Suspects in the DB Cooper skyjacking – sketches, pictures and comparisons

by Bruce A. Smith

As part of the resurgent investigation into the DB Cooper skyjacking case, there has been a recent effort by private sleuths to show pictures of the various suspects to the passengers from the hijacked aircraft.

Here is a collection of photgraphs that the Mountain News has been able to gather over the past few years.

The above FBI drawing of DB Cooper is known as “Composite B,” and is based on the recollections of passengers and crew who interacted with Cooper.  It is widely considered to be one of the most accurate sketches of the infamous skyjacker.


Bobby/Barb Dayton

In 1978, Barb Dayton confessed to several of her friends, including Ron and Pat Forman of South Hill, WA, that she was DB Cooper.  Barb also told the Formans that she had formerly been Bobby Dayton, and in 1969 she had the first gender-reassignment surgery in Washington state.

After Barb died of pulmonary disease in 2002, the Formans researched their friend’s claims and published them in their book:  The Legend of DB Cooper – Death by Natural Causes.

All pictures of Barb and Bobby Dayton are provided courtesy of Ron and Pat Forman:


Barb Dayton, standing beside her Cessna 140

Barb Dayton, as a woman, circa 1970s. Picture courtesy of Ron and Pat Forman









Bobby Dayton, standing beside his Cessna 140.





Pictures of Bobby Dayton compared to the earliest FBI composite sketches of DB Cooper.  This sketch is known as composite “A,” and two versions were developed – one with sunglasses, which Cooper wore during most of the skyjacking, and one without.


Duane Weber / John C. Collins

While lying in a Pensacola hospital bed nine days before he died of kidney disease, Duane Weber confessed to his wife, Jo, that he was “Dan Cooper.”

However, Jo says she didn’t understand what her husband was trying to tell her.

As a result, he quickly grew frustrated and cursed, adding: – “Oh, let it die with me.”

Later, Jo Weber realized that “Dan Cooper” was the actual name that DB Cooper used when he bought a ticket in Portland and boarded Northwest Orient Flight 305 to Seattle, and the “DB” moniker only entered the case when an Associated Press reporter mixed-up the names in the early hours of the investigation.

Obviously, the name-switch stuck.

When Jo learned that Duane was actually confessing to the skyjacking, she became one of the foremost private sleuths in the case, and ever since, she has been very active to uncover the truth of her husband.

Along the way, she discovered that her husband had a second identity, John C. Collins.  Jo says that she further discovered that a man by the name of John C Collins registered at a Portland airport motel the night before the skyjacking and had been a subject of the FBI’s Cooper investigation.

All pictures of Duane Weber are provided courtesy of Jo Weber.

Duane Weber, 1977





Comparison of Duane Weber, (right), with a latter sketch, known as composite “C,” (left), developed in the 1980s.


Kenny Christiansen

Kenny Christiansen was a flight attendant for Northwest Orient Airlines for nearly thirty years, serving mainly on trans-Pacific flights.  However, in the mid-1990s he made a cryptic death-bed confession to his older brother, Lyle, “I have something very important to tell you….”

The family interceded and tried to comfort their distressed loved one; ultimately, Kenny passed away before he could tell Lyle what the important confession was.

Years later while watching a TV documentary on DB Cooper, Lyle realized that his brother could have been DB Cooper, and launched a personal investigation that has included a New York City private investigator, two different book authors, and a documentary on the History Channel.

Lyle is absolutely convinced that his brother is DB Cooper, but has only circumstantial evidence, such as Kenny’s inexplictable ability to buy a house for cash in Bonney Lake, WA shortly after the skyjacking.

Picture provided by Lyle Christiansen:








William Gossett

Several years ago during a Coast-to-Coast radio interview, two sons of former Marine and Army paratrooper, William Wolfgang Gossett, declared that their father had confessed to being DB Cooper.  These declarations solidified the findings of long-time Cooper sleuth Galen Cook, who also discovered other individuals that had received Mr. Gossett’s confession.  Since then, Galen has been diligently exploring all facets of the case seeking to find corroborating evidence.

Gossett had all of the salient chacteristsics of DB Cooper:  he was 41 years old in 1971; had brown eyes and was 5’10” and 186 pounds; and he was a smoker.   In addition, he had a medium complexion, spoke with no discernible accent, and was trained as a reconbaissance paratrooper with the Marine Force Fleet.

He was also a quirky guy.  After his military service he was a talk radio host in Portland and specialized in paranormal activities.  He apparently discussed the DB Cooper case, and according to his radio side-kick, Gossett’s business card is posted somewhere on the rafters at the Ariel Tavern!  He was also an ROTC instructor in Utah, and even became a priest in an off-shoot version of Catholicism.

Picture of Mr. Gossett is provided courtesy of Galen Cook, and it is the property of the Gossett family.

William Gossett

Sheridan Peterson

By his own admission, Sheridan Peterson has been investigated twice by the FBI in connection to the DB Cooper case, and the reasons are obvious: on paper “Dan” is the ideal suspect.

His identity is being partially obscurred since he says he is not DB Cooper and has not been charged in the crime.

Dan, as he is known to some of his associates, lives in northern California, had been a smokejumper during the 1950s, and was a founding member of the Boeing Employees Skydiving Club, where he worked as a technical editor during the 1960s.  In this latter position, it is believed that Dan gained vital knowledge about the capabilities of the 727 as a skydiving platform.

Also at this time, Sheridan parachuted during a Boeing promotional exercise while wearing a business suit and toting a fifty-pound sack of white flour strapped to his legs, which streamed behind him during his free-fall – all qualities that DB Cooper displayed on the night of November 24, 1971.

Further, Dan has the physical characteristics of Cooper – he’s tall and trim, and by most accounts he carries a grudge.  In fact, Sheridan has told me that he was “invited” to leave Vietnam by the US Ambassador due to his strident advocacy for the south Vietnamese villagers under his care as a refugee advisor.

In addition, Dan’s alibi is wild – he says he was raising two small children in a mud hut in Nepal and writing his accounts of American atrocities in Vietnam when Cooper hijacked Flight 305.

Sherdian’s subsequent travels are also a marvel.  According to his own published accounts on the Internet, Sheridan lived in Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Papua New Guinea, Japan and the Philippines.  The last FBI agent to interview him, Mary Jane Fryar, told me that Dan was the “most fascicnating” suspect she had ever interviewed during her FBI career.

However, all that I know about Sheridan as a DB Cooper suspect comes from his own writings, as he has been a journalist and has published several articles on the Internet about his entanglements with the FBI regarding Cooper.

Because Sheridan is a semi-public figure as per his writing on the Internet, I have also posted his yearbook photo as found there.


Don Burnworth

Former United Airlines captain, Don Burnworth, may be the only DB Cooper suspect to actually have served time in jail.  Don spent a week in the San Mateo County hoosgow in 1972 for refusing to disclose the whereabouts of his three daughters to a family court judge during a contentious custody dispute.

As he is still alive but not charged in the crime, his identity has been partially obscurred to protect his privacy.

At the time of his arrest in the marital dispute, Burnworth was interviewed by the FBI regarding the still-fresh DB Cooper case.  Burnworth also claims that the Bureau placed a “ringer” in his jail cell to see if he would spill the beans about the hijacking.  In addition, United fired him due to unsavory public relations.

Burnworth says that his ex-wife instigated all of these troubles, and he was he cleared by the FBI in conjunction with the skyjacking.  In addition, United later re-instated Burnworth, but only after a lengthy legal battle.

Although cleared of all complicity in the DB Cooper incident, his photograph is widely considered to be one of the most similar to Composite “B.”


Ted Braden

One of the most intriguing aspects of the resurgent investigation of DB Cooper in recent years is the information provided by commandos from Vietnam, now that their covert activities have been de-classified.

Plenty of troopers from the Special Operations Group of the Materials Assistance Command-Vietnam are talking to journalists and writing their own accounts of the illegal wars fought in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam during the larger conflict in South Vietnam from 1962-1975.

Two topics come blaring forward.  First, the DB Cooper skyjacking has all the hallmarks of a SOG operation in terms of the planning, equipment and execution.   Secondly, two leading commanders of SOG units, SgtM Billy Waugh and Major John Plaster say that within their ranks a rogue SOG trooper by the name of Ted Braden is widely thought to be DB Cooper.

Braden’s military career is filled with mystery and intrigue, including the assertions by some in his command that he was a professional intimate of General John Singlaub, one of the founders of the CIA and a leading figure in the Iran-Contra affair during the 1980s.  Further, after Braden went AWOL in Vietnam in 1966 and was caught by the CIA trying to join the commando forces in the Congo civil war, he was incarcerated at Fort Dix, NJ.  According to the officer responsible for inmates at Dix, Braden was later released by the personal intercession of the Army Chief of Staff, General Harold Johnson.

