Jimmy Hoffa’s Disappearance: What’s True, What’s Not, And Why We Can’t Let It Go

Published November 6, 2017
Updated September 9, 2020

Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran: “My friend didn’t suffer.”

Frank Sheeran

YouTubeFrank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a known hitman for the mafia who claimed that he killed Jimmy Hoffa.

Before his death, a mobster and former friend of Jimmy Hoffa named Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, claimed that he carried out the hit on Hoffa on orders from the boss of the Philadelphia mob, Russell Bufalino.

Sheeran said that he betrayed his friend and personally pulled the trigger because the hit on Jimmy Hoffa was a foregone conclusion by that point. If someone was going to do it, Sheeran felt, it should be him.

According to Sheeran’s 2004 biography I Heard You Paint Houses, written by former prosecutor Charles Brandt, Hoffa never saw it coming. “My friend didn’t suffer,” Sheeran said, claiming that after he brought Hoffa to a house in northwestern Detroit, he stood behind Hoffa while he was distracted and shot him twice in the back of the head.

Hoffa’s body was then cremated in a trash incinerator in the Detroit suburbs. Sheeran gave the address of the house where the murder supposedly took place and investigators searched the site for evidence of the killing. They found traces of blood in the house but later testing revealed that it didn’t belong to Hoffa.

No other evidence was found that gave any support for Sheeran’s claim, leading both law enforcement officials and journalists who covered Hoffa’s disappearance to disregard Sheeran’s “confession” as almost entirely fabricated.

Don’t expect this theory to fade out with time, however. Brandt’s book is the source material for the upcoming Martin Scorsese film The Irishman, so many of Sheeran’s claims are likely to get a lot of new life and will probably become more entrenched in the culture as a result.

Kellen Perry
Kellen Perry writes about television, history, music, art, video games, and food for ATI, Grunge, Ranker, Ranker Insights, and anyone else that will have him.