FBI closes books on legendary D.B. Cooper
skyjacking of 1971
Send a link to a friend
[July 13, 2016]
By Alex Dobuzinskis
(Reuters) - The unsolved investigation of
the 1971 hijacking of a Seattle-bound airliner and the disappearance of
the enigmatic, dapper suspect dubbed D.B. Cooper, is now officially one
for the history books, not the FBI.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced on Tuesday it was closing
the case, reasoning that its crime-fighting resources would be better
The decision on the case of D.B. Cooper, a moniker given to the
skyjacker by the media after he vanished, ensures the saga will likely
endure as one of America's great unsolved mysteries.
It began on Nov. 24, 1971, when a dark-haired man who called himself Dan
Cooper, dressed in a business suit and tie and believed to be in his
mid-40s, boarded a Northwest Orient Airlines flight in Portland, Oregon,
bound for Seattle.
After take-off, the man handed a flight attendant a note claiming he had
a bomb in his briefcase and opened it to show a mass of wires and red
sticks, according to the FBI's account of the incident.
The aircraft safely landed in Seattle, where the man freed 36 passengers
in exchange for $200,000 in cash from the airline and four parachutes,
but kept several crew members aboard as the plane took off again,
ordered this time to fly to Mexico City.
At some point during that flight, at an altitude of about 10,000 feet
(1.9 miles), the man executed one of the most flamboyant getaways in
criminal history: He leapt out of the back of the jetliner into the
night with a parachute and the ransom money.
Whether Cooper survived the jump over a rugged, wooded landscape
somewhere between Seattle and Reno, Nevada, has never been confirmed.
And his true identity has never been established.
"Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation will now be
preserved for historical purposes at FBI headquarters in Washington,
D.C.," the agency said.
[to top of second column]
Artist sketches released by the FBI of a man calling himself D.B.
Cooper, who vanished in 1971 with $200,000 in stolen cash after
hijacking a commercial airliner over Oregon, U.S. FBI/Handout via
That evidence includes the hijacker's black tie and a crumbling
package of $20 bills matching the ransom money's serial numbers,
unearthed by a young boy from a sandbar along the Columbia River in
The FBI, decades after it had interviewed hundreds of people,
pursued a new lead in 2011 when it compared DNA from a woman who
claimed to be D.B. Cooper's niece to the suspect's tie. There was no
match, an FBI spokesman said at the time.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Leslie
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.