Braden’s whereabouts afterward are still hotly debated.

This picture is from Ramparts magazine, in an article they published about Sgt Braden’s exploits in Africa.  Sadly, Ramparts ceased publication in 1975.


LD Cooper

Lynn Doyle Cooper is the latest individual suspected of the DB Cooper skyjacking, due to the allegations brought forward by his niece, Marla Wynn Cooper in 2009.

Marla says that when she was eight years-old in 1971, she witnessed a traumatic family incident at her grandmother’s house near Sisters, Oregon.  She claims that early on Thanksgiving morning, her uncles LD (Lynn Doyle) and Dewey arrived at the house and that Uncle LD was bloody and unable to get out of the car.  She says a hub-bub ensued and she heard something about the two brothers hijacking an airplane and that “their money troubles were over.”

In addition, she says that she was told that Uncle LD suffered his injuries during the parachuting getaway.

However, Marla claims her memories stayed murky for 30+ years until a few heart-to-heart conversations with her father and mother in recent years re-kindled her recall of those events.

Subsequently, Marla has been on a quest to present evidence to the FBI, and she claims the Bureau has told her that her Uncle LD is DB Cooper.  However, the FBI has not confirmed that conclusion in the slightest.

Nevertheless, Ayn Dietrich, the Bureau’s Seattle office public information officer, did tell a British journalist that LD is the “most promising” lead the FBI has had in the case.

Further, the Mountain News is waiting for a series of clear pictures of LD Cooper from Marla.  In the meantime, here is the picture of LD Cooper provided to media by Marla that is a picture of a Polaroid shot taken in 1972.  It has been slightly re-formated by a Cooper researcher named Georger to take away some of the elongation seen in the original print.   The picture is believed to have been taken at Christmas, 1972, after which Marla never saw her uncle again.


Composite Sketches

There is much variance in the sketches of DB Cooper produced by the FBI.  The first one, known as composite A, was done in the days immediately following the skyjacking, and is commonly known as the “Bing Crosby” sketch.

The FBI’s Composite A sketch.

Composite “A,,” (left); Composite “B,” (right).

However, disagreements erupted among eye-witnesses and a few months later another composite was developed, known as Composite B.

Still, disagreements continued and a third sketch was commissioned in the early 1980s by a media organization utilizing the recollections of one of the flight attendants.

An third sketch prodcued indepenedently of the FBI in the 1980s. From “Sluggo’s” renown web site on DB Cooper.

Subsequently, other artists have endeavored to blend the initial composites into a more comprehensive drawing.

“Josh’s” comprehensive blend of composites A, B, and C. From “Sluggo’s” DB Cooper website.

Further, some investigators have attempted to age-advance the composites to reveal what DB Cooper may have looked liked in later years, if he survived, which is unknown.  Below, is such an age-regressed comparison prepared by Jo Weber and found on “Sluggo’s” website, at .

Comparison of an “age-regressed sketch, (left), with a pix of Duane Weber, (center), and the composite B sketch, (right).

Perhaps one of the most intriguing new developments in the Cooper case is the information brought forward by Geoffrey Gray in his 2011 book on Cooper, titeld, Skyjack – The Hunt for DB Cooper.  In Skyjack, Geoffrey reveals that one of the passengers aboard Flight 305 claims that Cooper had wavy, “marcelled” hair and wore a “russet” sports jacket, which is similar to maroon in color.  The following picture of this “revisionist” view of Cooper was developed by Geoffrey and used as a poster at the 2011 DB Cooper Symposium in Portland, Oregon.

©  2012  Mountain News-WA


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137 Responses to Suspects in the DB Cooper skyjacking – sketches, pictures and comparisons

  1. David J Johnson says:

    Hi Bruce,

    Trust you are well and greetings from Portland, UK.

    The various FBI and other sketches are so different, that one could almost choose anyone (hopefully not me) from them, also some of the pics are blurred and not in focus. Frankly, I think that most drawings/pics are of little use.

    Having said all that the pic of Gossett looks the most like “Composite B”. But where is the hard evidence against him?

    Best regards,


  2. Jerome says:

    no question that Gossett is the suspect with the “closest fit” profile. It certainly doesn’t mean that Gossett was DB Cooper. but none of the other suspects even come close. Wasn’t there a site on the internet that allowed people to vote which suspect looked closest to Cooper? Gossett won hands down on that poll. it is stunning how close Gossett and Composite B appear.

    • D Cooper says:

      contact me…..if you’re serious, this time…

    • Prysylla says:

      His nose is too large – thats the first thing I would have commented on. Composites dont have a perp with too large of a nose.

    • Truth only says:

      Lynne cooper without a doubt lived near a trailer park called comer hill in Northern B.C. in 1979 and apparently moved to whitehorse Yukon Territories around the same time.I know because I met him and a friend of mine actually saw the ransom money stuffed in a mattress in a house near comer hill . maybe Dan cooper of Whitehorse Y.T. can tell you more .The truth is out there.

  3. Bob Sailshaw says:

    Hi Bruce: You left out that Sheridan X had a very “Olive Complexion” that none of the others had and it was not a sun tan as some hah. He was also 6ft 1in and met all the descriptions of DB Cooper. The DNA under the stamps/envelope flaps of the four letters sent to the newspapers within 10 days after the DB Caper will show the FBI that Sheridan was at the scene of the crime and not in Nepal.
    Bob Sailshaw

  4. Gilbert otto says:

    Long live DB Cooper whoever and wherever he is

  5. Gary Derowitsch says:

    I have been researching the Cooper mystery for ten years now. The one piece of evidence that no one even considered is the mathematical computations of time of take off from Seatac, elevation of the 727 along with air speed and the time of jump as testified by pilot scott. I super imposed a vector flight map flown by the piolts over a regular map and traced the path of the jet. I calculated the miles the plane flew from the time of take off to the time of DB’s jump. My calculations emphatically shows DB jumping at a location no one has checked out. I prefer to keep this secrete due to it being an open case. I’m sure after reading this others will come to the same conclusion. Numbers just don’t lie. I’ve been investigating the location and believe the parachute is hidden somewhere in this drop zone.
    Gary Derowitsch

    • Jason C. says:

      I’m certain the FBI and pilots have already done what you’ve done. The difference is that they aren’t trying to pretend they have something while you are. There isn’t any reason at all why you would keep such information to yourself. No logical, honest reason, anyway. A parachute buried after all these decades would be nearly un-identiafiable as a parachute. If not entirely gone. Your desire to sound as if you hold the keys to the kingdom is odd.

    • newworld3000 says:

      The incident was 50 years ago (almost). Whoever Dan-D.B. was, he’s deceased now, almost certainly. Don’t forget about Mt. St. Helens. Your drop zone might be within the zone of destruction from the eruption in 1980.

      As far as it being an open case is concerned, it’s not. If D.B. was found alive, he would not be prosecuted anyway. No one else except D.B. himself could possibly be prosecuted because of statute of limitations issues. If a prosecution of D.B. was attempted, the pre-trial litigation itself could go on for years, and during time, it is likely that he would either die or lose his faculties.

      Maybe it’s only me, but I don’t think much of people who say they know some earth-shaking and then sit on it. It calls their credibility into question. If I found out or concluded something that I thought was earth-shakling, I would get it out immediately. What’s the point of sitting on it?

      In all likelihood, the location you are thinking of has already been postualted. Numerous areas already have been searched, some by authorities, some by volunteers. Every area around there has had people who have gone through it for unrelated reasons.

      Listen, if you want the glory of being the one who finds D.B.’s parachute, it’s okay to say so. Just don’t snow us about this “open case” stuff. Even if you found the parachute, it would still be an “open” case by your apparent definition of the term.

      What;s your theory about the money find anyway?

  6. Bob Sailshaw says:

    Bruce: I have come across a photo from the Boeing News (once a week published on Thursdays) of Sheridan Peterson demonstrating how to skydive for an article in the paper as advertizement for the Boeing Skydiving Club which he started and was President in the mid 60’s and just prior to the Norjak caper. MeyerLouis found an execellent resemblance between the photo and the enlarged sketch on the wall at the Tacoma History Museum and Cooper display. The hair line, high forehead. hair part, eyebrows, long thin nose. and thin face and jaw are all very good matches.Sheridan was wearing the suit, tie, and loafers just like he did for a demo jump prior to the same cloths for the Norjak jump. Can’t seem to post the photo but it is posted in the DropZone.

