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Alcatraz marks 50th anniversary of fabled escape

  • FILE - This 1962 file photo provided by the FBI shows Clarence Anglin 28, of Montgomery, Ala., in San Francisco. Anglin is a bank robber believed to have escaped from Alcatraz Island Federal Prison. Fifty years ago, three convicted bank robbers who had dug out of their Alcatraz cells with spoons boarded a tiny raft made of raincoats, pulling off an unlikely escape from The Rock that made its way into prison lore, a book and a movie. A lone U.S. marshal still is trying to find whether Clarence Anglin, John Anglin or Frank Morris survived the treacherous crossing of San Francisco Bay and are alive. (AP Photo/FBI, File)

ALCATRAZ ISLAND — For 20th century crime buffs, few capers match the intrigue and ingenuity of the "Escape from Alcatraz," the 1962 prison break three inmates pulled off with stolen spoons, dummy heads and a raincoat raft.

For Marie Widner and Mearl Taylor, the fabled flight from the Rock is all about family.

The two Florida women are the younger sisters of John and Clarence Anglin, who along with fellow prisoner Frank Morris, disappeared from the federal prison on Alcatraz Island 50 years ago. Whether the three men perished in chilly San Francisco Bay, as prison officials and federal agents insisted at the time, remains a subject of hot speculation because their bodies were never found.

Out of the 36 Alcatraz inmates who tried to flee before the prison was closed in March 1963, the three are the only ones who remain unaccounted for, according to the U.S. Marshals Service, which maintains active arrest warrants on Morris and the Anglins.

"I've always believed they made it, and I haven't changed my mind about that," Widner, 76, said Monday while visiting the former penitentiary to commemorate the anniversary of her siblings' daring getaway.


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