The case has become larger than life because of the public’s “fascination with unsolved crimes, particularly murder cases where the body has never been found,” says Adam Gershowitz, a professor at William & Mary Law School in in Williamsburg, Va. “And the statute of limitations usually does not run out on murder cases, so there’s always the prospect that finding the body could lead to a new whodunit and a trial.”
The mystery also proved a glimpse of underground crime organizations from a different era, says Tod Burke, a criminal justice professor at Radford University in Virginia
“Nowadays, organized-crime people are more likely to speak [to authorities] – to turn against their own,” says Professor Burke. The Hoffa era was a time “when you didn’t do that. You kept your mouth quiet and it stayed within the family."
"Now it’s more difficult to do that because we have gangs and the same rules don’t necessarily apply,” he adds
What is known is that, on the day of his disappearance, Hoffa intended to meet with Anthony Giacalone, an organized crime figure in Detroit, and Anthony Provenzano, a New Jersey Teamsters local. The FBI has said Hoffa went there thinking Mr. Giacalone would help settle a feud between Hoffa and Mr. Provenzano. Both men later denied meeting Hoffa and have since died. According to the ongoing investigation, Hoffa was likely killed as part of a power struggle over the union’s pension fund.
The current tipster is a former gambler who contacted Dan Moldea, a Washington-based investigative journalist who is the author of “The Hoffa Wars,” a thorough investigation into the case. Mr. Moldea would not reveal details about the tipster, but says he is not a mob associate but was someone who was at “the wrong place at the wrong time.”