This webpage examines the eyewitness accounts and other evidence that shows Amelia and Fred were arrested and taken to Saipan. There were over 200 individuals who claimed they saw her, this site examines who they were, and what they heard or saw. It includes details of evidence the Electra was found on Saipan, interviews with people who saw her and the Electra before and after they were taken to Saipan. Interviews with over two dozen Saipanese who claim they saw her there and over a dozen US Marines who claim they found the Electra, her passport, briefcase and other details.


Digging it on Saipan


HPO (Historic Pres of Saipan) Supervised dig at the old Jail in Garapan
We finally put shovel to dirt.

To all those who doubted that could ever happen - it did.  Perseverance, good luck, helpful hands - and being on site all helped.  Thanks to all the folks at HPO who worked overtime to help us get our shovels into the dirt.  What's that they say in the Marines? "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."  Everyone chipped in to help us get to this point.  A heartfelt thanks from the team.

What's down here?  We'll let you know.

Eric and his Auntie Delores
Eric arranged for an interview with his Aunt who lives near the jail.  She went on camera for the first time in her life and told a story that she's never told anyone on camera before.

Her grandfather was Japanese, his brother in law was a policeman.  When Delores was 14 she asked her grandfather about stories she'd read about Amelia Earhart being locked in the jail across the road.  His initial reaction was "Don't ask about that, it happened before you were born."  But she insisted. Finally he pulled his granddaughter aside and said "Yes, there were two fliers in the jail and the died.  Then they were cremated."

Delores showed us how the jail was part of a vast Japanese cemetery - a shinto shrine at the entrance and across the road, up at the top was a crematorium.  We visited that crematorium and saw how the Japanese had used that to send their loved ones into the next realm.  The logic of giving prisoners in the jail a Japanese burial is hard to deny.  So perhaps there never were bones for folks to collect on this island of the famed aviatrix.

Mike Harris, famed explorer, works the B camera
We were on site at 9 am with shovels in hand.  Archaeologist Mike Fleming, with decades of experience and an extensive history of working in Micronesia, supervised the dig.  He revealed a pretty cool fact; when Admiral Nimitz was stationed on Tinian, they brought his Studebaker for him to drive around the island.  And when he left it there, Mike's grandfather snagged it!  So it's part of his family history now.

Archaeologist Mike Fleming
Captain Cooper was instrumental in finding the location for the dig.  We did more ground penetrating radar and more dowsing and with the help of some able bodied locals, were able to begin this dig.

Captain Paul eyeballing a piece of Japanese pottery
Architect Dave Smithers stopped by the site, where we discovered Dave's sister Leah had worked on films with Rich Martini back in her Hollywood days. Small world.  Dave took a trip into the cell that has been identified by locals as Amelia's cell and came out visibly shaken.  When asked what happened, he said that he felt "the strong presence of a female energy in that cell, but angry, trapped, like a tiger pacing in a cell."  David's not known for his psychic abilities, but he shared some incredible stories of his life and events surrounding his father's death.  

Architect David Smithers visiting from Korea

We had an interesting and revealing interview with Jack Salas.  His brother Jesus, passed just prior to our arrival.  For those familiar with Mike Harris' interview with Manny Muna back in 1983, Manny said that Jesus saw Amelia in this jail in a cell prior to the war and pointed it out to Mike. 

We spoke with Joaquin "Jack" Salas - his first ever interview.  At age 82, his memory was as sharp as could be, and remembered specifically seeing "a female woman, thin, with blond hair" sitting in the back of a truck, her hands tied behind her back and a black bandana tied around her head.  He said the truck was parked near his home in Chalan Kanoa (usually mispelled as Charan Kanoa, as that was what the Japanese soldiers called it) for a full thirty minutes. He saw other prisoners in the truck, but said he could "never forget it, as it was the first time I had ever seen a white person's face."  

The date was prior to the beginning of the war in Saipan.  There were more details that he gave, which will be part of his interview - the first info ever given from this gentleman.  His father ran the sugar cane train, spoke four languages, and had 8 children that hid in the caves when the war began.  Jack lost his brother Jesus just recently, and said that his younger brother Tony was also with him when he witnessed the famous aviatrix sitting in the back of a military truck for 30 minutes.

Joaquin "Jack" Salas
Finally, the local Buddhist nun who blessed our expedition stopped by to hand out some water. Sunim is her name, she runs the Zen Buddhist temple of the island, is the only Buddhist monk on Saipan, and had never been to see the jail in her 12 years living here.  It was nice to see her come out and cheer us all on.  Thank you Sunim!

Filmmaker Rich and Master Zen Buddhist monk Sunim

Stay tuned for more action from Saipan!!!

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Eyewitness Accounts: Published


Pg 40. “Glancing out on the runway ramp.. an area not the main part of Aslito Field, but an extended arm of the airstrip at the southwest corner… Near an embankment was (AE’s plane). (LATER) .. a muffled explosion at Aslito Field erupted into a large flash fire… I crouched and crawled toward the airfield. When I could see what was burning, I was aghast! The twin engine plane was engulfed in flames! I could not see anyone by the light of the fire… in July 1944.”