  7. Gary Derowitsch says:

    I think I have found the location of the suit case with the bomb. I’ve put together several clues and my own investigation and plan to search the area I am certain is the location DB landed. Jo Webber agrees.

  8. Ernst Lubitsch says:

    Did he also kill Kennedy btw ?

  9. Chuck D says:

    Kenny Christianson is probably db cooper. The mountain of circumstantial evidence makes him a 95 % chance in my book. As for looking the part, the flight attendant who served him said in 2007 that his picture maches closest after his brother exposed him as possible suspect. He was broke before hijackings after buying houses in cash afterwards. He left his brother close to $200, 000 when he died, almost as if he wanted him to know. But the real kicker is Bernie Geestman. Look that up!

    • brucesmith49 says:

      The current research on Kenny Christiansen refutes your claims, especially about the money. See the DB Cooper forum for details, and photographic evidence that KC had mortgages, etc. Or my book.

      The claim by the flight attendant that the picture of KC was the closest, etc. has not been confirmed. Florence Shaffner refuses to talk to any researchers after allegedly making that claim, which was announced by Geoffrey Gray. Later, GG told me that he didn’t think that KC was DB Cooper. Yes, GG has later refuted that claim as well, and now publicly lists KC as a suspect, along with Duane Weber and LD Cooper.

      I’m not sure what you mean when you say Bernie Geestman is the “kicker.” Bernie sure appears to me to be a slimeball, and the behavior of the Brad Meltzer team letting him off the hook regarding his deceptions in their docu was inexcusable.

      As for the truth of Kenny, I think a lot could be found in Tokyo. I don’t think he made his money by stealing airplanes. I suspect other pursuits were more likely.

      Bruce A. Smith
      Mountain News-WA
      Author: DB Cooper and the FBI – A Case Study of America’s Only Unsolved Skyjacking

      • Jason C. says:

        Bernie Geestman was indeed suspicious in that interview. He was looking mighty nervous. I”m not sure why, though. He’s nearly dead and my only guess is that he fears being called a criminal. Back in his lifetime, being called a criminal meant ugly things. In today’s world. the stupid kids actually look up to criminal acts. Or maybe he just fears prison that somehow they might throw at him. The crew called him a “retired engineer” but he sure didn’t come across nor look the part of a retired “engineer.”

    • Jason C. says:

      The FBI ruled Christianson out a a suspect but did so with a totally bogus thought process. They claimed he was overqualified, essentially, because he was a trained paratrooper. That kind of “profiling” is guesswork and they’ve just excluded a solid suspect for no reason other than believing in their magic hocus-pocus.

      One flight attendant said the hijacker looked “latin” (Hispanic). Look at Christianson in a close up photo. Olive skin color. She said he was calm but firm. A persona characteristic of someone who takes pressure. Christianson graduated paratrooper school when more than half his class had washed out. Christianson had inside knowledge of the planes and the company. He lived in the drop zone region. He had money troubles. The FBI said he was too small in stature… basing that statement entirely on eye witnesses testimony which is notoriously inaccurate. And, despite the FBI claiming the hijacker died in the act, a documentary interviewed a former military paratrooper turned civilian parachute instructor who said emphatically that “people pay extra money today to jump the DB Cooper jump off that specific aircraft which is still in use privately.”

      • brucesmith49 says:

        I’ve never heard an FBI official claim Kenneth Christiansen was “overqualified.” When and where did you receive this information, Jason?

      • Jason C. says:

        I said the FBI essentially said Christianson was overqualified due to his experience as a paratrooper. They didn’t use that word (overqualified) in the documentaries. They ESSENTIALLY said that because their opinion was the suspect didn’t have expert skydiving skills.

        I think they also mentioned that he missed the fact that one chute was a training unit and sewn shut. That a qualified skydiver would have spotted that. However, not everything in this world goes according to plan. Cooper might have missed that not because of being inexperienced but simply because he had lots on his mind due to the nature of what he was doing and the knowledge that he could end up being in prison for life. Experienced, overqualified people do make mistakes. Look at medical surgeons.

        All in all, the suspect list was a pretty good one. Each suspect had strong circumstantial evidence against him.

      • Prysylla says:

        They would also have to jump at night in the midst of a storm. Just saying

      • Anonymous says:

        What if Dan Cooper knew parachuting and picked the oldest model because he was most familiar with that one. Then picked the dud/dummy parachute as his backup because he recognized it for what it was and knew that would throw people off his trail.

        That dud/dummy parachute was used + marked for training, no handle and sewn shut.

      • brucesmith49 says:

        So, the FBI gave DBC a dummy chute that was marked as such? You know this how? Please tell us.

    • newworld3000 says:

      Any postulation has to conform to all know facts or it is seriously in question. The known facts show that Cooper did not know how to operate the rear stair in the civilian airliner configuration of the plane. Kenneth Christiansen worked an airline as part of the passenger cabin crew. He would have known how to operated the rear stairs. Sorry about that. Nothing has happened since 2015 to change the picture.

  10. But Bruce…you are not in possession of the latest information on Kenny Christiansen. There is the August 2015 video on him at YouTube. There is the confidential report on he and Geestman that went to the FBI. Mortgage on the house? Only for half. The other half was a promissory note from Ann and Joe Grimes that no one can seem to locate today. It is listed with the mortgage papers. When I asked the son of Joe Grimes whether his dad would accept a promissory note on half the house…he told me no way his dad would wait long to get his money. What we think happened is that Kenny wrote them a note for half (which disappeared) and then assumed the balance from the SeaFirst mortgage. Plus that ‘ten dollars and other considerations’ clause in the contract. Bernie Geestman, who was Best Man at the Grimes’ wedding, probably fronted up for Kenny with Mr Grimes.

  11. We believe that Kenny paid off the alleged promissory note for half the balance on the house within a very short time. Geestman was interviewed for three hours. The Decoded show got less than five minutes of film they could actually use. This is not the fault of Decoded, but Bernie’s BS. What BS? Like when he says on the show he was at Kenny’s deathbed. Not true. He only called on the phone and hadn’t spoken to Kenny in years. Or when he tossed Kenny under the bus by saying, “Yes, he looks just like him….” (the sketch) when the cast asked him if Kenny could be Cooper. Problem is, four different witnesses have testified that Kenny and Bernie were TOGETHER the entire week the hijacking occurred. We think Bernie called Kenny at the house a few days before Kenny died because he was checking to see if Kenny was planning on a last-minute confession. Kenny’s ‘There is something you should know, but I can’t tell you…’ to his brothers Lyle and Oliver point strongly to that possibility.

  12. brucesmith49 says:

    Editor’s Note: Jason C’s comments to other comments above has been re-posted below due to an editing glitch.

    Jason C. says:
    May 12, 2016 at 4:50 am (Edit)

    I said the FBI essentially said Christianson was overqualified due to his experience as a paratrooper. They didn’t use that word (overqualified) in the documentaries. They ESSENTIALLY said that because their opinion was the suspect didn’t have expert skydiving skills.

    I think they also mentioned that he missed the fact that one chute was a training unit and sewn shut. That a qualified skydiver would have spotted that. However, not everything in this world goes according to plan. Cooper might have missed that not because of being inexperienced but simply because he had lots on his mind due to the nature of what he was doing and the knowledge that he could end up being in prison for life. Experienced, overqualified people do make mistakes. Look at medical surgeons.

    All in all, the suspect list was a pretty good one. Each suspect had strong circumstantial evidence against him.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Jason, your understanding of the FBI and the parachute issue is mostly correct. However, recent investigations by a number of journalists and Cooper researchers have been shown the FBI’s facts and interpretations to be incorrect, false, or misleading, such as all the canard supplied by Earl Cossey during his 40-year association with the Bureau’s Norjak investigation. All of these dynamics are discussed at length in my book, at the DB Cooper Forum, and elsewhere at the Mountain News-WA. I invite you to take a look. In the meantime, the most compelling assessment of Kenny Christiansen still resides with former case-agent Larry Carr, who said that KC’s only qualification to be DB Cooper was that “he was male.”

    • newworld3000 says:

      One thing about the suspect list is this. Whether you say there are four strong suspects, or six strong suspect, or what your number is, remember one thing,

      Only one of them, at the most, might be Cooper. That means, all but one have to be not Cooper, and just as easily then all could be not Cooper.

      Myself, after a few years of being on the case, I am beginning to accept the idea that maybe he did not surive the jump, that he either died on landing or was injured and died on the ground.

