DB Cooper – A retrospective on the development of the sketches

By Bruce A. Smith

Note: The following is an excerpt from my upcoming 3rd Edition of DB Cooper and the FBI – A Case Study of America’s Only Unsolved Skyjacking

Sketches of DB Cooper

The first drawing of DB Cooper, known as “Composite A,” was developed by the FBI immediately after the skyjacking and was created by one of their top-notch sketch artists, Roy Rose.

Composite A is commonly described as the “Bing Crosby” sketch, as it bears a resemblance to the famous crooner, and was drawn from the accounts of the three flight attendants. Because Florence Schaffner was the only crew member to see DB Cooper before he donned his sunglasses, her input had strong influence. However, since Tina Mucklow and Alice Hancock did not see Cooper’s eyes, the initial versions of Composite A didn’t include eyes. That made the early versions of Composite A difficult to sense the “likeness” of the sketch.

Nonetheless, we now know that the problem with the eyes was resolved by including “other witnesses,” presumably the two NWO agents – ticket agent Dennis Lysne and gate agent Hal Williams – and the five passengers who self-identified themselves as having gotten a good look at the skyjacker. The latter would be Bill Mitchell, Robert Gregory, George Labissoniere, Nancy House, and Cord Harms Spreckel. Some of these individuals were able to give meaningful input for the eyes, and eventually a full facial sketch was developed.

As Cooper wore dark wrap-around sunglasses for most of the skyjacking, they were added to Composite A as well.

Composite A, no glasses, Sluggo, Book     Composite A, w glasses, B wo glasses, FBI, 2nd tryComposite A, with and without sunglasses. Courtesy of the FBI

However, Composite A was done in black and white, minimizing the swarthy complexion of Cooper’s skin. As a result of this dynamic, and on-going concerns about Cooper’s age, the shape and width of his face, and Cooper’s hair line, the FBI decided in August 1972 to commission a second drawing, now known as Composite B.

“I didn’t agree with that first sketch. It was missing the jugular thing,” claims Bill Mitchell, the passenger who sat nearest to the skyjacker, describing a loose fold of skin under Cooper’s chin.

DB Cooper researcher Galen Cook says the FBI told him that Mitchell’s input carried significant weight in the development of Composite B because he was considered an “emotionally neutral” observer, while Florence Schaffner’s views were discounted because the Bureau thought her residual anxieties from the hijacking would color her recollections.

Regardless, Composite B has more detail and DB Cooper appears older, with a more mature look. In addition, color was added, making his olive-toned skin more obvious. Also, most witnesses commented on Cooper’s protruding lower lip, and that feature is presented in Composite B.

Nat Loufoque, a DB Cooper researcher and author of DB Cooper – Examined, Identified, and Exposed, has perhaps the best grasp of how the two sketches were developed and why they differ. In 2019, Nat sent me an email that stated the following:

“As far as how the two sets of sketches were done, Rose’s communication to me matches exactly what I later found in the FBI files. The day after the Cooper heist, Rose met with   Mucklow, Schaffner, and Hancock and made the Bing Crosby sketches from their     memories–except for the description of the eyes, which came from two of the           passengers. Apparently, both the passengers and the stewardesses also used identikits to pull out key features of Cooper’s face, but the important thing here is that Rose actually    met with the stewardesses. …That process was not followed nine months later when the B sketches were made. Instead, the identikit features were sent to Rose via teletype, and he produced a sketch, which was then shown to the witnesses to get their feedback. …But there was never any give and take between Rose and the witnesses, and both Rose and the FBI reports are consistent on this detail.”

Despite its fragmented development, multiple versions of Composite B were created and sent to the seven other witnesses for their input. The final, “consensus” Composite B sketch was not agreed upon until early 1973, but is now generally considered to be the more accurate description of DB Cooper. As for the FBI, their internal documents state that Composite B is the best likeness of the skyjacker.