Goerner gathers dozens of eyewitnesses to Earhart’s incarceration and second hand info about her execution.


Amelia reveals she did not know Morse code (and neither did Fred Noonan)



South African journalist gathers numerous eyewitnesses at Mili, Majuro and Jaluit. There is footage of these interviews, but it exists somewhere in Miami – still trying to locate the negative.


Elgen shows how the original plan devised by radio man Harry Manning was adhered to by the Coast Guard Itasca – they didn’t know Manning got off the plane in Hawaii and wasn’t on the electra. So 90% of all their communication was in Morse code – something neither AE or FN knew.


PG 32. Robert Sosbe, 1st battalion 20th Marines, 4th marine division) Sosbe said he saw the Electra before and during its destruction) “on or about D+5 after our infantry had captured Alsito, the night before, then were driven off, only to capture it again, our Co was called up to fill a gap between our infantry and the 27th Army infantry. The trucks carrying us stopped off the opposite side of the runway from the hangars and tower about 3 to 5 hundred yds. This two engine airplane was pulled from the hangar to off the runway where it was engulfed in flames from one end to the other. I can still remember exactly the way it burned, how the frame and ribs because it was visible. It was about half dark. It burned approximately 15-30 minutes.”

Same page: a letter from Earskine Nabers: “I am seeking Marines who were placed on duty at Aslito to guard a padlocked hangar containing AE’s plane. The hangar was not one of those located along the runway. It was located near what may have been a Japanese administration building, and an unfinished hangar at the tarmac, in the southwest corner of the airfield.

The follow up letter (pg 33)

…”we had to get Col. Clarence R Wallace to sign all the messages that came through the message center.) Hq 8th moved back to bivouac area. I was dropped off at the Hangar for guard duty at the main road that went by west side of hangar. The road that went out to hangar, I was placed on the right side, just as it left the main road….

Pg 34 The best I can recall the plane was pulled on the field by a jeep.. the plane was facing north after the plane was parked and jeep moved. A plane came over real low and on the next pass he strafed the plane and it went up in a huge fireball. (We were sitting on the west side of the airfield about one hundred yards from the plane. We were on higher ground. As far as I remember, the (men) that pulled the plane on the field and us guys from H & S 8th were the only ones there.”

Pg 36 Marine Capt Earl Ford of Fallbrook, CA, artillery master sgt with 2nd Marines. Interview 6-7-88 by Paul Cook. “The aircraft was about 100 yards (from me) maybe less. We all saw it. No way we could miss it. A civilian twin engine. No way it was military. American aircraft in civil registration… some officers were saying it was Amelia’s… it had only two windows on the side, back here.”

Arthur Nash, Air Corps Corps, P47 group on Aslito. Claims he saw the plane on July 4, 1944 (book says 1945, must be a misprint based on following) pg 40:

“After landing on Isley.. at 2:30 pm, Japanese soldiers were running around the airstrip, one killed himself in the cockpit of a P47D with a grenade…” I slept fairly well (in the hangar) and (in the morning) wandered over to a large hole in the hangar wall facing the other hangar. The hangar floor and the area between the hangars was littered with debris, displace with siding from the hangars, maybe 65 yards apart, but close enough to get a good look at a familiar aircraft outside the other hangar. My eyesight was acute and what I saw was Amelia Earhart’s airplane!... the next morning I went over to see it but it was gone.”

Jerrell Chatham, 1st platoon, I company, 3rd regiment, 2nd marine deivions: “I was driving trucks .. on Saipan… when we went ashore I saw the hangar where Amelia Earhart’s plane was stored, I also saw the plane in the air. They told us not to go close to the airplane hangar and we did not…”

Pg 44: Howard Ferris, US Marines: “Sent to Saipan for guard dutey… an old hangar structure at end of a runway. This hangar was not large,.. small trees in front of big doors.. (then he recounts the same Marine argument that Devine and Nabers recount – where some Navy brass attempted to get in, but a Marine (Nabers) refused them entry.)” Howard was not present at the fire, but one of his buddies was. The buddy said a truck arrived with many gas cans and the guards saturated the entire hangar.. and it burned totally.

Pg 50 Robert Sowash, 23rd regiment 4th Marines Division: “I saw a plane in a building that was not a military plane.. I remember other Marines saying it was the same as Earhart’s. Later the place was cordoned off..”

Pete Leblanc, 121st Naval CB’s, 4th Marine division: “some of our guys were sneaking over towards the airfield to try and see (AE’s plane). We heard there were guards there. Then it was burned up later.”


Over 200 eyewitnesses as gathered by all the different authors with the various reports of her landing on Mili, being brought to Jaluit and incarcerated in Garapan prison.