      I also believe the higher ups in the government quickly figured out who he was, and they decided they did not want his identify and backstory known. Among the possibilities are that he was involved in illegal special ops, or even that he was involved in some way in the events surrounding the Kennedy assassination.

      Another thing I have thought of recently is that perhaps he was son of a prominent and powerful man, maybe a a general or admiral, a corporate head or the holder of high office. Remember one thing, Cooper was born during the era of the 1920’s, or the early 1930’s at the latest. Back then, men often got married and fathered their children at a very young age even in the upper classes and the educated class. In 1971, his father might have been only in his early- to mid- 60’s and still well known, even still active if he was an officeholder.

      The FBI field might not know his identity though.

      Yet another thing I believe is that the place to look for him is before the event, not after, although I understand, people have made attempts. His life after the event might be only an interesting true crime story, The thought of someone traveling perpetually around the American West staying motels and eating truck driver breakfasts fascinates, and it might be what some of us would do if we came into a great windfall.

      But the importance of Cooper, if he has any, lies in who he was before the event and in his motive. Obviously, he was a man who desperately wanted out of his former life. The issue is what that former life was and why he wanted out.

      • Gary Derowitsch says:

        I believe you are close in your thinking. I do believe DB made it safely to the ground after which the CIA, who planned the entire event, picked him up and flew him out of the area in a small plane. Why would the CIA do this? It was during that time that Commercial Flights were being hi-jacked to Cuba. Airlines didn’t want tight security at the Airports because they felt it would be bad for business. What better way to get them on board then to have one of their planes successfully hi-jacked with a bounty of $200,000 dollars, and not be caught? Did the FBI know about this plan? I doubt it, which is why they were so frustrated at not being able to solve the case, the only one in US history. Also, it was reported by towns folk that a small plane was seen flying around the area before the hi-jack, and even landing at a small runway and taking off several times. For going along with the CIA plan, DB was allowed to keep the money for his part. As far as some of the money being found on the banks of the Columbia River… That was also just part of the plan to throw people off what really happened. The money was laundered at Casinos, a few years after the event, and repeatedly done so over time. If you worked at a Casino and it had been two years or more after the event, I don’t think you would be checking serial numbers. I believe DB is now passed away with the protection of the CIA to never allow his identity be known. If he died from the jump, how in the world did over $6000.00 dollars end up on the banks of the Columbia River? Let me know your thoughts.
        Gary D

  13. brucesmith49 says:

    To All Kenny Christiansen Lovers:

    Ahoy! There is a major piece of the KC story still missing. Kenny flew routes to Asia exclusively during his career with Northwest Orient. Tina Mucklow reports the same in an interview she gave to the Eugene Weekly in 2012. So, did the woman held hostage for five hours by DB Cooper ever meet her erstwhile hijacker while flying to Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Manila?

    • Gary says:

      I am not trying to keep secrete my location for the area DB landed. It is It is further North up I5 about five to ten miles. After much research William Gossett resembles the sketch better than anyone mentioned. I believe he was set up by the CIA and after jumping was picked up by them and driven away. I don’t believe the FBI was included in the exercise. I believe Tina Mucklow was in on the hijacking. She immediately took over being the one who talked to DB on the plane even though Florence Schaffner was the first to confront him. Also, after the hijacking she refused to give an interview and became a nun at a convent. Sounds like she was afraid for her life, and possibly joined the convent to ease her conscience. One thing about the hijacking that always bothered me was that it was the only one in the United States that wasn’t solved. I also believe there is a chance he never jumped and it was all staged. Anyway this is my theory.

      • brucesmith49 says:

        Gary, you have lots of opinions and theories, and you publicly accuse Tina Mucklow of being a co-conspirator in an act of sky piracy. Can you back it up? Or is your opinion simply that she is a criminal because she intervened when Florence left the scene? Along those lines, do you think Florence committed a crime by abandoning Tina to spend the next three hours alone with a predator threatening to kill her and 36 passengers and the other five crew members?

        Plus you say that you have conducted “much research.” So, what did you think of my book? Was it part of your research? If not, why not?

      • Prysylla says:

        It is an interesting theory that he never jumped at all, hid in the restroom with the money and a few parachutes, and with the help of a FA managed to change clothes and disappear in the ruckus.

      • wwublee says:

        That’s a great theory

      • newworld3000 says:

        When you have a situation come up, you never know who is going to be the one who rises to the occasion. People who have been in combat will tell you, sometimes who it is surprises you. You forget, maybe Tina Mucklow was young but in war you have people younger than her on the front lines. Some of them have little experience and time in grade, but still come to forefront. In this situation, it was Tina who was the one. Florence Schaffner was (for want of a better word) freaked out. So was Captain Scott. The co-pilot Bill Rataczak had to take over control of the plane. Eventually, Scott got his nerves back.

        The idea that he never jumped has been considered. There was a maintenance area that could be accessed through a panel in the floor. But keep in mind, Cooper’s knowledge of the plane was very specific. He knew exactly what someone involved in special ops would know, and no more.

        All of the circumstantial evidence says he jumped. Tina saw him put a parachute on. There was a bump that was duplicated by pushing a 200-lb sled down the rear stairs. One back chute and one front chute were missing. He wasn’t on the plane. The money wasn’t on the plane. The additional bag he carried on the plane with him was gone. No one knows what was in it.

  14. verserockswell says: I know I’m late on the board but how come all you self proclaimed super sleuthing geniuses don’t know who Richard Floyd McCoy is or the fact that almost every military paratrooper and pilot in the suspected age range fits the description and capabilities??? Maybe it’s not a false flag conspiracy…. perhaps it wasn’t an inside job…. sometimes good people go bad and the romanticized old west outlaw comes out. took the feds 45 years to give up chasing a suspected white man for stealing 200k- 2 weeks and they gave up on who killed Chris notorious b.i.g. Wallace (Whole other topic) the power(s) that be dictate while we speculate. I myself have been a bank robber (convicted ) train/bus hijacker (no trials) and overall armed robbery specialist (court cases and FBI #s to prove) and this can only be either a crime of opportunity or staged effort to force a change or shift in policy, ideology or procedure… a la 9/11- for this to be the former, an individual or group of individuals wouldn’t have to believe the gain far outweighs the risk – they would have to simply believe this was the best chance of anonymous escape and/or offered an easier course of action towards completion -a race bike rider would most likely use that training to elude law enforcement, such the case with paratroopers using acquired skills to escape. Get out and make some change happen. Be the progress we need.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Greetings Verse,

      I encourage you to read my book, DB Cooper and the FBI. It contains a full chapter on Richard McCoy. I think you might also be pleaed to read what I write about on the subject of pursuing true criminal justice

      – BAS

  15. Sue lyons says:

    We knew Wolfgang Gossett in Depoe Bay , in fact he had dinner at our house on several occasions. He died having never repaid us the $2000 he borrowed ) said he ‘needed desperately” to pay rent because his army pension was held up), but in fact went to the casino with. I guess not everyone can say they were scammed by D B Cooper!
    Still, we liked him and he certainly had stories to tell!

  16. Galen Cook says:

    Sue: Stand in line to collect your loan. Gossett did this to dozens. btw, why is it that Gossett is the ONLY suspect not dismissed by the FBI? Larry Carr contacted Gossett’s youngest son in 2009 to talk about Gossett. Young Gossett asked Carr if the fingerprints of the elder Gossett submitted by me (Cook) matched the alleged fingerprints left by D.B. Cooper on the in-flight magazine? Carr’s reply was, “well even if they did match, it still doesn’t mean that Gossett was on the plane on 11/24/71.” That’s all Carr would say. Interesting reply from a case agent who wants to crack the case.

  17. Jerry says:

    It’s Bob Rackstraw. My dad knew Rackstraw while at Fort Rucker, says the sketch and skills needed could only be Rackstraw. Swears up and down Rackstraw dressed in a dark suit and tie all the time and would tell people he was C.I.A.

  18. Jim Davis says:

    The FBI should check out a person named Olin Crandall Wilkinson. A parachute rigger in the navy who was a dead ringer for D.B. Cooper and once boasted to me that he was going to hijack an eaircraft when we were stationed at the Pt. Mugu Naval Air Facility in 1966.

  19. Todd says:

    Don’t believe any D. Cooper ever existed. This was an ingenious plan that the two pilots and their girlfriends (2 flight attendants) came up with. This is why they requested 4 parachutes! They had the cash and parachutes delivered to the plane and were planning to bail out and flee to Mexico but got cold feet and couldn’t live with ditching the other unsuspecting people on board. HOWEVER, they did know EXACTLY where they dropped the money so they could later retrieve it!

