told the crowd she was running to be not only Idaho’s first female governor, but the first Native American woman to be governor in any state. She implored other women to join her in running for office.
“This is Idaho’s future. This is the future of America,” she said.
The demonstrations came at a time of reckoning for many men in Hollywood, the media and other industries as women speak out about sexual misconduct and inequity in general. Among the speakers in Las Vegas was singer and actress Cher.
“This is one of the worst times in our history and that’s why I honestly believe that women are going to be the ones that fix it,” Cher told the crowd. “Stay strong and remember if you don’t have a vote, you don’t have a voice.”
Those who took part in this year’s events said they were galvanized by an avalanche of political and gender issues over the past year, as well as the #MeToo movement, which has been credited with countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct.
Many of the marchers not only supported women’s rights, but also denounced Trump’s views on issues including immigration, abortion and LGBT rights. Demonstrators denounced Trump’s views with colorful signs and even saltier language.
Trump dismissed the suggestion that his presidency has been bad for women. He tweeted Saturday that it was a “perfect day” for women to march to celebrate the “economic success and wealth creation” of his first year in office.
“Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months,” the Republican wrote. “Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”
In Palm Beach, Florida, home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, several hundred people marched Saturday carrying anti-Trump signs. A group of women wearing red cloaks and white hats like the characters in the book and television versions of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which imagines a future in which women’s rights have been strictly limited, walked in formation with their heads bowed.
In the British capital Sunday, demonstrators carried placards reading “We Are Powerful” and “Time’s Up” and chanted outside Prime Minister Theresa May’s office as they raised grievances ranging from workplace inequities to misogynistic abuse on social media.
“Today is a call for action to bring about change,” London protest co-organizer Shola Mos-Shogbamimu said. “This is so much more than Trump.'”
The London event drew thousands of people despite sleet and snow. Heavy rain fell on Paris protesters who gathered near the Eiffel Tower, which could have been a factor in the small number of participants compared to the U.S. marches on Saturday.
“It doesn’t matter if the weather is like this,” Maggie Kim, who was one of the more than 100 people who didn’t let the rain and cold deter them. “We’re still coming together, and we’re going to still fight against Trump and his agenda.”
CARSON (CBSLA) — A 3-year-old baby was fatally shot near Compton liquor store Saturday evening.
Sheriff’s deputies received a call about the shooting on W. Alondra Boulevard at Nate’s Liquor Store around 7:45 p.m.
The child’s parents reportedly drove to a parking lot near S. Central Avenue and Walnut Street in Carson where deputies found the baby.
Deputies refused to wait for the paramedics, opting to take the child to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in a sheriff’s patrol vehicle.
“The victim, a male juvenile, was transported to a local hospital and later pronounced dead,” Dep. Charles Moore said.
POMONA (CBSLA) — VICE officials have arrested eight people in Pomona’s version of the red light district.
Police from Pomona and Claremont in eastern Los Angeles County have placed four women and four men in custody after a sting operation Friday in Pomona’s “Holt Corridor.”
Pomona police described Holt Corridor as a”nationally known as a track/blade where individuals can negotiate sexual acts in exchange for currency.”
Two people were arrested for prostitution, and the other six for loitering with intent to commit prostitution.
They are Alberto Hernandez, 35, of Riverside; Gabriella Trujillo, 30, of Colton; Anthony Richardson, 62, of Victorville; Andria Tyler, 31, of Los Angeles; Gerardo Caldera, 58, of Pomona; Chayani Ayers, 20, of Adelanto; Christopher Hernandez, 59, of Diamond Bar; and Christina Stewart, 29, of Pomona.
“This operation was designed to impact the crime of human trafficking by targeting the supply, demand, or organizational structure of entities involved in the trafficking of human beings,” Pomona Police Officer Jesse Hedrick said.
(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. City News Service contributed to this report.)
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Rock icon Tom Petty’s death last year was caused by an accidental overdose of prescription medicine, his family said in a statement Friday.
