DB Cooper stunned America and the rest of the world with his kidnapping crime that many couldn’t solve.
Here’s everything you need to know about DB Cooper and his criminal activities in 1971.
Who was DB Cooper?
DB Cooper boarded a flight from Portland to Seattle named Dan Cooper, at least according to his ticket.
Someone thought they heard his name is DB Cooper and that’s the name everyone uses to refer to him.
People know this was a mistake, but that name sounded better and that’s how it stuck.
Cooper hijacked the Northwest Airlines flight and got away with $200,000 on November 247, 1971.
Since then, no one has been able to track him down or find the whole pot of money, just a small amount of it.
What crimes did he commit?
DB Cooper boarded a Northwest Orient Airlines flight bound for Seattle on November 24, 1971 in Portland, Oregon.
He had a suitcase with him and sat in seat 18E.
In his forties and in an elegant business suit, Cooper calmly ordered a bourbon, lit a cigarette and put on dark sunglasses.
Shortly after takeoff, he handed the flight attendant closest to him, 23-year-old Florence Schaffner, a note saying the plane had been hijacked and Cooper had a bomb in his suitcase.
Sitting next to a terrified conductor, Cooper explained his demands: four parachutes, a fuel truck on standby at Seattle Airport — where the plane was going — and a second flight to Mexico City.
He also requested $200,000 in cash — estimated at around $1.6 million today.
Cooper opened his case to reveal what Schaffner would later describe as a battery and eight red cylinders with wires attached.
The attendant relayed Cooper’s demands to the flight crew, and the crew informed the police.
As the plane approached Seattle, the FBI rushed to meet each of Cooper’s demands.
Then things took another unexpected turn.
After the Boeing jet landed at Seattle Airport, Cooper allowed the 36 other passengers and some crew members to disembark.
He stayed on the plane and told the pilot to slowly fly it to Mexico while staying below 10,000 feet.
As the jet crept toward Reno, Nevada for a scheduled refueling stop en route to Mexico, Cooper opened a back door and jumped out with the $200,000 cash and a parachute.
Was DB Cooper even caught?
No trace of Cooper’s body has been found in the 45 years since that event, fueling speculation that he survived the jump.
Hundreds of theories have emerged over the years.
Some people said Cooper was a former paratrooper.
Various families claimed that Cooper was their relative.
Someone pointed out that the entire kidnapping eerily resembled the events of a 1963 French comic book called Dan Cooper.
The prime suspect for a time was John List, who murdered his entire family days before the kidnapping.
Other former suspects included a Vietnam veteran-turned-Catholic priest, a transgender mechanic, and a leatherworker posthumously accused by his niece.
In 1980, a young boy digging in the sand north of Portland discovered wads of money matching the serial numbers on Cooper’s ransom.
Cooper’s cult status grew, but the mystery remained.
“The fascination with Cooper survived not because of the FBI investigation, but because he was able to do something that not only captured the public imagination but also maintained a sense of mystery in the world,” wrote author Geoffrey Gray in his book Skyjack: The Hunt for DB Cooper.
But no theory or claim has been able to confirm who Cooper was, why he hijacked the plane, and whether he survived his daring jump.
In July 2016, the FBI admitted defeat after “one of the longest and most comprehensive investigations in our history.”
“Over the course of 45 years [hijacking] During the investigation, the FBI thoroughly reviewed all credible leads, coordinated the conduct of searches between multiple field offices, collected all available evidence, and interviewed all identified witnesses,” the office said.
“While the FBI appreciated the immense amount of leads received from the public, none have resulted in a definitive identification of the kidnapper.”
America’s most experienced investigators had given up on the case, but its undercover detectives refused to give up.
In January, three scientists working on the case revealed that analysis of a tie likely left behind by Cooper could narrow the kidnapper’s elusive identity and blow the now-closed case — the only unsolved kidnapping in American history — wide inflated .
Sensational files also revealed three mysterious suspects at the center of the investigation – a failing businessman, a wealthy man living on a yacht in Mexico, and a person who had been researching an identical scenario before the crime.
And now a group of volunteer investigators from cold case investigators across the US think they may have found a key piece to solving the mystery – a decades-old parachute harness.
TV exec and amateur detective Thomas Colbert didn’t reveal the exact location, telling Fox News the belt was “exactly where a credible source claimed the chute and the remaining money were buried.”
He sends the belt to the FBI for analysis.
In August 2017, scientists working for Citizen Sleuths — a group that began its own investigation into the Cooper case in 2007 — claimed they had made a breakthrough.
For the past decade, Citizen Sleuths have worked on the case and published their extensive research online.
Key members of the Citizen Sleuths team are scientists, including principal investigator Tom Kaye, a paleontologist and spectroscopy specialist, as well as experts in optical microscopy, metallurgical engineering, and biological illustration.
Her work caught the eye of an impressed FBI, who had her investigate leads a few years ago, including a tie.
JC Penney’s black clip-on tie had been left on Cooper’s seat – 18E.
And that tie, citizen detectives said, gave them a solid lead as to the man’s identity.
“A tie is one of the few items of clothing that doesn’t get washed regularly,” the group explained on its website.
“It picks up dirt and grime like any other garment, but that accumulation never really ‘resets’ in the washing machine. Each of these particles comes from somewhere and can tell a story if the right tools like electron microscopes are used.”
The scientists used a powerful electron microscope to find more than 100,000 particles of “rare earth elements” on the tie, including pure titanium, which caught their eye the most.
They said titanium was a rare metal in 1971 and linked Cooper to a “limited number of managers or engineers in the titanium field who would wear ties to work.”
Based on this finding, the scientists said they believed Cooper worked for Boeing – the manufacturer of the plane he hijacked.
At the time, Boeing happened to be working on a Super Sonic Transport plane that used these elements.
“Of course, the tie went with him into those production environments, so he wasn’t one of the people running them [manufacturing machines]’ the group’s lead researcher, Tom Kaye, told King 5 News from Seattle.
“He was either an engineer or a manager at one of the plants.”
The group is now asking for public help to develop their theory that Cooper was a Boeing employee.
They have detailed the list of particles they found on their website and hope that other citizen investigators detectives can help solve DB Cooper’s mystery.
“Someone could look at these particles and say, ‘Oh my God. I know what it means to have those particles on your tie,” Kaye said.
The FBI has said it is holding evidence from the case at its Washington, DC headquarters but will not act on further leads unless Cooper’s money or parachutes are found.
Meanwhile, another amateur detective is working on the case – Geoffrey Gray, who wrote the 2011 book about the Cooper kidnapping.
He has published hundreds of FBI files related to the case in his online magazine True Ink in hopes that publicizing the case would help finally solve the baffling case.
“We’re trying to solve one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of our time,” he said. “And we need your help.”
Where does DB Cooper stand now?
DB Cooper is still nowhere to be found.
Officials don’t know if he’s alive or dead, but many believe he survived the parachute crash.
What does the DB Cooper case have to do with Prison Break?
In the TV series Prison Break, the main character Michael Scofield finds out that one of the prisoners his brother is being held in is DB Cooper.
Charles Westmoreland, an elderly inmate at Fox River State Penitentiary who dies during the first season’s escape, is revealed to be a mysterious criminal.
He reveals where he buried the money Michael plans to use to finance him and his brother outside.
In the second season of the TV show, all the convicts travel to Utah to dig up the buried millions.
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https://www.the-sun.com/news/5764000/db-cooper-hijacking-mystery-prison-break/ Who was DB Cooper and is he still alive? – The US sun