The D.B. Cooper skyjacking mystery is one of the greatest unsolved crimes of the 20th century. A group of scientists have just found evidence that dramatically narrows the pool of potential suspects in the case.
For those unfamiliar with the case, in November of 1971, a man disguised as an unsuspecting business traveler hijacked a Northwest Orient Boeing 727 from Portland to Seattle with a fake bomb, and parachuted out of the back of the plane with $200,000 in ransom money. His false name supplied on the flight manifest was “Dan Cooper.” He’s never been seen or heard from since. The most enduring image of Cooper is from the now infamous FBI sketches.
While traces of the ransom money have been discovered in past years, no substantive leads as to the identity of Cooper have developed beyond speculation and educated guessing. Some say the located ransom money suggests he died in his leap from the plane. Others believe Cooper survived the leap.
Per a report by Seattle based King-5 NBC, a team of scientists that were permitted to examine a J.C. Penny clip on neck-tie that Cooper left behind on the plane have found scientific evidence that drastically reduces the pool of potential suspects, and may give hope to discovering the real identity of Cooper.
In their inspection of the tie with an electron microscope, the scientists found traces of rare earth elements only used in the production of Boeing’s supersonic transport plane of the era. They contend Cooper could have only encountered the elements if he was present at a Boeing manufacturing facility during its production.
The conclusion is that Cooper was a Boeing employee or contractor, and the scientists further believe that he was likely an engineer or administrator in a Boeing plant, not a machinist or laborer.
To some, this may not sound like a big deal, but for DB Cooper nerds – like us – it’s a pretty damn big deal.
In an investigation that has seen nothing but dead ends over the course of 40 plus years, the drastic narrowing of the potential Cooper suspects to Boeing administrators or engineers who were at manufacturing plants during the limited amount of time that a particular model aircraft was being fabricated – circa 1971 – is a finite list of people.
Maybe one of them stopped showing up for work around the time of the hijacking. He was likely either rich or dead.
Here’s the news report from NBC King-5: