DB Cooper and the flap over Walter R. Reca – an interview with publisher Vern Jones

By Bruce A. Smith

Vern Jones and his Principia Media publishing company have just released a book that claims to identify the iconic skyjacker DB Cooper. DB Cooper and Me: A Criminal, a Spy, My Best Friend, is a memoir penned by an 84-year old Floridian named Carl “Charley” Laurin, and it traces the alleged exploits of Detroit native, Walter R. “Peca” Reca.

Laurin claims that Reca is DB Cooper.

In addition, Laurin says that Reca was a life-long covert operative for the CIA and other agencies of the intelligence community, possibly even the KGB and Mossad.

This wild story starts in Michigan during the 1950s when Laurin and Reca were members of a skydiving team attached to the Michigan Air National Guard. A friendship ensued, which lasted in spurts until 2014 when Reca died at 80. Laurin says that his suspicions that his friend Walter was actually DB Cooper began the night of the skyjacking.

Walter Reca was as tough as nails,” he said at Principia’s book launching press conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan last week. He also characterized Reca as being the most skilled and fearless skydiver in the Pacific Northwest, attributes that DB Cooper needed to successfully conduct the only skyjacking in the Untied States that has never been solved – until now, purportedly. “I know Walter Reca was DB Cooper because Walter Reca WAS DB Cooper,” Laurin proclaimed.

Jones supports Laurin, and told the Mountain News, “I believe Walter Reca was DB Cooper.” However, no one has a twenty-dollar bill from the ransom, nor the parachute that Cooper used. Further, Laurin and Reca muck up most of the the details of the skyjacking, including the flight path, the types of parachutes used, exit points, and behavioral characteristics. Nor can they shed any light on some of the mysterious elements of the skyjacking, such as which passengers started a ruckus while the plane circled Seattle, exactly when did the passengers move to the forward part of the plane, and how did the crew get the FBI agent off the plane after he had snuck aboard?

Simply, the inconsistencies challenging Reca-as-Cooper are monumental, yet Jones clings steadfastly to his belief, and cites a slew of bizarre-but-intriguing pieces of evidence.

Foremost is the eye-witness account given by Jeff Osiadacz, a former cop who says that he encountered Reca the night of the skyjacking walking alongside a mountain road near Cle Elum, Washington, and then conversed with him in a nearby diner. Osiadacz says that Reca was soaking wet, wearing a black suit, and carrying a bundled-up raincoat under his arm. The diner was nearly empty and Reca approached Osiadacz and asked where they were. Osiadacz informed him that they were four miles east of Cle Elum – about one-hundred miles east of Seattle – and Reca in turn asked Osiadacz to call a friend named Don Brennan in Hartline, Washington – another one-hundred miles further east – and give him driving directions. Osiadacz said that he complied with Reca’s request. At that point, Osiadacz left to perform a guitar gig at a local grange, and only rejoined this drama in 2016 when Jones and his investigatory team tracked him through a local newspaper reporter in Cle Elum.

For his part, Reca says that he bailed from Cooper’s Flight 305 over Cle Elum and landed close to the highway where he was spotted by Osiadacz.

Yet, was Cooper’s hijacked plane actually flying over Snoqualmie Pass? This despite volumes of testimony that state Cooper demanded the aircraft fly no higher than 10,000 feet and remain unpressurized so that he could open the doorway to the aft stairs, by which he would make his parachute getaway. Plus, a low-level flight across the Cascades at night, in the rain, and in the clouds seems dicey, but Jones is undaunted.

He says the FBI and crew has provided “mis-direction” when it comes to the truth of the flight path. In addition, Jones says that he has discussed the Reca flight path with air traffic controllers and commercial aviation pilots who have assured him that flying eastward from Seattle at 10,000 feet is doable, as is the return loop over the lower Cascades to rejoin the long-established flight path of Victor 23 through Oregon and southward to Reno, where Flight 305 later refueled.