According to the statement on the musician’s website, the coroner found Petty “passed away due to an accidental overdose as a result of taking a variety of medications.”
The statement from wife Dana and daughter Adria Petty goes on to say the musician insisted on pleasing his fans despite medical complications from emphysema, knee problems and a fractured hip.
The family said Petty was on medications for chronic pain, which are thought to have led to his death:
“We knew before the report was shared with us that he was prescribed various pain medications for a multitude of issues including fentanyl patches and we feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident.”
— Tom Petty (@tompetty) January 20, 2018
A press release from the Los Angeles County Coroner indicates Petty died from “multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity” resulting from a mixture of fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl.
Oxycodone and fentanyl are powerful opiods, the latter listed as the drug that killed singer Prince in 2016. Temazepam is a sedative used to treat insomnia. Alprazolam, the generic name for Xanax, can be dangerous when mixed with opioids. Citalopram is an anti-depressant.
Acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl, drugs much more powerful than morphine, are not licensed for medical use.
Petty’s wife and daughter point to this tragic incident as a possible way to continue the discussion about the opioid epidemic in the U.S.
“In 2016, we had 64,000 overdose deaths, and 20,000 of those were by opiates,” addiction specialist Dr. Joseph Haraszti told CBS2 News.
The legendary, Florida-born rocker was famous for anthems of modern Americana like “American Girl” and “I Won’t Back Down.”
Petty died on October 2, 2017 in Los Angeles after being taken to the hospital for what was then reported to be a heart attack.
The cause of Petty’s death had been listed as “deferred” by medical authorities.
OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – California is giving money to homeowners who want to retrofit their homes.
The state program, called Earthquake Brace + Bolt, pays you to make your home safer.
The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program offers eligible California homeowners in high-risk areas up to $3,000 toward the cost of a retrofit.
In most cases, the state pays your contractor directly. The program also is open to qualified do-it-yourselfers.
Jason and Cheryl Sew Hoy live a few miles from the Hayward Fault and everyone keeps saying it’s not a case of if, but when.
But they’re feeling a lot more prepared for the big one, now that they’ve retro-fitted their home.
And the best part is California paid them to do it.
To qualify, homes must be built before 1979 and be located in an at-risk zip code, which is most of the Bay Area.
The application takes just minutes and you fill it out before even hiring a contractor.
The Soo-hoy’s retrofit was fairly standard. Their contractor bolted the home’s frame to the foundation.Water heater was strapped and braced, the basement was reinforced with plywood. The plywood boards stop beams from sliding.
The $3,000 covered about a third of their costs.
So far, every qualified applicant who’s applied has gotten a Brace + Bolt grant.
Still Jason & Sharyl Sew Hoy say, “It certainly did feel like we won some kind of minor lottery!”
Online registration starts next week.
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — San Francisco Acting Mayor London Breed took to Facebook to promote a new affordable unit and the Mayor’s Office of Housing.
Breed’s post advertises an 800-square-foot Below Market Rate unit in Pacific Heights going for just under $400,000.
READ MORE: CBS SF Below Market Rate Housing Coverage
We’ve been reporting on the BMR program for months now, exposing cheaters, unfair advantages, and a system seemingly out of touch with reality.
It’s hard to qualify for. A family of four looking to qualify cannot make more than $92,250 a year.
People commented on Breed’s Facebook post, saying the program “needs attention” and is “unrealistic.”
Others wrote “Madam Mayor you must be joking” and that “$92,250 a year is barely enough for food, clothing and PG&E.”
A family of four in San Francisco making less than that amount is considered in the low-income range.
“We use the area median income based on what the federal guidelines are,” Breed said.
But the federal guidelines are actually more lenient than the Mayor’s Office of Housing. HUD would allow families to make up to $105,350 to qualify for this unit.
The late Mayor Ed Lee promised to pay closer attention to this program in response to our reports. Now, Acting Mayor Breed says she too is open to change.
