The United States National Archives recently published a previously unknown photo that backed up theories about Amelia Earhart having landed in the Martial Islands, only to be captured and killed by the Japanese, reveals Mary Bowerman of USA Today. The photo appears to show Earhart herself as well as her co-pilot, Fred Noonan. Previous evidence, such as an eyewitness claiming to have seen both of them, as well as plane parts being found near the islands at the time, has kept this theory alive. Facial recognition experts have concurred that the person in the picture had a tellingly similar haircut and nose to Earhart.
As entertaining as it may have been, the theory that Amelia Earhart survived her plane crash and died under Japanese captivity doesn’t hold up, claims Clive Irving of The Daily Beast. In 1982, a Japanese author extensively probed her mysterious disappearance and found no evidence to support the theory. Earhart’s disappearance was an extremely high-profile affair in 1937, which led to broad investigations and search efforts in the area. Crucially, the Japanese army being ordered to execute her makes little sense as its territorial disputes with Russia and war with China meant it could ill-afford to enrage the U.S.