When confronted on the many inconsistencies, Jones offered a mis-direction of his own: “You have to remember, this is a memoir. This is Carl’s story.”

Hearing that, this writer pushed back harder. “Don’t you have to answer to the inconsistencies and implausibilities at some point?” I asked. “Isn’t it true that Carl told the Washington Post that Walter Reca didn’t know he could jump using the aftstairs, and that he tried going out a side door? Do you really believe that Walter Reca would try to skydive out of a plane using a door directly in front of the main wing?”

In response, Jones equivocated. He said that Carl’s statement to the Washington Post was accurate, and that he simply did not know why Walter said what he did. Nor did he offer any explanation or defense on what Reca knew about parachuting from a 727. Further, he offered that Carl had quoted Walter as saying that he never did a job that required more than an hour’s worth of planning or needed more than a napkin to draw up.

Under continuing scrutiny, Jones quickly diverted from the DB Cooper story and shifted into a passionate recounting of discovering Reca’s many foreign passports, vaccination certificates and diaries that seemed to validate a career as a spook. Key among them was an identity card issued by the KGB, along with passports issued in Reca’s name by the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States.

I worked for all of them,” Reca proudly recalled, Jones said, adding that Reca had documents suggesting that he worked for Israeli interests. However, Jones demurred when asked if Reca worked for Mossad. “I don’t know,” Jones said.

What did Reca do for all of these agencies or countries?” I asked Jones.

He killed people,” Jones replied, adding that Reca confessed to his niece, Lisa Story, that he had assassinated a Middle Eastern diplomat named Abu Dauob. Yet, Reca said he was never an employee of the CIA or MI-6, but rather was a freelance contract covert operative.

His pathway to being an assassin-for-hire is a bit circuitous. According to Jones, Reca began life as Water Peca, and apparently was held in juvenile detention in Detroit for a period of time when he was nine years-old. After skydiving with Laurin in the 1950s in Michigan, Reca began jumping at the Elsinore, California DZ because he had heard that the CIA recruited operatives from that site. In 1963, Reca applied to the CIA, but was denied a position despite the fact that he spoke Russian and Polish fluently. In fact, Walter Peca never spoke English until he entered grade school. In addition, he only obtained an eight-grade education.

After the rejection from the CIA, Reca became despondent and returned to Detroit. There he began a string of armed robberies, the first being the most infamous perhaps when he heisted a Big Boy hamburger joint and got captured because his getaway man was busy getting a parking ticket.

Unable to face incarceration Reca jumped bail, ditched his wife and kids, and fled to Washington state. There he lived with a skydiving buddy he had once met in Alaska, Don Brennan. Reca also started a new life and a new family. He also dropped the Peca and became Walter Reca full-time.

But his legal troubles followed and he was extradited to Michigan to face the robbery and bail jumping charges. However, he was released on probation to rejoin his pregnant girl friend in Washington, and he returned to Seattle. There he got a job with the CIA-affiliated Vinnell Industries, hoping to make contact with the agency.

But then he decided to steal an airplane and become DB Cooper.

Two months later, two workers at Vinnell approached him and asked, “Walter Peca, do you want to go to prison?”

No,” he answered.

Then, you work for us,” they replied. After that, Walter Reca began a two-year period of training to become an international covert operative.

Starting in 2000, Reca and Laurin reconnected. Daily phone calls became lengthy taped phone sessions in 2008, and Laurin began writing and conducting a more rigorous investigation into his suspicions.

At first, Reca never confessed to being DB Cooper despite Laurin’s persistent pestering. At one point, Laurin surreptitiously took a discarded tissue of Reca’s and had its DNA tested via a Floridan attorney named David DeMoore. DeMoore, in turn, sent the sample to Larry Carr and asked for a finding while insisting on confidentiality for his client. However, Laurin soon received a message from Reca that he had gotten a phone call from the FBI wanting to know about his DNA profile and DB Cooper. As a result, Reca broke off the friendship with Laurin.