    • newworld3000 says:

      A this is too complicated. It is a serious “Mission Impossible” scenario and how cold it be successfully carried out by people no special ops experience, including two naive young stewardesses (that was their job title at the time).

      Then look at the risk-reward. Start dividing up the money at least four ways, and it is not enough for people to risk their careers and a long prison sentence over.

      The suggested scenario is this: A confederate in the plot boarded the plane with a ticket and by some means slipped an extra boarding pass into the stack being held by the stewardess. He changed clothes from his Dan Cooper outfit to a Northwest guy outfit and left the plane. Co-pilot Radaczak went into the restroom and put on the Cooper oufit. After the plane took off, Radaczak changed back into his pilot uniform. In this scenario, no one ever jumped out of the plane, but there was one more boarding pass than there were people who got off in Seattle. The money then was divided up between the man who boarded as Dan Cooper and the four members of the flight crew, Tina Mucklow and the pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer.

      That’s five shares or $40,000 each. Not enough to justify the risk. Nothing is impossible, but this idea has no plausibility. Not when you look at what had to be done to carry ut out.

  20. Nadia says:

    Gary is being unreasonable. Thinking he’s got everything figured out but he can’t even spell secret right.

    • DG says:

      James E. Klansnic was Dan Cooper. He worked at Boeing for 37 years as an engineer and manager. Klansnic was a B-17 pilot in WW2 and was shot down over Austria in 1944 and held POW for 13 months. He wrote a article in 1964 about the hydraulics and pneumatics of the 727, in which he talks about the aft stairs and flaps. The picture with the article, Klansnic is wearing a black clip on tie, kneeled down under the 727. In Klansnics obituary, he makes sure to mention that when he was shot down that was his one and only parachute ride. Also the obituary starts with let’s raise a martini on the rocks, one Olive to the life of James e Klansnic. I contacted his family and they were nice and talkative until I mentioned Cooper and I haven’t heard from any of them since. I filed a report with the Portland and Seattle FBI offices and they said they would pass it along so you know how that goes. One good thing about being from Alabama is that my districts Senator was none other than the Attorney General of the United States, and another Senators office emailed back that they will have people look into Klansnic and if any thing comes of it they will be in touch. Hopefully they won’t discuss it with Vladimir lol. Klansnic has lots of children in the Bellevue and Seattle area that the FBI may could match some of that partial DNA with or maybe they know something by the way they have been acting. One of Klansnics sons is Paul which was the principal in Portland who wrongfully fired after he came out and said he was gay. Jimmy jet Klansnic has avoided me everyday. I’ve Called his work, his snowshoe club, I mean I would be happy if he just picked up and cussed me out and told me to buzz off. Something is fishy.

      • brucesmith49 says:

        DG, A more reasonable perspective is to declare that you THINK Mr. Klansic was DB Cooper. You haven’t proved enough to accuse a private citizen of a major crime. To do so is irresponsible, and the Mountain News-WA will not accept your statement. However, I am allowing it this one time now because I think you have acted in innocence and ignorance, not malice. Hence, we excuse you. However, I strongly suggest you modify your comments and apologize to the Klansic family here for any undue distress you may have caused them. They are entitled to privacy and James E. is entitled to be treated as innocent until proven guilty.

      • newworld3000 says:

        Remember, DG, if and when you see this. Many suspects have been proposed and compelling sounding case have presented. But only one at the most can possibly be Cooper, and all the rest have to be not Cooper. If all but one has to be not Cooper, then just as easily, all could be not Cooper.

        Certain profile points have to be satisfied. Knowledge of the airplane including insertion flight protocols (your suspect presumably had that). But also, his use of language, including his sometimes odd idioms. Smoking habit. Even his color or complexion. You can’t just satisfy one point, or even two, and say you have a suspect. Myself, I think there are a lot subtle personality profile points which could tells us a lot. I don’t have to background to work on them. The social context of the era might also be not understood even by a trained profiler today. Something that might mean one thing today could have meant something different back then For example, that he addressed the flight attendants as “Miss”.

  21. Ron Harris says:

    I have been able to connect rackstraw to Klansic they worked together on Norjack.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      So, what’s the connection?

      • Derek says:

        I’m aweful at grammar and from Alabama but it’s spelled Klansnic lol. Mrs Ayn Williams was very interested and so was his best friend John Shorkey. I guess we will find out within the next few weeks. I used all of you guys decriptions over the years of who yal thought Cooper could have been in real life to find the perfect Suspect, and now you guys reject him because an outsider found him. I know I’m a nobody from nowhere but that won’t matter to FBI if certain things line up within the next few days. If I’m wrong I will definitely apologize to the family of Mr Klansnic, as I already have apologized to Rackstraw and thanked him for the things he did for us in Vietnam. Thanks Bruce for allowing me to post on here.

      • brucesmith49 says:

        I think you need to apologize to the Klansic family now, even if you decide to continue in a private, non-public manner, your investigation of him as DB Cooper. He and his family are entitled to privacy, dignity, and a respect for their reputation. The Mountain News-WA is NOT your forum to tarnish or impune the rights of others. If you continue to publicly declare Klansic is DB Cooper, your comments will be scrubbed from the column. However, we will continue to allow you to post update on your findings.

      • Derek says:

        I have reached out to his family numerous times and they have ignored me every time. I filed a report with the FBI in Seattle and thy were astonished when I emailed the picture to Mrs. Williams. I even emailed it to you Bruce. Read his article in the hydraulics and pneumatics issue 1964 about the Boeing 727. I’ve did my homework, until his sons Jimmy Jet or Mike give a DNA sample clearing James I will keep writing my letters and posting my findings on Twitter. I told Klansnics grandson Tyler that Coopers was the smartest coolest cat I’ve ever seen, it wasn’t a bad thing if his grandfather was Cooper, plus he’s already dead and would go down as a bigger legend than he already was. Mr Klansnic was a very generous man and genius by all accounts I’ve read about him. Also to survive 13 months in a nazi prison camp that’s some “Rambo” stuff right there. Check that picture I sent you Bruce, it’s a heck of a coincidence. He’s even wearing a black clip on tie working underneath a Boeing 727. More pictures and findings of Klansnic can be found on @DBCooper1971JDG on Twitter

      • Ron Harris says:

        He was his uncle Ed Coopers best friend!

  22. Pingback: The Infamous D.B. Cooper | Part Time P.I.

  23. brucesmith49 says:

    Borderline posting, re: proper journalistic conduct, Derek. Your investigative findings have some merit, but so far your evidence is highly speculative. But you do steer away from directly calling Mr. Klansnic a criminal, so I am allowing your post. By the way, other suspects have patents on 727 devices, ie: Don Burnworth.

    Please note how I write about the late Captain Don Burnworth: I NEVER say he is DB Cooper, but I do say what is true about him: that he was a top suspect, investigated at length by the FBI, incarcerated in connection to Norjak, held in disrepute by United Airlines and fired, re-instated after a legal and union battle, and widely acclaimed as a top-notch pilot. His 1972 mug shot at San Mateo County jail is the closest resemblance to Composite B that I have ever seen – far more detailed and similar than the pix you have sent me and others, imho.

    • Derek says:

      Yes Don was a very good suspect. Was he the one that was kin to President Lincoln? Whoever Cooper was he was the Crim Dela Crim of criminals lol

    • Derek says:

      Klansnics photo was way better than Dons. For one Klansnic is underneath a 727 wearing a black clip on tie. Next he even has the same hair as Cooper and the same forehead lines. Also the FBI ruled Don out, they had never heard of Klansnic. Hiding in (plane) site lol

  24. Ray says:

    db cooper is Richard McCoy Jr.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Why do you say that?

      • Ray says:

        Richard McCoy,Jr. participated in the exact same crime a couple months after DB Cooper. Composite sketches of DB Cooper look similar to Richard McCoy, Jr. Some of the money found from the DB Cooper hijack was found meaning that Richard McCoy, Jr. didn’t get enough money in the first hijacking, so he hijacked another plane to get more money ($500,000). After Richard McCoy, Jr. was arrested and killed these type of hijacks stopped completely. Richard McCoy, Jr. was in the National Guard and even practiced parachuting from airplanes in his spare time. Too many coincidences; DB Cooper and Richard McCoy, Jr. were one and the same.

  25. Ray says:

    I rewatched a two part FBI Files episode. The FBI considered Richard McCoy, Jr. a very likely suspect in the DB Cooper hijacking. Had Richard McCoy not been shot by the FBI he may have eventually talked about being DB Cooper.