A few years ago, Rose discussed the sketches in a YouTube clip. Despite FBI documents to the contrary, Rose said he only met with two flight attendants to create Composite A.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rS68OepZ1A

Composite B, No Glasses, FBI, COVER        Composite B w sunglasses, FBI, poor, book

Composite B, also drawn by FBI sketch artist Roy Rose, with sunglasses added.

Photos courtesy of the FBI.

Although, all three flight attendants said they thought “B” was a good likeness, they were not in complete agreement. Tina Mucklow thought “A” was a truer portrayal, while Florence didn’t think either displayed Cooper’s “nastiness.” In response, Florence developed her own sketch in the 1980s, at the behest of a documentary film crew.

Composite C, Schaffner sketch, Sluggo, Book

Florence Schaffner’s Composite “C,” as presented on “Sluggo’s”
DB Cooper website. Used with permission

In an attempt to reconcile the dispute for Norjak aficionados, long-time Norjak investigator Wayne Walker, aka Sluggo—the host of an incomparable online trove of DB Cooper facts—commissioned a “composite of the composites” by freelance artist Joshua Ryals. His version includes all of the previous renditions.

Composite, Josh, A,B,C, Sluggo

A, B and C, “super” composite. Picture courtesy of “Sluggo.”
Used with permission.

In addition, Sluggo commissioned a Composite B “age-regressed” drawing that he posts on his website.

Composite, aged regressed, Sluggo

Age-regressed Composite B by Sluggo. Used with permission

In 2011, author Geoffrey Gray commissioned another version of Composite B, this time incorporating the “marcelled” hair and russet suit jacket touted by passenger Robert Gregory. Although Gray gives Gregory’s characterizations great weight because of the passenger’s career as a paint salesman—thus possessing a sharp eye for color and detail—Gregory reportedly told the Seattle Times that he only saw the skyjacker for a brief period of time while exiting.

Nevertheless, flight attendant Alice Hancock gives some credence to Gregory’s description because she also reports DB Cooper’s hair was “wavy.”

However, Gregory’s portrayal of the skyjacker is viewed skeptically by many researchers because most of his other characterizations are strongly at odds with other depictions, such as pegging Cooper to be in his 30s and only standing 5’9”.

Further, Gray describes Cooper persistently as a “schlub,” a messy and untidy fellow. Such characterization, combined with his championing of Gregory’s perspectives, gives heft to the argument that the FBI is using Gray to shift the public’s’ perception away from DB Cooper being a cultural hero, “The Man who beat Da Man,” to one of mundane incompetence.

composite, marcelled hair, NY Mag, 8.9.11

Geoffrey Gray’s composite B, developed in 2011.
Used with permission.

The Citizen Sleuths, led by Tom Kaye, issued a grand montage of all the composites in 2016, including an early “Pre-A” sketch, known as #1.  Composite A, with and without sunglasses,is shown below as 2. Sketches #3 and #4 are variations of Composite B, while #5 is an age-regressed version of Composite B.

composites, CS, practice for B w sunglasses

Photos provided through the kind courtesy of Tom Kaye and the Citizen Sleuths.

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40 Responses to DB Cooper – A retrospective on the development of the sketches

  1. Marla says:

    Bruce, you are a really superb writer and journalist. Thank you for this article. Very well investigated. Your nemesis, Mr. Robert Blevins, is attacking you at the other site where two or three people talk to each other. I don’t think anybody cares a hoot about anything Mr. Blevins does or says. He’s just a jealous old man who works occasionally as a janitor. His writing is atrocious. What a loser! Probably a loser his entire life. Anyway, keep up the great work, Bruce.

  2. Rita says:

    The rumors spread by EU and R99 are untrue, Sluggo is alive and ok. Just talked to him. He is pissed about Nicholson’s latest rumor mongering post at Slopzone. In fact Sluggo asks that people leave him alone. He wants nothing to do with Cooper trash. For those who must know, it was his wife that passed away in April. Not Sluggo himself. Now please mind your own damned business and leave Sluggo alone! Good bye morons.