Nevertheless, they eventually repaired the damaged relationship and continued the conversations. Soon, Laurin says, Reca called him and said, “I can’t lie to you anymore, Charley. I’m DB Cooper.”

Viewing the whole story, it all seems preposterous. A former spook keeps his KGB identity card, but not a Cooper twenty?

Plus, the actions of the Jones and Principia investigatory team is outrageous. They claim to know who DB Cooper is, yet they fail to corroborate any information with any of the known witnesses, such as the passengers or the flight attendants – especially Tina Mucklow. Ms. Mucklow sat next to DB Cooper for five hours and would certainly know his looks and speech patterns – thick and heavy with Minnesotan notes on long, round “O’s,” such as “douhn” for “down,” and “abouht” for “about.” Plus, Reca spoke with a distinct blurring of “th” sounds with hard “d’s” so that “there” became “d’ere.”

Hence, the Hunt for DB Cooper continues.

But we have another conundrum: if Reca was not Cooper, then what the hell was he doing in Cle Elum in a black suit, in the rain, on the night of the skyjacking? Sadly, Vern Jones doesn’t seem interested in pursuing that question. He’s got his story and he seems to be sticking to it.

But we’ll be pursuing it at the Mountain News.


Courtesy of Principia Media of Grand Rapids, Michigan


Reca, D.B. Cooper & Me _ Cover_preview

The new book on DB Cooper from Carl Laurin


Reca, Carl Laurin, PM

Carl Laurin

Reca, in the 70s, Principia Media, 5. 17. 18

Walt Reca, in the 1970s

Reca, Jeff Osaidacz, head shot, PM

Jeff Osiadacz, the eye witness from Cle Elum

REca, Lisa Story, headshot, PM

Lisa Story, Carl’s niece


Bruce A. Smith is the author of DB Cooper and the FBI – A Case Study of America’s Only Unsolved Skyjacking, available through Amazon.

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17 Responses to DB Cooper and the flap over Walter R. Reca – an interview with publisher Vern Jones

  1. Marty Andrade says:

    Reblogged this on Marty Andrade and commented:
    The Walter Reca story is, bluntly, pure nonsense. Bruce points out many of the problems in this write-up.

    • sue m. says:

      The Bruce Smith story is pure nonsense. At least Laurin has tons of evidence. It appears you have not seen the documentary, D.B. Cooper the Real Story or read the book. they don’t just have hear say and mish mash. they have eye witnesses, a FBI forensic profiler. and a confession from Walter Reca. It is ignorant when people make comments without ever looking at the evidence.

      • brucesmith49 says:

        Ah, Sue, don’t be hasty to trash me. As I state in the piece, I’ve read the book on Reca and talked with Carl Laurin, Jeff Osaidicz, and talked extensively with the folks at Principia Publishing. I’ve also listened to many recordings of Laurin’s interviewing of Walter Reca, and am dismayed at how he almost browbeats ole Walter into confessing.

        I stand by my article on Walter Reca.

  2. John Mc. says:

    Good story there Bruce. To me, it sounds like the man was DB. I understand, if you don’t agree, but there is too much compelling stuff in that story to be negated. There is still lots to be investigated and written about however. Looking forward to the next episode.


    On Tue, May 22, 2018 at 6:04 PM, The Mountain News – WA wrote:

    > brucesmith49 posted: “By Bruce A. Smith Vern Jones and his Principia Media > publishing company have just released a book that claims to identify the > iconic skyjacker DB Cooper. DB Cooper and Me: A Criminal, a Spy, My Best > Friend, is a memoir penned by an 84-year old Floridian n” >

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Thank you, John. Ah, to tease out all of the inconsistencies. Are all those passports real? Is any of it real? Then, we have the rain-soaked night in Cle Elum. Whew.