    • Ralph says:

      McCoy made too many mistakes. Don’t insult DB Cooper by associating him with McCoy

      • brucesmith49 says:

        Yes, the blunders that McCoy made are striking, especially not having an end-game nor a place to stash the money. By contrast, DB Cooper’s skills are readily apparent.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      What do you think of my speculation that McCoy was part of the Cooper hijacking as a getaway man? Details are in my book and elsewhere at the MN. (DB Cooper and the FBI – A Case Study of America’s Only Unsolved Skyjacking).

      To wit: McCoy was not at home with family during the time of the Cooper skyjacking, and he was most likely at McCarran airport in Vegas. Plus, he had at least $6,000 in accounted for, and disposable income, shortly after the Cooper hijacking.

      As for being Cooper: how do you explain the physical discrepancies – 29 vs “mid-40s,” height, 5’8″ vs 6-foot, big ears, blue eyes vs brown.

      Yes, many in the FBI considered McCoy to be Cooper, such as Russ Calame, the SAC at Salt Lake City and the man who collared McCoy for his United heist.

      Yes, the Cooper copycats stopped stealing airplanes by late 1972 when McCoy was first incarcerated. But increased security, the Cooper vane modification, and the difficulty of the crime are reasonably credited with that dynamic.

      • Bruce Banner says:

        DB Cooper had a get away man but it wasn’t McCoy, it was someone with the CIA. Everything was set up for a reason I can talk about if I hear from you but why do you think that DB Cooper was the only hijacking that was never solved? For his time and agreement to play along they gave him $200,000. I think I’m the only person with this speculation.

      • brucesmith49 says:

        Sounds intriguing. So, the 200-grand was his gratuity? Nice pay day, eh?

        How would you like me to get in touch with you? If you’d like to send me an email to initiate contact, please do so:

      • Ray says:

        This does not account for the money that was found in 1980 that had the same serial numbers as the money taken by DB Cooper. Cooper wore makeup and disguise. McCoy wore makeup and disguise. Maybe DB Cooper lost the $200,000 and wanted to try again.

      • Ray says:

        Think of it this way. The first time McCoy posed as DB Cooper, the authorities were not ready for McCoy. McCoy jumped and lost part or all of his money due to bad weather conditions. The second time McCoy posed as someone else and tried again to get more money. The authorities were more prepared than the first time McCoy did this. Plus this time McCoy ensured he would keep most if not all of the money.

      • Ray says:

        Besides, wouldn’t the money have to be “laundered?” The FBI/authorities were tracking the serial numbers of the $200,000 and the $500,000.

      • Ray says:

        brucesmith49 said:
        Yes, the blunders that McCoy made are striking, especially not having an end-game nor a place to stash the money. By contrast, DB Cooper’s skills are readily apparent.

        How does anyone know that DB Cooper had an “end-game” or “place to stash the money?” Obviously DB Cooper lost part or all of the money because some of it was found in 1980 by campers.

      • Ralph says:

        The money was a plant. It was a reminder for Tina that he was still alive. However it was also a way for a poor family to make some money for Brian. Cooper was a very caring man, but also knew exactly what he was doing even with the Tena Bar find. He killed 2 birds with one stone. Took care of a struggling family and sent Tina into Sainthood. I love McCoy especially the way he escaped prison, but he was like Rackstraw, prone to not thinking about every detail.

      • Prysylla says:

        McCoy was too young.

  26. brucesmith49 says:

    Well, Ralph and Ray, you guys make lots of bold statements. Can y’all back any of them up with evidence, proof, etc?

  27. brucesmith49 says:

    Ralph, which money find was a plant? The money found Feb 10, 1980? Or the money found Feb 12, 1980? Or both. If the latter, then how was the latter find buried three feet down over an area of 40- feet wide? And who crumbled the money into a “thousand” pieces, according to the folks who found it.

    By the way, Tina is still alive, and is far from a saint. I’ve met her, and she needs some serious reminders on social etiquette. However, if she apologies to me for her behavior I will be happy to amend my statement.

    • Ralph says:

      Sainthood as in Carmelite Nuns and those were just the shreds from the decaying money, he emptied the bag in the sand and those shreds just sank a little, there was a lot more than 5800 left . The money was there for about 7 months. Brian’s teacher was kin to Cooper but I won’t say how.

      • Ralph says:

        Also one of his daughters has a big time job and is on the Columbia River a lot, and probably knows it better than Lewis and Clark

      • brucesmith49 says:

        Brian Ingram? His teacher? Where? Oklahoma?

        Teacher was related to DB Cooper but you won’t say how? Why not?

    • newworld3000 says:

      I believe the money found in fragments below the level of the intact bills found by Brian Ingraham likely were part of the same buried cache of money. There could have subterranean current either due to the tidal flows that affected the Columbia River even as far upstream as Portland and there could have been flows coming down from higher elevations also.

      These flows could have fragmented the bills and spread the fragments around but not affected the bills closer to the surface. People also overlook that ten $20 bill – $200 – was missing from one of the bundles. The implication of this fact is that the money was in possession of someone who spent at least a small amount of it. I have speculated that Cooper paid off someone for assistance provided on the ground, and that the person then got cold feet about spending the money and eventually buried it at the beach.

      Cooper did show a willingness to pass out the cash, as when he attempted to give Tina Mucklow a $2000 bundle as a tip. Many believe that his motive was not primarily money but rather revenge for wrongs or betrayals he had suffered.

  28. brucesmith49 says:

    Bruce Banner – what other skyjacking are unsolved? Please tell!!!!

  29. NickyB says:

    I agree with Ralph…Of all the bodies of water in that area and it lands on tina bar that is to big of a coincidence for me. Ralph it is interesting you bring up the Carmelite Nuns my top Cooper suspect James E. Klansnic’s (Who was a very generous man BTW) his brother requested contributions for Klansnic’s memorial go to the carrmelite nuns.

    • Kelly Young says:

      Give it a rest Rackstraw.

      • NickyB says:

        Derek my boat is up for sale I would love to fly you out to San Diego and take you out on it before it leaves me…Very interested in talking to you about this Klansnic fellow very interesting indeed. It’s the least I can do, I think we got off on the wrong foot bud.

      • Kelly Young says:

        Let me get a life insurance policy first and we can take the boat out and call in a SOS and hide the boat and change the numbers around and get us some new Id’s. I can be named Tom and you can be named Michael Narro your buddy lol

    • newworld3000 says:

      Worse yet, Jeff Osiadacz, then a young part time musician, believes he met a D.B. Cooper suspect near Cle Elum, Washington on the night of the hijacking, at a diner at a location called Tenaway Corners. Osiadacz said he provided instructions over the phone to a friend of the suspect on how to drive to the location to pick him up.

      The claim has been made that the suspect Osiadacz met was Walter Reca. Nothing is impossible but I have been through Cle Elum a number of times and I lived in Seattle area for nine years recently. Planes heading south out of SeaTac do not need to go that far east to turn around after taking off.

      I also live in San Jose for some years. The planes taking off from San Jose International heading to L.A. only needed about three miles to turn around and head south. I saw them more times than I can count and also flew on them. They turn while they are still climbing.

      • brucesmith49 says:

        The bigger question, assuming Jeff Osaidiacz is telling the truth and I believe he is, is what was Walter Reca doing in Cle Elum on November 24, 1971? That may be a clue to a very large mystery that might involve the CIA since Reca says he began working for them shortly thereafter and that his “mind was sculpted” during his training process. MK-ULTRA anyone????

  30. NickyB says:

    Big Coincidence, James Klansnics brother lived in Cottage Grove


  31. Charleton says:

    One of the most interesting things to me is that there are so many “DB Cooper lived” suspects. In other words, many people, including the FBI, are of the opinion that Cooper did not survive the jump, yet all of the suspects I’ve seen put forward assume that he did. I have heard of one suspect Richard Lepsy, but this doesn’t seem like a great match.

    Has anyone, including the FBI proposed any other well known “DB Cooper died” suspects? i.e. people who disappeared on November 24, 1971 or the days/weeks leading up to it and possess the qualities of a viable suspect. The seeming absence of these suspects seems to somewhat make the theory that DB Cooper died in the jump somewhat less likely to me. While the person could have been a loner with no family, friends, or spouse, this seems somewhat less likely.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Interesting point you make Charleton. No, I do not know of any suspects touted by the FBI or any researchers who perished during the skyjacking.

      However, two suspects are missing: Dick Lepsey and Mel Wilson. In fact, their fact of being missing is their primary reason for being a candidate to be DB Cooper. Lepsey went missing in Grayling , Michigan in 1969, and Mel Wilson disappeared from his home in Minnesota in September 1971, just a few weeks before the Cooper skyjacking.