  3. Johnnie Greene says:

    Good post, Rita. It’s quacks like Roberto Blevins who have caused all the problems at DroopZone, and for gentlemen like Sluggo. Blevins can now go out camping with his new partner, Dookie.

    • Gypsy23 says:

      Robert Blevins still scratching his head trying to figure out how he got so lucky to be alone with Dookie. Blevins still posting at DZ …..and in love. Heading out camping together. We are happy that you finally found someone….Robert.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        They met at one of Blevin’s advertised campouts. She/he was the only one who showed up. Both cruising, looking for a hook-up. Blevins is in paradise with all of that ……..
        No more DB Cooper Matters.

      • Marla says:

        Bye-Bye, Blevins. Don’t come back to the DZ ever again. Derek Godsey will be lying in wait for you.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Dookie is now taking reservations for the next Robert Blevins Campout.
        Please sign up early, as the big tent is getting full.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Dumbass Bloopins has a new DZ update on his exclusive campout with Dookie. No need for any more reports or invites. Dookie and Bloopins are camping alone. Bloopins no longer needs to bring the weiners, either. Dookie does that, specializing in the foot-long dogs.

      • Marla says:

        ATTENTION:
        Word is that the Drop Zone is preparing to shut down for good. That means THE END for internet gadfly and part-time janitor Robert Blevins. Derek is a God(sey). He did single-handedly what no one else could do. Shut up the big nobody, Bobbie Blevins. Thank you, Derek. Hope Blevins enjoys the big weiner known as Dookie!

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Hello! Anybody out there want to go camping with Blevins and Dookie? This is the Blevins last campout ever. No social distancing, please. And don’t bring your mask. Blevins and Dookie want one big happy COVID family.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        We all wish Dookie well. Folks at the Cooper Forum, MN, and especially the Drop Zone know how dang hard it is to listen to Robert Blevins talk about himself non-stop. We hope Dookie gets in a couple of silent strokes before The Blevs starts up his continuous, psycho bullcrap again. Nothing but a broken record…….10 years now.

      • Marla says:

        Mr. Blevins,
        As R99 stated at Cooper Forum — go home to your mama — whether she lives in AZ or CA. You are an immature boor and a lying, full-time internet scoundrel. Your message and techniques are well-established. You’ve enlightened no one in your 10-years of trying to dominate the DB Cooper case, with nonsense and disruptive behavior. A young man named Derek has beaten you at your own game. Go home to your mama, old man.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Dudeman, you obviously don’t know Robert Blevins. He’s been dishonest about everything. His only involvement in the film industry was with Decoded, and they have since denounced their association with Blevins and his totally fabricated account of Ken Christianson. The same goes for Geoff Gray who tells us that Blevins is a chronic liar. Bruce Smith is ACTUALLY working with a major Hollywood producer on a DBCooper movie, at this very writing.

    • Johnnie Greene says:

      Geezus, the line is so long at the new Bleepin’s Cooper site that I’m getting tired of waiting. Must be the same Bleepin’s campers. Overflowing. Is Dookie coming too? Is Bleepins gunna provide free hot dogs to the first hundred that register? I’m sure Derek will get in too, with Dookie, and end up running the site. After all, Derek learned all his site management skills from Bleepins.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Really, only one person can take all of Bleepin’s lies. Dookie!. That’s because only Bleepin has enough software to take Dookie. Mutual respect!

