Jimmy Hoffa might be buried on a horse farm. But the FBI agent in charge of the suburban Detroit dig that ended this week should have known before he put shovel to dirt that it wasn't this one. And there's a man alive who knows exactly what was done with Hoffa's body.When now deceased Teamster and Mafia associate Frank Sheeran - Hoffa murder suspect from day one - confessed to me during five years of taping that he shot his friend and mentor at 17841 Beaverland St. in Detroit, the man had everything in this life to lose. His lawyers advised him if he continued to allow me to interview and tape him, he would be indicted.At times Sheeran expressed fear of how he would look to: Jimmy's kids, his own daughters and grandchildren and his former Mafia colleagues. But Sheeran's overriding fear was of God. On his last tape - six weeks before his 2003 death at 83 - he and I said a Hail Mary and Our Father.Subsequently, Sheeran's confessions were corroborated.Two years ago, when Special Agent in Charge Dan Roberts - the man behind this dig - took over the Detroit FBI office, I offered Sheeran's tapes to him. He didn't take me up on the offer. To this day, Sheeran's tapes, with relevant evidence not disclosed in my book, remain ignored.The scene of the crime, 17841 Beaverland St., also remains largely ignored. It had three patches of floor with blood seized by local cops. Analysis found 30 spots of blood too old for DNA analysis and one spot with DNA likely from a 4-year-old boy who more recently injured his head.The pattern of old blood fit Sheeran's confession.Ten months before this latest dig, Bob Garrity, retired Hoffa case agent in charge from 1975 to 1978, said about Sheeran in a Detroit Free Press interview: "Why would he say he did it if he didn't? There was no reason for him to lie."As for "the bones," Sheeran told me he was told Hoffa was cremated, but added: "I do know that this detail was none of my business and anybody who says they know ... except for the cleaner, who is still alive, is making a sick joke."That cleaner, the guy responsible for disposing of the corpse, is now 68 and living in Las Vegas. His name is on Sheeran's tapes and in Bob Garrity's 1976 report with the original suspect list. To date, the man has always taken the Fifth.But it's only by digging deeper into his recollections - not making holes in dirt under horse farms - that anyone will find Hoffa.If, that is, there is any Hoffa left to find.Brandt, the author of "I Heard You Paint Houses," is former chief deputy attorney general of Delaware.
(C) 2007. Charles Brandt