      • DG says:

        Glad your feeling better Brucie!! James Klansnic was Still DB Cooper. I’m on to look for the E.A.R/O.N.S, it actually has 50k in reward. I’m going to use it to sue the FBI Seattle and Portland for something not sure yet lol. This whole thing is one big conspiracy. Also, I’m going to get a guy to write a book for me about Klansnic. Watching this unibomber special, gosh it’s a miracle they caught him by the way some of these agents act and some of their theories. The same can be said for this Golden State killer, it’s so obvious that this guy was either a young cop, his brother was a cop, or he lived at home and his father was a cop or deputy in Sacramento County. He knew every move they were making before they made them. When he made a mistake unknowingly and the cops picked up on it, he would evolve. This kid was getting inside information, proley a young cop working on his own case. Returning back to normal life and blending in just like Klansnic did. It’s sad I’m going to have to help solve a case like it, to get the FBI to look at my Cooper suspect. I’m going to Pacific Northwest hopefully this fall. You will all know when I go up there. I have a few ideas to get Klansnic in the press, all legal of course. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box.

      • brucesmith49 says:

        Ahem, DG. I prefer the moniker, “Cousin Brucie,” if you please.

  32. Enthusiastic Derek says:

    Darn right I’m enthusiastic!!! Some of the Cooper guys should try it. Don’t you think there is a reason all there is to talk about is flying drones?? Running the same play over and over 46 years in a row and getting beat ain’t my cup of tea. I will try anything, you have to evolve and adapt. James Klansnic was DB Cooper, like me or not, it’s over.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Editor’s Note:

      Derek’s use of “enthusiastic” is based upon my use of the word to characterize his research into the DB Cooper case in a recent posting of mine at the DB COOPER FORUM. He is certainly passionate, and I trust his behaviors always reflect sound, ethical judgement and legal requirements.

    • Prysylla says:

      Derek – in the photos James seems to have light eyes. All of the eye witnesses said DB Cooper had dark brown eyes.
      He was a veritable hero in WWII. Did you ever consider his family does not want to dignify your questioning of their loved one with a response?

  33. Kyle says:

    I really do believe he survived. As others have said, while possible, it seems very unlikely there wouldn’t have been a missing persons report filed. Surely someone would be wondering “where is my dad/husband/son/brother/uncle/neighbor/coworker/friend/etc?”. Yes, he could have been a recluse, but it just seems too unlikely this guy would vanish without anyone being able to recognize him or notice he was missing. I think we can all agree Cooper had some type of military/skydiving background. Any idiot with a gun can rob a store, but hijacking a plane and jumping out requires expertise.

    I am no expert on this case, but I am an attorney, for whatever that is worth lol. I would like to think my investigative skills are decent. My money is on Ken Christiansen. It all seems to make sense. He was a paratrooper in WWII, he smoked and drank bourbon like Cooper. He was a mechanic for the same airline Cooper hijacked. His family found a large sum of money along with Ken buying a house after the hijacking. His brother basically snitched on him after finding out he said something suspicious to him on his death bed. Sure, he could have been senile. The FBI gave a complete BS reason for not considering him. They said “eyewitness description didn’t match” when that is the LEAST reliable form of evidence. Not to mention one of the flight attendants said he resembled the hijacker. To me, it seems like the evidence points to him more than anyone else. I know you aren’t a huge fan of it being him though.

    If not Ken Christiansen, I would probably guess its Duane Weber. He admitted to his wife he was Cooper, he visited the place where the money was eventually found, and he has a similar match to Cooper. The evidence is not as strong as Christiansen, but I think it’s very likely Cooper is one of these two guys.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Kyle, your post is filled with mis-information or mis-leading facts. Hijacking a 727, after Cooper showed the world how to do it, did not require a lot of expertise. Martin McNally did it in the summer of 1972 and was so inexperienced the FBI had to show him how to put on a parachute.

      As for Christiansen, your “facts” are out-dated and not supported by current research. Even Blevins has acknowledged that Kenny used a mortgage to purchase his house in Bonney Lake, not ransom money.

      Have you read my book? Many of your speculations are discussed in full and are de-bunked.

    • newworld3000 says:

      You need to know your social landscape. I was college age but old enough to drink when the Northwest hijacking occurred. Everybody back then drank whiskey and soda or whiskey and coke or Seven and Seven. All his taste in alcohol points to is the likelihood that he had an upscale, urban sophisticate or hipster-influenced background. His choice of cigarette says the same. Some people seem to think that the Raleighs he smoked were some kind of exotic brand. They weren’t. They were a mass market brand and you could buy them in any store. The Raleigh market niche likewise was urban sophisticate male.

      You also have to consider the firm and proven evidence. Cooper thought that the rear stairs were controlled from the cockpit. This was the case with the special ops versions of the plane. In the civilian transport version, the stairs were controlled from the rear of the plane. Christainsen was a purser which means he was member of the cabin crew on the flights he worked. You have to think he would have had some idea about how to operate the rear stairs.

      The Duane Weber idea is interesting and there is some good independent evidence suggesting Weber can be considered a suspect. One of the forensic sketches shows Cooper with a widow’s peak hairline and larger features than the other sketches. Weber does resemble this sketch but then there are other issues. One of the big ones is Cooper’s use of language. His language was sophisticated and sometimes idiosyncratic. Anyone whose normal mode of speaking was uncouth I do not believe could have been Cooper.

      Cooper’s knowledge of the plane and the specific gaps in his knowledge indicate someone with recent special ops experience involving the specific plane. He could have been a civilian or military operative. He could have been crew or in support. He could have worked for a civilian intelligence contractor. He may have been a pilot but he was not a Boeing 727 pilot. If he had been, he would not have needed help with the rear stairs.

  34. Jo Weber says:

    I was contacted by the DZ that 2 individuals there have been trying to reach me but I NO LONGER post there and I was using dial up when I did – and do not remember my private email name on the DZ…so if these individual really have something they need to talk to me about…they can reach me thru Bruce Smith – He knows my phone number and I am sure he would make sure I get the phone number in a private email….. these individuals are trying to reach me and this is the only place Iknow that can reach me….and Bruce will provide them with my phone number I am sure as I believe he also woudl liket to know why at this time these individuals are wanting to talk to me…
    Perhaps some of the recent information out there jogged someone’s memory or old friends of his but I doubt any of those are alive…maybe one of the children he supposedly fathered……or one of the young men he mentored…

    Bruce it is OK to give these individual my phone number or my email address – I would like to know who they are and WHY they are making desperate efforts to reach me…

    • brucesmith49 says:

      I will be happy to act as your intermediary. However, I am more inclined to get THEIR contact information and then pass that on to you. It feels more professional and secure.

  35. Seriously… the flight attendant who sat with Cooper, and who is still alive, cannot ID any of these suspects as the hijacker?

  36. Giles Hanson says:

    Yeah like a lot of people I think I know who Dan Cooper is. Providing the absolute proof is near on impossible however maybe law enforcement went about things the right way to a point but there are basic lines of investigation that simply were not followed through for whatever reasons.
    There are several major avenues to impress upon investigators once the psychological profile of Dan cooper has been fully understood.
    Without going through things here one area to look at is beyond the original Dan Cooper Comics.
    Example Someone who reads comics from way back when have their favourites but they will also take and read the rivals. Encryption I believe definitely plays its part otherwise they wouldn’t have signed in as Dan Cooper. To my way of thinking a line to pursue and eliminate which hasn’t been touched to date. Not only the rival but the spin off piracy may have value.
    I have a few other stronger avenues to go down but this should be looked as a start.
    The most important aspect for me is understanding their mind set profile.
    If it was not from the inside then this was not a cerficticated action. This can have a bearing on the profile of Dan Cooper.
    As for me many many years gone by now I was once a skydiver and have some limited knowledge on the subject.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Please keep us posted on your findings and speculations, Giles.

      – BAS

      • Giles Hanson says:

        like a lot of these things keeping an open mind is key to this whole thing.
        However barking up different trees is the only way forward with this .
        For starters to get folk thinking differently, move to and compare Buck Danny comics and Dan Cooper comics. Next look at the spinoff Redbeard =Barbe- rouge. and how the French / Belgians pronounce it.
        The mind set of Dan Cooper is key to this, intrinsic motivations etc
        This may or not have any bearing but should be fully looked into

  37. Chris M says:

    Question: Many people believe that Dan Cooper died in the jump. It seems like the most likely suspects in such a scenario would be missing people fitting the description and age (e.g., white, male, mid-life, etc.). Do we know of any “suspects” that were, in fact, missing or presumed deceased from that period?

