Has a 40-person team of amateur detectives cracked a case that has befuddled the FBI for years? Have these part-time sleuths discovered the identity of airplane hijacker “D.B. Cooper?”
A Hijacker Who Became a Legend
“D.B. Cooper” is arguably a part of American pop culture at this point. He’s been referenced in countless books, TV shows, and conspiracy web sites. He was even mentioned in the lyrics of a Kid Rock song. Despite this, almost nothing is known about the man. Including his real name.
What we do know is that on November 24, 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper boarded a flight to Seattle in Oregon. He then held it for ransom, claiming he had a bomb.
His demands were simple: $200,000 in ransom money, four parachutes, and a truck ready to refuel the plane in Seattle.
All the other passengers disembarked in Seattle and Cooper’s demands were met.
He then laid out a new flight plan for the pilots, who were to head to Mexico.
During his getaway, somewhere over southwest Washington, Cooper jumped out the rear stair door of the plane. He was never seen again.
He later earned the nickname D.B. Cooper based on the name of a potential suspect who was cleared of any involvement. The moniker stuck though.
D.B. Cooper Revealed?
According to Thomas Colbert, the leader of an amateur investigative team, a nine-digit number at the bottom of a letter believed to have been sent by D.B. Cooper is linked to a San Diego man who is still alive. The letter was obtained in 2017 via a public records request.
The letter was sent to media outlets shortly after the hijacking. According to Colbert and his team of part-time detectives, the mysterious number refers to the three army units of a man named Robert Rackstraw.
Rackstraw was questioned during the initial FBI investigation into the crime as he possessed the knowledge and skills to have possibly pulled it off. However, the FBI later eliminated him as a suspect.
Has the FBI been sitting on this evidence all along? Colbert and his team seem to think so. The FBI is currently mum on the subject as it suspended its investigation in 2016.
As for Rackstraw, he has repeatedly denied being the hijacker.