      • Marla says:

        We love Derek’s posts at the DZ. He has dredged up old comments from 10 and more years ago about Robert Blevins. The history of Mr. Blevins is simply foolish and as immature as can be. Robert had actually regressed to the level of a 7th grader. Still peddling the same garbage as he did 10 years ago. Thanks for reminding us and exposing him, Derek.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        We folks who study the Cooper case are so proud of Bruce Smith and Shutter for kicking Robert Blevins off their sites. And keeping him off!
        All Blevins has left is to go to the Drop Zone. No one follows Blevin’s so-called internet sites. No one goes camping with him. That’s because no one cares about Robert Blevins.
        And thank you Derek, for coming to the rescue of us all. You have made Robert Blevins look like a desperate fool.

  4. Johnnie Greene says:

    Bleepins v. Derek for bandwidth at the DZ. Bleepins finally met his match. Derek is winning in a shutout. The old man just don’t have it no more. In the dugout all alone, dreaming still, but not a friend to be found. His game is over.

    • Johnnie Greene says:

      Bobbi Bleep….. a voice in the wilderness now. Even at DZ…….he has no message anymore. Gone…..and forgotten.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Bloopers never had a message. It was all bullshit. Lies. Propoganda. He can’t stand someone who silences him. You go, Derek. Stick more “Dookie” in his face.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        “Karen” is a good one, Shut, as reference to that internet troll Bloopinator, aka Robert Blevins. But I’m still gunna go with “Dookie’s camping partner.” Dookie and the Bloopinator just seem to be a better match, rather that “Dookie and Karen.” Thanks again to Derek Godsey for all he does at the DZ. He’s one of the best Cooper spies, ever.

      • Marla says:

        Just got a report that certain people in the publishing business, as well as the movie business are now being apprised of the lies and deceipt of the little janitor who runs some cockamamie business called AB Of Seattle. A fraud, through and through named RMB. His interest in suspect Ken Christianson is now being understood as a publishing hoax. Way to go, Derek.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Dookie wants to know if he can join Robert Blevin’s new Cooper site. In fact, his younger sibling, Dickie, wants to join too. Please sign us up, Mr. Bloopins.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Is that the Bloopinator performing with Bobby Blake? No wonder the Bloopinator loves to come to the DZ. He gets to see himself in action.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Dookie and Dickie are now at the DZ
        anxiously awaiting for Bobbi Bloopinator and his pretend side-kick, Gregory Peck the Tech. Production is set to go.

      • Marla says:

        What we are seeing at the DZ, folks, is total conflagration. And in a weird twisted bit of irony, all due to the long presence of a little clown named Robert Blevins. Who knows? Maybe The Big Bloopinator (coined by Greene) is impersonating Derek. Certainly, The Bloop would have acted like Derek in his younger days…..”by gosh, they better know who I am.” But Derek has caused much grief to the Big Boop, or Big Boob. Robert has been beat at his own game. Without the DZ as his platform, The Boop has nothing. Then again, he always had nothing. Just a little out of work janitor from Auburn.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Great post, Marla. You hit it on the nailhead about Robert Blevins.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Looks like the Bloopinator’s takeover days are over. Derek has announced that he now owns the DZ. Let’s hope so. And the Bloopinator can go to CA or AZ and move in with his mommy. He might even get to go camping with his mommy and maybe Dookie and Dickie too. But what will happen to all the other pretend campers…..and Gregger the Pecker Techer?

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Derek, do you think they might consider letting your mom out of prison long enough so she can break bread and have some left-over shrimp noodles with Robert Blevins before he heads home to live with his momma? Gayla ain’t cooking no more.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Derek has a rather big imagination. Bruce is Churchill? Maybe a slight resemblance…..sure. Blevins is Hitler?
        Can we take a poll?

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Actually RMB does look like Hitler. Mustache and all. A one-man propoganda machine too. Stalin is moving in for the killshot. Bruce as Churchill? Didn’t know Bruce smoked cigars. But I vote Yes.

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Looks like “Into the Blast” is getting some of its best reviews ever. Is this the big screen trailer, Mr. Blevinator? Now we know why you didn’t want to disclose terms or the true plot of the DB Cooper caper. Were those scenes taken after the jump in the Winnebago? Which one is Kenny? Geestman?

