If it wasn’t the stuff of legends before, it certainly is now.
Three escaped inmates who were presumed dead after they made their renowned escape from Alcatraz in 1962 may have survived the breakout and could still be alive, new evidence claims.
Ringleader Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin broke free from the island prison in the San Francisco Bay after allegedly planning their getaway for two years.
They developed an elaborate scheme to plant fake heads made from plaster and real human hair in their beds to look like they were sleeping so they could leave their cells, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
They then reportedly slipped through holes they had spent months digging out with kitchen utensils.
It is believed the three men then climbed up a drainpipe, down a kitchen vent and over two barbed-wire fences before they attempted to cross San Francisco Bay on a raft made out of rain coats.
Their feat inspired the 1979 Clint Eastwood film Escape from Alcatraz, in which Eastwood played the mastermind, Frank Morris, pictured below.
Investigators and experts concluded the men died during their journey across the water, but their bodies were never found and new evidence brought forth by relatives of the Anglin brothers refute the long-standing theory.
Nephews Ken and David Widner revealed a picture of the Anglin brothers in Brazil in 1975 and said the family received Christmas cards from the convicts on a History Channel special, Alcatraz: Search for the Truth, which aired Monday.
The Widners presented the material to retired U.S. Marshal Art Roderick, who led the investigation into the Alcatraz case for 20 years.
"They didn't get down to the water and go, 'Okay, what do we do now?' They already had it in their mind what they were going to do," the Anglin brothers' nephew, Ken Widner, told INSIDE EDITION.
“This is absolutely the best actionable lead we’ve had,” said Roderick, who has continued investigating on his own, the San Francisco Chronicle noted. “I truly believe we’re going to close it.”
He said the photo offers solid proof that the brothers made it out of the water alive.
"When the forensic artist actually took out the facial shots, and isolated them by themselves, and you put the mug shots right next to them, it's clearly evident," he told IE, saying it is evident, "Especially with John Anglin. The forehead to hairline, the ear, the earlobes, the area around the nose; all that is almost, almost perfectly similar.
Although their escape was thought to be impossible to survive, Dutch researchers found in December that the men would have had a chance at survival if they left the island between 11 p.m. and midnight.
The men would be in their mid-80s if they survived and were still alive today.
"We really kind of hope to meet either my aunts or cousins; we hope to sit down with them and hear some of the stories about my uncles," Widner told IE.