FBI Re-opens D.B. Cooper Case

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by ccheese, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Jul 10, 2007
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    Electron microscopes, dollar bills on a fishing pole, and a French Canadian comic book hero are providing tantalizing new insights into one of our greatest unsolved mysteries—the D.B. Cooper case.

    We’ve told the story here before—how in 1971 a man calling himself Dan Cooper hijacked a plane from Portland to Seattle, demanded parachutes and $200,000 in cash, then jumped into the night with the money, never to be seen again.

    Did he survive the jump? That is the subject of great debate. But as it turns out, a certain Dan Cooper is very much alive—on the pages of a French comic book series that was popular when the hijacking occurred. In the fictional series, Royal Canadian Air Force test pilot Dan Cooper takes part in adventures in outer space and real events of that era. In one episode, published near the date of the hijacking, the cover illustration shows him

    Seattle Special Agent Larry Carr, who took over the Cooper case two years ago, believes it’s possible the hijacker took his name from the comic book (the enduring “D.B.” was actually the result of a media mistake). That’s important because the books were never translated into English, which means the hijacker likely spent time overseas. This fits with Carr’s theory that Cooper had been in the Air Force.

    Carr discovered the comic book connection on D.B. Cooper Internet forums, where fascination with the case is undiminished. The forums are also where Carr found the “citizen sleuths” who volunteered to help us reinvigorate the case.

    The investigation has remained open, it doesn’t make sense for the FBI to commit substantial resources to this nearly four-decade-old crime, Carr says. “So if the public can help, by whatever means, maybe we can shake something loose.”

    Enter Tom Kaye, a paleontologist who usually searches for dinosaur bones in the Wyoming desert. With a team that included a scientific illustrator and a metallurgist, and assistance from a veteran Cooper searcher and Brian Ingram—who was eight years old in 1980 when he found $5,800 of the ransom money on a sand bar along the Columbia River (the only physical evidence in the case after Cooper jumped from the plane)—Kaye recently spent time conducting soil, water, and other experiments on the Columbia and some of its tributaries.

    “The FBI threw out the challenge,” he said, “and we've taken the bait.”

    Using technology unavailable in 1971, such as satellite maps and GPS, Kaye hopes to pinpoint exactly where Ingram found the money nearly three decades ago. He plans to retrace the plane’s flight plan to determine more exact coordinates for Cooper’s landing zone. And using an electron microscope, he wants to figure out if pollen found on a tie Cooper left behind on the plane came from a specific region of the country.

    And that stack of dollar bills on fishing line? Kaye conducted experiments to help determine if the money Ingram found floated there over time, or was buried there shortly after Cooper jumped.

    “After 37 years,” he said, “we’re trying to use science to narrow all the possibilities.”

    It’s yet another twist in a case that continues to fascinate the nation.

    If you have any information on Cooper, please e-mail our Seattle field office at [email protected].

    - D.B. Cooper Redux: Help Us Solve the Enduring Mystery
    - A Byte Out of History: The D.B. Cooper Mystery

    This from the FBI's newsletter...

  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Feb 19, 2007
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    Matt is gonna be looking for you Charles! :)

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