Wauwepex Revisited – An old camp staffer returns after 50 years

By Bruce A. Smith

Just got back from camp. Sweet time. Those of us old camp staffers who disregarded the twice aborted 100th Reunion set for today, netted seven of us in total: Cliff Jones and his wife Linda – who was the camp nurse after Ginny Spice. Robert R., Doug W. and I. Plus Brian Petrowski, who manages the new museum, and his volunteer assistant, a fellow named Don, who first camped at Wauwepex in 1956.

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DB Cooper – An Interview with former case agent, Larry Carr

By Bruce A. Smith

Larry Carr was the DB Cooper case agent from 2007-2010, and is perhaps the best-known case agent in the history of Norjak – the FBI’s designation for the Cooper investigation.

During his tenure, Carr was instrumental in advancing the case in many ways, such as establishing the Citizen Sleuths Team in 2009 and joining a chat room on Cooper, known as the DropZone, to publicize the FBI’s findings. In addition, he released information about the evidence that had been unknown to the public prior, such as revealing the existence of a clip-on tie and clasp thought to be left behind by the skyjacker.

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Recent post is postponed

By Bruce A. Smith

Regarding the recent post that has been postponed, it refers to a recent book review that I posted here at the Mountain News.

The folks at Principia Publishing would like me to publicly admit that I committed an egregious error in posting my review of their planned upcoming book on DB Cooper suspect, Walter Reca. I posted the review in violation of a non-disclosure agreement that I signed with them several weeks ago. I simply forgot that I did, and that they were expecting complete privacy. I apologize.

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DB Cooper and me are swimming upstream at Amazon

Bruce A. Smith

A favor; a request to you all.

I need some help sorting out the confusion at Amazon concerning my new books – DB Cooper and the FBI – A Case Study of America’s Only Unsolved Skyjacking, 3rd Edition – in both the paperback and e-book versions.

Apparently, I need click traffic to my actual “author” page and the “sales” page to drive the algorithms Amazon uses to select and place new books. In addition, some publishing houses pay Amazon to put their books at the top of the list, so I’m swimming upstream against two currents.

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Hundreds Gather in Cooper Country to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary

By Bruce A. Smith

This conference was the best one, yet.

CooperCon 2021 was held this past weekend in Vancouver, Washington, and over 200 people attended the festivities. This year’s Thanksgiving Eve, November 24, is the 50th Anniversary date of DB Cooper’s iconic skyjacking – the only unsolved hijacking in the history of the United States.

During the conference, the vibe in the audience was electric, as panel members gave superb expert testimony on the many mysteries that surround the case, especially the money find at Tina Bar in 1980. How the ransom bills got there and when has baffled investigators for decades. However, Tom Kaye gave a riveting presentation on his recent find of springtime diatoms on the interior of several bills. More impressively, Kaye said he did not find any wintertime diatoms at all, as they differ significantly than from the springtime species in both shape and chemical composition. Continue reading

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DB Cooper and the FBI – 3rd Edition – now available

By Bruce A. Smith

I am pleased to announce that the 3rd Edition of DB Cooper and the FBI – A Case Study of America’s Only Unsolved Skyjacking has been published. It is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and neighborhood bookstores. The cost is $30, and contains 504 pages, whereas the 2nd Edition was 440.

The 3rd Edition contains more than just a few additional pages, and every aspect of the case has been reviewed through the new lens of the documents provided by the FBI. In addition, all the recent findings and pronouncements since the 2nd Edition was released in March 2016, such as Tom Colbert and his digging into the Robert Rackstraw saga or the springtime diatoms found at Tina Bar, are discussed in detail. Plus, new elements are explored, such as the experience of the passengers, and I share extensive conversations with former USADA Larry Finegold, Mike Cooper, Jack Almstad, and Scott MacPherson, besides my original interview with Bill Mitchell.

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DB Cooper World prepares for the 50th Anniversary of this iconic skyjacking

By Bruce A. Smith

The legendary DB Cooper- the personage responsible for the only unsolved skyjacking in the history of the United States – will be celebrated and his exploits assessed at the CooperCon 21 to be held November 20-21 in Vancouver, Washington. Continue reading

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Remembering Jo Weber

by Bruce A. Smith

Editor’s Note: Iconic DB Cooper researcher Jo Weber has died. Full details of her passing are unknown at this time, but she had entered a long-term healthcare facility in Pensacola, Florida in 2020. Nevertheless, Jo was a featured participant in the 2020 HBO broadcast titled, “The Mysteries of DB Cooper.”

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Jo Weber drove me crazy. She’d call me at all hours of the day or night and talk incessantly. I learned to put her on a time-limit, and in the last year of our relationship – two years before she passed away in February 2021 – I would tell her I “had to go in five minutes,” and when that mark was exceeded, I’d say, “Jo, I really have got to go,” and just hang up the phone.

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DB Cooper – FBI documentation on the parachutes gets another review

By Bruce A. Smith

I’m developing a timeline to better understand what the FBI knew about the parachutes and when they knew it. Much of the following information comes through the hard work and courtesy of DB Cooper researcher “Fly Jack,” and his uncanny eyeballs that have pored over the federal 302 field reports released by the FBI over the past few months.

Note: DB Cooper hijacked a Northwest Orient 727 on the afternoon of November 24, 1971, and after exchanging the passengers for $200,000 and four parachutes at Sea-Tac airport, he jumped into the night skies of southwestern Washington and has never been seen since.

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DB Cooper – Assessing the FBI’s 45-Year Investigation, an Update

By Bruce A. Smith

The FBI is arguably the world’s best investigatory organization, but they couldn’t solve the DB Cooper case. Why not?

I asked former SA Gary Tallis that question at the 2011 Symposium and his reply surprised me: “Because they haven’t found a body. If we had a body, all the answers would follow.”

But what happens to an investigation when there isn’t a body? Further, how should the FBI have proceeded when they had so little tangible evidence? It wasn’t an easy job, I admit. Losing evidence didn’t help, either. But large bureaucracies lose stuff, and have less-than-adequate staff sprinkled throughout their organizations, even at managerial levels. So, after 45 years of investigating DB Cooper, how did they do?

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