  3. Terry Battcher says:

    Great work Bruce. As you know, the Walter Reca story is pure fiction. Noteworthy is the fact that this guy was an armed robber, which equals “stupid.” And as you also know, the Cooper UNSUB had his ducks in a row, which involved evidence of extensive planning. This ‘Reca was Cooper’ story is so sloppy, that it borders on laughable.

    I point out that: 1)It’s completely lacking merit. 2) Look at what area that the Reca story originated from. 3) The outrageous fact that the MSM carried it. 4) It’s from 2008, nearly ten years ago. 5) That Deep State fake news cabal outlets treated it as though it was a foregone conclusion that it is valid, vs how Fox news treated it. 6) That several, if not all of the crimes that I focus on are rooted and/or tied into that part of the country, namely: Degnan, Chicago Lipstick, OCCK and Ramsey. (Black Dahlia is linked to Degnan, which took some digging to determine.) 7) You can take all of the news outlets that carried it as though it was newsworthy, and readily see that they are centrally controlled. 8) It doesn’t take a genius to see that a few of the subtle figurines on the SKY MARSHALLS envelope are found on the Ramsey ransom note, the keyword being ‘subtle’. 9) The timing of this article=attempted subliminal programming of the populous vs my very recent posting of the Zodiac killer/Cooper/Ramsey document linkage. 10) That the otherwise outrageously shameless liar and violent Mr Blevins, suddenly gets really animated over the word “pedophile.”

    11) Notice the duality of how the Blevins postings are structurally written, despite keyword and terms like “lol” being present. It’s as though there are at least two different authors composing them, yet all of them incorporate signature items. I state “violent” based on the evidence; he used “semi auto” as his handle on the Metzler YouTube video. He’s posted video’s of himself firing automatic handgun weapons, to show that he’s armed with deadly force.

    12) Despite being reminded of certain basic facts, the dodgy Blevins continued with his dominance and false narratives. 13) shutter was very correct in shadowing and taking Blevins to task. Bruce was very correct in letting that dialog run up to over 2000 posts, despite my complaints of Blevins dominating the thread with lies.

    You rock Bruce, you rock!

    • I can deal with an inconsistency here and there, because maybe some of the things we’ve been told over the years aren’t exactly right. The problem here is the totality of the inconsistencies. Just too many of them. I still haven’t heard their explanation of Tena Bar either? Have they offered an explanation on that and maybe I’ve missed it?

  4. Terry Battcher says:

    brucesmith49 says:
    May 23, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Nothing on T-Bar, yet. But then, do you really think that whatever they would say would be worth listening to? :Unquote

    Exactly my feelings too. They’ve already so badly discredited themselves, why waste time listening to more of their nonsense? On the other hand, perhaps some things can be discovered that will point to who initiated this old and false ‘Reca was Cooper’ story. Blevins ties himself up with his own yarn, perhaps Vern Jones will do the same? From there it might be possible to determine who in the pecking order of editors ramrodded this Reca yarn into the MSM list of so-called newsworthy stories? So far, there’s been no follow up by the MSM.

    Noteworthy is the hint of the word ‘RICO’, as in ‘RICO Act’ reminding us of the name Reca. Crazy as that notion might seem, I’ve come to realize that this is a repetitive feature of the crimes on my short list. Reporting this poetic feature tends to undermine the credibility of the person pointing them out, but nevertheless, there is a solid basis for this whole idea. It has to do with the “777” or “Order Out of Chaos” concept as explained in the book Mindhunter.

    I try to make this poetic linkage point as a kind of “Oh, and by the way” thing…or as the Zodiac killer persona wrote: “Buy the way.”

  5. Terry Battcher says:

    I listened to Roseanne Barr’s point of view and posted this message on YouTube and Nanette’s MB:

    Terry B B
    Terry B B
    1 second ago
    Roseanne is a hero! I greatly appreciate her courage. She’s 100% correct about the mind control issue. The leftist MSM fiends practice mass mind control on a daily basis.

