By Clyde Hughes
Amelia Earhart was captured by the Japanese when she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937, the son of a prison worker told the Pacific Daily News in Guam.
William “Bill” Sablan told the newspaper that his uncle Tun Akin Tuho, who worked at the prison in Saipan where Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan were supposedly held, told him in 1971 of the duo’s capture and death.
The theory of Earhart and Noonan being captured by the Japanese was first floated this summer by the History Channel special “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.” The theory hinged on a grainy Japanese military photo taken at a dock on Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands that reportedly showed Earhart and Noonan.
That theory lost steam shortly after the documentary aired on July 9 when Japanese history blogger Kota Yamano found a book in the Japanese national library with the same photo published in 1935, two years before Earhart and Noonan went missing, according to National Geographic.
Sablan, though, told the Pacific Daily News that his uncle told him of two Americans who were taken to Saipan, largest of the Northern Mariana Islands controlled by Japan, after they were found with a plane on another southern Pacific island.
Sablan said his uncle told him that the pair caused a commotion in the normally quiet prison and were killed two to three days after they arrived, the Daily News reported.
“They (Earhart and Noonan) had no reason to be there,” Sablan told the newspaper. He said their plane was dumped in the Pacific before they arrived in Saipan and that U.S. officials possibly removed their remains after finding their graves, the Daily News reported.
Earhart and Noonan’s disappearance on July 2, 1937, over the western Pacific Ocean has been hotly debated and researched for decades, the Daily News said.
Theories have ranged from the famed woman pilot crashed in the Pacific Ocean after running out of gas to dying as a castaway on a desolate Pacific island, according to The Washington Post.