Is Jimmy Hoffa buried in a Michigan field?

FBI agents dig in a field for Jimmy Hoffa's body (WXYZ TV)

A field in Oakland, Michigan is being  dug up on Monday by the FBI according to WNBC TV in search of the remains of the labor leader who disappeared in 1975 from a Detroit restaurant.

The dig began with shovels and in the afternoon a backhoe was brought in according to the Detroit Free Press.

The tip comes from Tony Zirelli, believed to be the underboss of Detroit's biggest crime family years ago.  At the age of 85 he is talking for the first time and led investigators to the field that was owned by former Detroit mob boss Jack Tocco according to WDIV TV.

His attorney, David Chasnick, insisted Hoffa is buried underneath a cement slab. "The body is in that field, no doubt about it," he said  according to WXYZ TV while pointing to the spot behind him where the FBI and local law enforcement crews were clearing grass and shoveling dirt.

FBI agents search a field outside Detroit for the remains of Jimmy Hoffa.(Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

This is said to be one of the best leads that the FBI has received and is actually involved with. Most previous searches for Hoffa have been conducted by local police according to WDIV TV.

The Hoffa family had no comment on the search. In a statement to WXYZ TV they wrote, "The Hoffa family does not respond every time a tip is received by authorities. Unfortunately they have been through this numerous times, and they hold out hope that one day they will know what happened. The FBI keeps the family informed and the family will have no comment until there is a reason to comment."

Nothing To Gain

Jimmy Hoffa (Keystone/Getty Images)

“I’m dead broke. I got no money,” Zerilli told WNBC TV in January. “My quality of life is zero.” He says he wants "closure" for himself and Hoffa's family. "He didn’t deserve what happened to him," he added.

He hopes to benefit financially from the discovery of Hoffa's body through a book and website. However, he says he will not name names. "I'm not a stool pigeon," he said.

Zerilli said he was behind bars in Las Vegas when Hoffa disappeared and was not involved in whatever happened.  "If that’s not an alibi I don’t know what the hell an alibi is," said Zerilli, who says he was "crushed" by Hoffa's disappearance.

Zirelli claims a barn once stood in the field where he says Hoffa was killed and buried in a shallow grave according to WNBC TV. Originally his body was going to be moved  but the search was so intense that Hoffa's body was left on the property.

An excerpt from Zirelli's book handed out to reporters by an unidentified man decribes how the murder of Hoffa went according to the Detroit Free Press.

“There was an old house with an old barn on the property. As soon as they pulled near the barn, Hoffa was dragged out of the car, and bound and gagged. A shallow hole was already dug in the barn floor. He put up a fight, but he was easily overpowered. …(One of the men) picked up a shovel and cracked Hoffa over the head with it. …They threw him into the hole, and buried him alive. He wasn’t shot, he wasn’t stabbed, nothing like that. A cement slab of some sort was placed on top of the dirt to make certain he was not going to be discovered. And that was it. End of story.”

Former U.S. Attorney Keith Corbett tells WNBC TV that Zirelli is on a short-list of people the FBI wanted to talk to about Hoffa's disappearance. "This is certainly the most interesting and attractive lead that has come up since I’ve been involved with this," said Corbett.