    • brucesmith49 says:

      None that I know of.

      • Chris M says:

        Thank you. I realize that he could have been a loner. However, I would think that a person of that age range would be “missed” by someone. The sketch would have probably led to a tip of a missing person — but it didn’t. This leads me to believe that someone not only survived, but they made it home.

      • chrismaya says:

        Hi Bruce,

        An Occam’s razor “most likely” scenario by some psychological profilers is one of suicide for the sake of notoriety. Apart from the money found on Tena Bank in Portland (along the Columbia River), no other money has been found. If the money had scattered in the water or even in the wind, it is likely that more of it would have been found somewhere. Thus, it could be theorized that Cooper threw it out of the plane (perhaps inside of the second chute’s harness) and it either landed in a lake, stream or river OR it landed in a tree. Cooper then jumped himself, never pulled any cord and hit the ground (or tree, water, etc.). He was never found. This may have been his intention all along (to never be found).

        HOWEVER, a major problem with this theory is the fact that he (“Dan Cooper”) didn’t use his real name. A suicidal person looking to achieve notoriety would likely have wanted his name to be known.

        It is most notable to mention that no briefcase full of dynamite was ever found. If he jumped with it, he would not have likely held on to it throughout the jump. What are the odds that both that briefcase and Cooper were never found?

        However, even if suicide is the most likely outcome, we should still learn who he was.

        Cooper had:
        – Basic understanding of Boeing 727 — including the existence of aft stairwell and speed necessary for a jump.
        – Working understanding of piloting — including the positioning of flaps. Possibly served as a military pilot or flight personnel. Yet, he wanted to fly “in the direction of Mexico City” — and most novices would know that the plane would have to refuel. I think that crucial evidence would be WHERE he suggested the refueling (which later settled on Reno). Did he prefer a different destination? Did he want to jump elsewhere but the Reno destination led to an earlier jump?
        – Basic understanding of parachuting. He was likely experienced through military training (possibly during the Korean War) AND/OR an enthusiast. Most military vets lacked experience after their service to even want to jump again. Cooper seemed to have more recent understanding (given speed and height) — and a willingness for a military chute. This might mean that he had made some recent jumps. By the way, he asked for FOUR chutes — and there were FOUR other people aboard the plane.
        – Likely familiarity with “Dan Cooper” — a comic book character available in Canada and Europe. This may have been his own (leading to a “geeky” or “nerdy” engineer type). Otherwise, it may have been seen by Cooper through a young relative or even a waiting area at a parachute enthusiast organization.
        – Dressed in a slightly obscure suit (possibly a dark russet-color jacket). Actual business suits of this color were not very common in 1971.
        – Ethnically diverse. He was described as having olive or “swarthy” skin tone with “marcelled” hair. He might have been biracial or having come from a ethnically diverse family.

        If I had been in the FBI and was charged with investigating this incident, I would have first considered Canadian men who served in the Korean War (with familiarity of aircraft and parachuting) yet later immigrated to the United States.

        There were only 26,000 Canadians who participated in the Korean War. Many of those participants were in the Canadian Navy. However, Canada handled quite a bit of transportation and supply logistics during the war.

        My hunch is that “Dan Cooper” was a Canadian man — possibly French-Canadian or multi-ethnic — and worked in support aboard planes at one point (and/or trained as a parachuting infantry). He would have immigrated from Canada to the U.S. during the 1960s. He may have immigrated back to Canada prior to this jump (for reasons of alibi). He had few or no close relations in the United States.

        If he died, then, well, he died. Otherwise, he would have immigrated back to Canada (possibly with an alibi). Either way, there would have been no reports of a missing man of his description in the United States.

        So, in a nutshell, to find D.B. Cooper, I would…
        – Look for Canadian men who trained or served (aboard planes or as parachuting infantry) during the Korean War era.
        – Look for one who immigrated to the U.S. after the war.
        – Check which of them fit description (particularly in terms of skin tone, eye color and possibly diverse or multi-ethnic background).
        – Look for someone who worked at a factory as an on-floor manager or supervisor (necessitating the tie).
        – Look at layoffs or firings at factories within three years leading to the hijacking.
        – Cross-reference all of these and find someone who met this description. He either disappeared (if he died following the jump) or returned to Canada.

        He possibly had a capital “D” in his name — given the rather expressive use of a D in “Dan” on his airline ticket (if he indeed filled out this card himself). It seems like he had practice with a D in his name.

  38. brucesmith49 says:

    You’re thinking like an investigator, now, Chris. To bring you up to speed a little, there has been some conversation in the past year of two of “secretive” or isolative community where people like Cooper could come and go with hardly a ripple of notice or exposure: Some of those communities are: The Roma People, aka, Gypsies, mafia, or covert ops guys, like Seal Team Sixers. How about Trappist monks? !!! Not everyone lives in the world as exposed as we are.

  39. Ry says:

    Does anyone know in what year the photo of Ted Braden was taken?

  40. aspie28 says:

    The FBI agents who were investigating the DB Cooper hi jacking failed to collect any magazines from Cooper’s seating area. Why was it only done in Richard McCoy’s case?

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Recently released documents from the FBI put the magazine collection from Norjak in great doubt. Initially, it was believed that NO magazines were taken in the evidence retrieval. Now, the FBI said they had one, and from that mag a good fingerprint was lifted.

      The fingerprint issue is SO muddled, I will be writing a whole chapter on the subject in the 3rd Edition. But first I gotta figure it out!

  41. Robert Beagle says:

    Why don’t you contact Donald Otis Burnworth’s fourth wife and ask her about his confessing to her that he was DB Cooper. How he told her about throwing out a sack with some of the money that he expected to have been found. Some time after that revelation, it was found. Amazing coincidence? Another amazing coincidence is that hia physical appearance is almost identical to the composite sketch made by the investigators? Could there be any relationship of the name DB Cooper to the fact his initials are DB, and his college roommates name was Cooper. Easy to remember, no? Of course, is it not true he operated the 727 aft entry door and air stairs by himself with out instruction? By the way; Donald Otis Burnworth was a United Airlines 727 pilot with intimate knowledge of the aircraft, aviation procedures, and the area. That’s just another amazing coincidence, right?

    • brucesmith49 says:

      So how do you know that Don confessed to being DB Cooper?

    • newworld3000 says:

      A suspect has to hit on all proven points or that suspect cannot be Cooper. Bunworth is a fail on the following particular. Cooper was familiar only with the military or special ops configuration of the Boeing 727, where the rear stairs are controlled from the cockpit. This speaks to experience as crew or an operative. A Boeing 727 pilot would have known how to lower the rear stairs.

      Sorry, Bunworth is not and cannot be Cooper. The case against every one of the front line of suspects sounds compelling in isolation but remember this. All but one them have to be not Cooper which means, just as easily, all of them could be not Cooper. I would put the odds of the any of the front line of identified suspects being Cooper at less than one percent and the odds of any of the nearly thousand people who confessed and the many more who were reported to authorities based on the suspicions of other individuals being Cooper as pretty low too. Way under 50 percent. Way.

      There might be more to this story than people think. Maybe Cooper was involved in or had knowledge of secret operations and was located and put under deep cover, with the highly plausible cover story that he was retired on disability. In the eyes of no person who knew him or was related to him did he ever seem to be missing.

      Another thing to consider is this. If he came from a relatively upscale family or outright prominent family, if any family member had come to suspect that he was Cooper, they wouldn’t have blabbed about. All the claims that Cooper was a relative or spose have come from people who are from the lower middle class.

  42. linda spiker says:

    How could Richard McCoy be left off this list?

  43. William Nabors says:

    I think it was my biological father. Any emails i can send photos of him to that could be shown to the flight attendant that helped with composite C sketch ? my email:

    • newworld3000 says:

      Just send your pictures to Bruce. I’m sure he’s used to receiving all sorts of information, documents and photos. Or publish them yourself on a free web page, such as you can get through WordPress and other entities.

      • William Nabors says:

        My father was in the military his whole life first the 101st airborne,then the 7th infantry division, the the navy seabeas & in his older age the national guard. in the earl seventies i have pictures of him in caligornia, hollywood among other places, but he went all around the world, even visited the tomb of christ. I can place him in Northern california at the time of the skyjacking, but what is so striking is the familiarity of composites B & C, & the two togather is exactly him. i wish it was possible to show pictures of him to florence shaffner. my dad had a stroke & passed around 2009 , i remeber at the time he had his stroke it was in the news paper that the fbi was reopening the db cooper case. the only way to verify that if it was him or not would be for florence schaffner to look at some photos of him.

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