by Bruce A. Smith
The murder of Earl Jay Cossey, aged 71, has been confirmed today by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
They also announced that the cause of death was blunt force to the head, and that the murder occurred on Tuesday, April 23, several days before the body was found by Cossey’s daughter on Friday, April 26. Police say that Cossey last had contact with his family on Monday, April 22, when he went to a movie with a family member.
Mr. Cossey was the de facto technical expert for the FBI in the DB Cooper case on the matter of the parachutes used by the skyjacker, having packed the four chutes that were delivered to the skyjacker as part of a ransom deal.
In addition, Cossey became an outspoken proponent of the claim that DB Cooper chose an inferior parachute, thus proving himself to be an unskilled skydiver who most likely died during his getaway.
This analysis was incorporated into an emerging FBI narrative that shifted from the initial view that Cooper was a “master criminal” who beat the system, to an inept fool who panicked and was unable to pull his rip cord.
Cossey also said that he was the owner of the back chutes, a claim that has come under increasing disbelief as federal documents have come to light revealing that the parachutes were owned and delivered to Sea-Tac airport by a Kent pilot named Norman Hayden.
Further, scrutiny of Mr. Cossey’s analysis of the survivability of the Cooper jump and the parachutes used has also come into question as other experts in the field refute Cossey’s findings.
Sergeant Cindi West, the PIO for the King County Sheriff’s Department, addressed the issue of whether the murder of Mr. Cossey is being linked to the DB Cooper investigation, and said that she had discussed the matter with the FBI.
“I have had many calls asking if this case is related to the DB Cooper case,” she told the Mountain News today. “We have NO information that leads us to believe that this case has any relation to the Cooper case,’” Sgt West emailed the Mountain News.
In addition, Sgt West declined to comment on what kind of tool or instrument caused Cossey’s death.
“We’re not releasing that kind of information at this time,” she said.
© 2013 Bruce A. Smith
Mr. Earl J. Cossey. Our condolences to his family and many friends. Picture courtesy of the KCSD.
I never met Mr Cossey, but I have read many wonderful things about him, mostly written by his former students. We can only hope that the killer is soon brought to justice. A $1,000 reward is being offered by authorities for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Oh my …
Sent from my iPhone
I remember this event since the day it happened, and started skydiving at Issaquah in 1983, some dozen years afterwards.
This is the first time I have ever heard Norman Hayden’s name mentioned … a “Date of Issue: 10/17/1991” commercial pilot with 4 sport parachutes, unknown in the NW to experienced skydivers at Issaquah that I know who were jumping then? I don’t think so …
Just a note here that Norm Hayden supplied the two “back chutes” and he only used them to wear as safety gear while doing aerobatics with his airplane. The two chutes were both alike (per Hayden) and purchased at the same time from a surplus store on Marginal Way in Seattle. He also told me the chutes were packed and the cards signed by Earl Cossey. When I questioned Cossey about a Cooper suspect, and he too quickly claimed he did not know him. It doesn’t fit the information about Issaquah Skydiving in the mid to late 60’s. There is a possibility that Cossey was directly connected with the Norjak caper and that is why his stories don’t fit and that DB died in the jump. Cossey could have been the man on the ground and the guy that could laundry the loot through his contacts at the casino’s he knew very well. This would explain why the stories to the FBI by Cossey do not seem accurate and slanted to throw the FBI off. The FBI has bought Cossey’s cover-up and believe DB died in the jump..
HIS NAME Was ‘Cooper…BUT–not one…you have used!…and…he did not die…from the jump…he did exactly as he planned..He was an excellent diver…Great outdoorsman…hunter, Cattleman, Cowboy,…he was a army para-trooper..had to have corrective surgery-rectal..twice….wasn’t very good at that…was.an individually trained pilot–by: Pete Luttrell…Texas..(.now-deceased )…ONE-QUESTION!….Why, do you all think he only demanded…$200,000.00…..when he could have–just as easy, gotten $2,000,000.00….So many things…you have not realized…perhaps…not even thought of…He was in Mexico–many times…had many riends-there…as all over the US…& abroad…Not so hard to figure out…just looking at it ….all wrong.
And here we are two and a half years later and STILL…no clue on who killed Cossey.
I made my first of 800ish skydives at Issaquah Parachute Center in Feb. of 1974. Cossey was my jumpmaster on one of my student jumps and I have his name signed in my log book as proof. I made a number of sport jumps with him over the years and he was a respected influence on the local jump community during those years for sure. Coss was also a pretty serious gambler at local card rooms over the years and his erratic trail of information to investigators leads me to believe that he could have been involved in the hijacking in some way. No evidence here but just a feeling. When I heard of his murder I was saddened and surprised ….but not that surprised since I knew of his gambling. Just too many things not adding up in reports by media (which can be untrue) and I knew 99% of the people in the jump community over a 10 year stretch and ran them all thru my mind trying to think if they had it in them…..Coss was at the top of my list of a possible but again no proof. When I started jumping in 1974 DB Cooper was still a big topic of conversation that went on for years and I know I wasn’t the only one thinking about “who done it”. Skydivers are known for living on the edge in more ways than one.
Very thoughtful bllog
Thank you. Cara.