    Evidence found in the FBI’s DB Cooper/NORJAK files shows linkage to other crimes, especially the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey. The ‘SKY MARSHALLS’ envelope has subtle little figurines found on the Ramsey ransom note. It’s not possible that a copy-cat did this, given the fact that those files have been kept from the public. The recent MSM phony report of Walter Reca being DB Cooper is over 10 years old and full of lies. This is a prime example of how they practice mind control, in order to distract from the truth about those two cases. Note that his whole Reca story came out of Michigan.

    Blow up copies of the Ramsey RN and note all of the details and figurines. Most of the copies that the public sees have been altered. Both the Cooper caper and the Ramsey murder were sophisticated operations, with bullshit/phony ransom demands.

  6. Terry Battcher says:

    6-3-18 The murder of Dr Steven Pitt and two others: I currently have no idea why anyone would gun down Dr Steven Pitt. This morning I was looking for the footage of Pitt talking about the Ramsey murder, so that I could post an exact transcript of his Ramsey case remarks. They’ll turn up later, but for the moment I’ll post the gist of what they were. As best as I can currently recall, Pitt “claimed” that “he could sit and talk for twenty minutes about all of the things that showed that the Ramsey’s were involved in JonBenet’s murder, then he went on to claim that he could then spend another twenty minutes showing all the things that show that they were not involved.” To put it as politely as I can, these same remarks by Pitt are pure hogwash! Pitt didn’t have twenty minutes of legitimate information to show that the Ramsey family was directly involved, because he didn’t even have one minute of legitimate information to show they were involved! I charge that Pitt was acting as an MSM fake news deep state shill with regard to the Ramsey case. It was wrong for Pitt to have been murdered, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Pitt was wrong in his role as a media tool. The MSM fiends have resorted to a list of subliminal lies regarding the Ramsey case, Pitt wittingly or otherwise… was one of their stooges. Perhaps Pitt had a change of heart in his Ramsey case role? Maybe not?

  7. Terry Battcher says:

    The Ramsey ransom note’s “structure” opens with: “Listen casefooy… etc,” as though it’s stated with a cheesy Asian accent, as though the fictional detective Charlie Chan was talking (which is a pertinent hint) . This works in terms of syntax as well. Undoubtedly controversial is my next point, and it comes from study and tenacity on my part, the next line decodes to: “Jew are a group of individuals that represeat(sic) a Somali(smali) foreign faction.” Proof of the “Jew” observation comes from the word “We” in the cascade of words on the lower left hand corner of the first RN page. That same cascade of words states: “The I(eye) Jew early arrange”. The phony ransom note has approx 17ea Jew based hints in six different forms. “Victory! S.B.t.C” contains simple and irrefutable proof that the RN was composed far in advance of the night of the murder of JonBenet. Google my thread: “The brutal murder of JonBenet Ramsey and the Zodiac killer”by TerryB. The line: “The [Zodiac] not Speaking” is found between lines 7 and 11 on the second RN page. “7 come 11” is a gambling hint and is pertinent to the overall evidence. The SKY MARSHALLS envelope in the DB Cooper FBI FOIA files has subtle little figurines found on the Ramsey ransom note. I charge that the MSM attempted to promoted the phony 10 year old nonsense that “Walter Reca/Peca was DB Cooper” as a counterbalance to my discovery and point about the SKY MARSHALLS figurines linkage to the Ramsey RN. FOX news correctly defused the Reca/Peca nonsense by phrasing the “Reca was Cooper story” opening line in the form of a question.

  8. Lynn says:

    This Jonbenet stuff has nothing to do with Cooper, nor does Zodiac. And Rosanne is a racist dingbat who stole jokes from other comics. That is all.

  9. brucesmith49 says:

    How are they now?

    Heh, heh…

  10. Pingback: DB Cooper and the flap over Walter R. Reca – an interview with publisher Vern Jones - Principia Media

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