“If there are changes we need to make in order to make it realistic for the people who need it most, I’m happy to look into that and to do so,” Breed said.
The Mayor’s Office of Housing states its numbers come from HUD’s website.
But HUD’s numbers are much more forgiving than the city’s.
This is not the first time we have found mistakes, or misinformation on the city’s website when it comes to affordable housing numbers.
It remains to be seen just how many qualifying applicants will apply for the unit.
LAS VEGAS (KXNT) — Investigators remain unsure why Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock opened fire from his Mandalay Bay hotel suite, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more last October.
During the release of a preliminary report into the October 1 shooting, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters Friday that investigators believe Paddock acted alone in the deadly shooting.
“This is a complex, protracted investigation and we’ve done a lot of work piecing together what happened,” Lombardo said. The sheriff said that investigators have already followed up more than 2,000 leads in the case and reviewed over 21,000 hours of video footage as part of the case.
Lombardo said authorities discovered child pornography on Paddock’s computer. He also said he does not expect charges to be filed against Paddock’s girlfriend Marilou Danley in connection with the case.
Paddock, who killed himself before police reached him, told friends and relatives that he always felt ill, in pain and fatigued, authorities said.
His doctor thought he may have had bipolar disorder but told police that Paddock refused to discuss the possibility, the report said. The doctor offered him antidepressants, but Paddock accepted only a prescription for anxiety medication. He was fearful of medication and often refused to take it, the doctor told investigators.
During an interview with authorities, Paddock’s girlfriend said he had become “distant” in the year before the shooting and their relationship was no longer intimate.
When they stayed at the Mandalay Bay together in September 2017, Paddock acted strangely, she told investigators. She remembered him constantly looking out the windows overlooking an area where the concert would be held the next month. He moved from window to window to see the site from different angles, the report said.
She described him as “germaphobic” and said he had strong reactions to smells.
The 64-year-old retired accountant was a high-stakes gambler and real estate investor. He had lost a “significant amount of wealth” since September 2015, which led to “bouts of depression,” the sheriff has said. But Paddock had paid off his gambling debts before the shooting, according to the report.
Prior to the attack, Paddock’s online searches included research into SWAT tactics and consideration of other potential public targets, including in Chicago, Boston and Santa Monica, California, the sheriff said.
His research also sought the number of attendees at other concerts in Las Vegas and the size of the crowds at Santa Monica’s beach.
Among his searches was: “do police use explosives,” the report said.
Four laptops and three cellphones were found inside his hotel suite. On one of the computers, investigators found hundreds of photos of child pornography.
The same computer was used to search online for the height of the Mandalay Bay, how to remove hard drives from laptops, the locations of gun shows in Nevada and information about several other Las Vegas casinos.
Authorities have said they found no link to international terrorism.
Paddock fired more than 1,100 bullets, mostly from two windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, into a crowd of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival music below, Lombardo has said.
That includes about 200 shots fired through his hotel room door into a hallway where an unarmed hotel security guard was wounded in the leg and a maintenance engineer took cover.
Several bullets hit fuel storage tanks at nearby McCarran International Airport that did not explode. Authorities reported finding about 4,000 unused bullets in Paddock’s two-room suite, including incendiary rounds that Lombardo said were not used.
Investigators found 23 guns in the rooms, including 12 rifles fitted with “bump stock” devices that allowed rapid-fire shooting similar to fully automatic weapons. Dozens of guns were strewn around the room, some left inside a bassinet.
Danley was in the Philippines at the time of the shooting. In the days before the attack, Paddock sent her a $100,000 wire transfer. She has said she found that odd and thought he might have been breaking up with her when he sent her the money and told her to use it to buy a home for her family there.
During an interview with the FBI after she returned from the Philippines, Danley volunteered that investigators would find her fingerprints on bullets used during the attack because she would sometimes help Paddock load high-volume ammunition magazines, according to FBI warrant documents.