Amelia Earhart Mystery: Lost Pilot Spent Days In Prison Before Being Killed In Saipan, Says New Evidence

Amelia Earhart stands June 14, 1928 in front of her bi-plane called 'Friendship' in Newfoundland. Carlene Mendieta, who is trying to recreate Earhart's 1928 record as the first woman to fly across the US and back again, left Rye, NY on September 5, 2001. Earhart (1898 - 1937) disappeared without trace over the Pacific Ocean in her attempt to fly around the world in 1937. Getty Images

A man's newly-shared story provides new information backing the theory that Amelia Earhart was taken prisoner and executed on Saipan after disappearing from her flight around the world 80 years ago.

The idea that Earhart and her companion Fred Noonan were captured by the Japanese when they vanished in 1937 is one of several theories - over half a century later, no one is exactly sure of their fate. But a family tale from William Sablan, a man who lives on the Mariana Islands, says that Earhart was brought to Saipan and spent several days in prison after being brought to the South Pacific island by ship.

The story fits with the theory brought to light by the History Channel's documentary titled Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence. In the TV special, historians purport that the U.S. government knew that Earhart was captured and killed by the Japanese, and that the government even found and exhumed her body before lying about her fate for decades.

Sablan's story comes from his uncle, Tun Akin Tuho, as reported by USA Today on Saturday. Tuho worked at the prison where Earhart and Noonan were apparently taken prisoner, and told Sablan that their arrival caused quite a commotion. Saipan was a hub for the Japanese, but it was rare to see white people on the island.

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"They had no reason to be there," Sablan said.

Earhart (born 1897) standing in front of the Lockheed Electra in which she disappeared in 1937. Earhart began flying in 1920, and broke the women's altitude record in 1922. In 1928 she was invited to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and became an international celebrity. In May 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across in the Atlantic. Earhart promoted aviation and helped found the Ninety-Nines, an organization dedicated to female aviators. On 1 June 1 1937, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan left Miami, Florida on an around the world flight. They disappeared after a stop in Lae, New Guinea on June 29, 1937, with only 7,000 miles of the trip left. While a great deal of mystery surrounds her, her contributions to aviation and women's issues have inspired people for over 80 years. Getty Images

He said that Earhart's plane dropped into the ocean before she and Noonan were captured and arrested. Sablan's story is one of dozens of alleged witnesses, who have told of their possible run-ins with Earhart in several different places, under multiple circumstances.

Representatives from the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, told the New York Times that Earhart possibly landed on the island of Nikumaroro, transmitting distress signals in hopes of a rescue, but ultimately ending up stranded.

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A famous photo fits with the theory that Earhart was captured in the South Pacific, showing the profile of a white woman with cropped hair sitting on a dock in the Marshall Islands. Some believe that her plane can be seen in the background of the photo, but not all agree that it's strong evidence. A Japanese blogger said that Earhart couldn't possibly be the one in the photo, since he says it was published two years before her disappearance.

The mystery continues as historians and researchers continue to unveil evidence surrounding whether or not Earhart and Noonan were still alive in July 1937.

Amelia Earhart Mystery: Lost Pilot Spent Days In Prison Before Being Killed In Saipan, Says New Evidence | U.S.