      • Johnnie Greene says:

        Wow. Strap a couple of new headlights and a set of smaller rims on the Bloopinator’s beauty queen bride, and she’ll be ready to head to the hills with the Bloop. No overnight camping though. Smith may sneak over to AB headquarters for an interview with Grego the Techo while Bloop is polishing his old rig, trying to hide all that rust.

      • Marla says:

        Bruce Smith’s book is a professionally written book and full of great information. Robert Blevin’s book is nothing more than garbage, laced with so many factual errors, it reads like 6th grade science fiction. Sorry Robert, Your writing is very poor and your research methods are child-like. And Bruce, good luck with your Hollywood contract. Bobby Blevins will need extra butter with his popcorn. LoL!!!

  5. Kelly Taylor says:

    I’ve been reading for years at drop zone.
    I can appreciate that RB has a candidate that he thinks is Cooper.
    I do not agree with who he thinks is Cooper.
    I don’t think that a man that worked for the airline would do this, also the guy looks nothing like the descriptions of Cooper.
    Unless I’m missing something, Cooper was not Bald headed.
    What I cannot stand is his constant off topic paragraphs about camping, or the millions of pics he posts about camping, his cartoons, his pics and paragraphs about his Nissan truck, his bragging about his wife being Miss Vista, California in 1978, his bragging about making a Cooper movie, and his smart ass, know it all attitude.
    He brings up the same things over and over again.
    I also don’t care for his tattle tale ways.
    He has ruined DZ, with his thousands of posts the same old thing, dredging up comments from years past, and off topic posts.
    He is so out of it, that I laugh when he threatens to contact someones ISP if he doesn’t like what was written.
    Does he really think any ISP is going to talk to him or terminate a customers internet service because of comments he doesn’t like?

    He is also not the know all of the publishing world.
    He gets so much wrong it’s not even funny.
    I have a family member that has worked for Lighting Source since 1996, and yes Robert if you read this, and try to discredit me, it was Danka, then IBM, and then Ingram bought it and still owns it and named the POD division Lightning Source.
    I had to write out the history of Lighting Source because I can hazard a guess that he will try to say that LS wasn’t in business in 1996, since he knows it all.

  6. Marla says:

    Kelly, thanks for weighing in and being so polite at the Mountain News. Blevins, aka….the Bloopinator, BLIEvins, the toilet scrubber…..etc…is all that you say and much more. He sneaked in and spammed on Shutter’s site just like Derek does at the DZ. He has done all sorts of horrible things to Dave. Dave finally 86ed him from the site. Bloop has stalked Bruce Smith to his home……literally…..and threatened him. Bruce kicked Blev off of the MN. Blevins is all over the internet promoting his suspect and lying about other people. He has no camping friends. All fiction. He claims to be a toilet cleaner by trade, but when does he actually work? He’s always on the DZ. No one can stand this bastard. His book sold but a few copies and he never met his co-author. He managed to finnagle his way into one documentary. His bragging of a film in progress is a fantasy in his head and another lie. He’s a very mixed up guy and a pathological liar. And he is the first to contact web masters and complain when someone calls him out or writes contrary comments to his own. You have pegged him, but you don’t know how miserable the guy is. Everyone who is active in the Cooper case can’t stand the little toilet man from Auburn, WA.

    • Johnnie Greene says:

      Also, Blevins has messed with Eric Ulis, another great researcher. Blevins now accuses Eric of some kind of harassment towards a female. Blevins has no facts and he should never be believed about anything. Ulis should have sued Blevins ass for defamation. Better yet, Ulis should just kick the s**t out of the old fart. Then Gayla can scrub it down for him.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        He’s just jealous cuz Eric can still get the babes. Bloopins………..well I guess he can still get Gayla on a really good day. Of course, that’s IF Bloop washes his hands after cleaning the John.

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