Tampa Bay area author doubts new evidence in Amelia Earhart case

Photographic evidence of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan in the Marshall Islands found in the National Archives . PHOTO COURTESY: Photograph courtesy of Les Kinney/U.S. National Archives

(WFLA) – The photo is a black and white image taken in 1937 on an atoll in the Marshal Islands that was under Japanese control before the United States became involved in World War II.

The photo was long buried in the U.S. Archives.

Now, some are saying it’s a key piece of evidence that may help solve the lingering mystery surrounding the disappearance of famed aviator Amelia Earhart.

The History Channel is producing a new special, based on an investigation into the photo, documents and interviews with an aging witness.

Susan Butler is a Polk County author who wrote the book “East to the Dawn” about Earhart.

The book was later adapted into the movie “Earhart” with Hillary Swank.

Butler has spent years researching the topic and has even spent time searching for the missing plane.

The author is not convinced the photo uncovered by the History Channel investigation shows anything.

“I think there is always a possibility that things will turn out and she will be found, but I am a skeptic,” said Butler.

Butler said the theory that Earhart was taken prisoner by the Japanese and died on Saipan has been researched thoroughly and never proven.

She is not convinced the image shows Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan.

“I don’t know that I could possibly say that this was Amelia Earhart or this was Fred Noonan,” said Butler.

For Butler, the proof will be with someone finds the missing plane and she believes the plane is still out there to be discovered.

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