DB Cooper – Assessing the FBI’s investigation

By Bruce A. Smith

The FBI is arguably the world’s best investigatory organization. So, why can’t they solve the DB Cooper case?

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

But what happens to an investigation when there isn’t a body? Add to that conundrum, how should the FBI proceed when they have so little tangible evidence? It’s not an easy job, I admit. Losing evidence doesn’t help, either. But large bureaucracies have screw-ups, lose stuff, and have less-than-adequate agents sprinkled throughout the organization, even at managerial levels. So, after their 46 years of investigating DB Cooper, how did they do? And what can happen from this point forward?

Scanning through the issues, we can identify particular people, places, and events that have been problematic. Some items might have resolution, some might not. But first, let’s talk about the Bureau’s successes:

What the FBI did right:

I say the Bureau did all the basics fairly well – securing the airliner and airport perimeters on the night of the skyjacking, interviewing airport employees to ascertain where Cooper came from and when, and debriefing the passengers at Sea-Tac and the crew in Reno. Later, the FBI did what it does so well – a massive, blanket investigation of person’s named Cooper, skydivers and SOG troopers who could have done the jump, and all those lovelorn fellas that got thrown under the bus by their broken-hearted ladies.

The dig at Tina Bar was conducted adequately, in general, as all evidence indicates that the search was done thoughtfully and comprehensively. Yes, they could have taken more pictures, especially of the shards.

Larry Carr’s actions are stellar, as well. Establishing the Citizen Sleuths was superb, as was his posting on DB Cooper chat rooms.

But there is room for improvement. High on the list is lost evidence or poorly collected evidence, such as the fingerprints. Here’s a specific list:

Deficiencies in the Investigation

   1. Cigarette Butts

       – Where are they?

       – If lost, is anyone looking for them?

       – Were they processed for DNA analysis, as indicated by case agent Larry Carr?

       – If so, where is the paperwork?

   2. Clip-on Tie

       – Why did it reportedly enter the Seattle evidence cache four days after the hijacking?

       – Where was it for that time?

       – Was the chain of custody broken?

       – What does it mean that no one involved in the evidence retrieval in Reno, specifically Tina Mucklow, Red Campbell, Jack Ricks, John Norris, and Alf Stousland, could remember the tie when questioned in the 1980s by Bernie Rhodes?

       – To what extent, if any, did the FBI follow-up on the Citizen Sleuth’s discovery of                   titanium and rare earth minerals on the tie, beginning in 2009? Why isn’t that a            priority now?

3. Reno, fingerprints

       – Who conducted the fingerprint search aboard 305?

       – How many prints were obtained in that search?

       – Why weren’t the “In-flight” magazines gathered into evidence?

            – Have any reconstructions of the fingerprints been undertaken?

4. Reno, behaviors of FBI agents

       – What caused the memories of the agents on evidence retrieval to be forgetful, fuzzy or in conflict with each other?

       – Were these agents “victims of some strange post-hypnotic suggestion,” as Bernie           Rhodes has written?

       – Did MKULTRA play a part in Norjak?

5. Ground Search

       –  Why was the ground search of LZ-A called off on Monday, November 29, 1971?               Afterall, the ground teams only covered one square mile out of dozens potentially.

       – Why did Seattle FO tell FBI HQ that there was too much snow on the ground to            continue, when there was no snow reported in the LZ-A by local officials.

6. SOG and 727s

       – What was the complete role of 727s in the Vietnam War?

       – Were they used to deploy soldiers into combat?

       – Did any combat units utilize techniques similar to those of DB Cooper, ie: jumping                    from a 727 with flaps at 15, gear down and locked, etc.?

7. Money Retrieval

       – How many shards of money were found at Tina Bar?

       – Where are they, currently, especially the larger ones in the 2-3-inch category?

       – Did the FBI find part of DB Cooper’s briefcase at Tina Bar, as reported by PIO Dorwin Schreuder?

       – Why was the money found in a highly compressed state?

       – What kinds of follow-up were done along the Columbia River, i.e.: fishermen                        interviewed, other sites dug-up, etc.?

       – What does the discovery of springtime diatoms on the money mean?

8. Richard McCoy

       – What was he doing in Las Vegas on November 24–25, 1971?

       – What was he doing there on November 2–3, 1971?

       – How did he learn the details of hijacking an airplane?

       – What was his relationship with “Dan Cooper?”

       – Why does the Seattle FO accept McCoy’s alibi that he was home with family on            Thanksgiving, refuting the findings from Salt Lake City FBI agents?

       – How did he get that $6,000 in late 1971 that funded his family’s trip to North Carolina?

9. Radar Findings and Flight Path Issues

       – Why is the Flight Path still in doubt? Why was Cliff Ammerman never interviewed by any FBI agent?

       – What did SAGE radar record the night of November 24, 1971?

       – Why do the Seattle transcripts have over one-dozen redactions?

       – Did the F-106s and the T-33 following Flight 305 have any radar findings of Cooper or  his jump? If not, why not?

       – Why did NORAD tell Major Dawson to “back off” the F-106s, and pull out the chaff?

10. Earl Cossey

       – What was the true role of Earl Cossey in the Norjak investigation?

       – Did he actually own the “back” parachutes delivered to the hijacker, as he claimed?

       – Did Cossey influence the FBI’s perspective that Cooper was an inexperienced skydiver?

      – Why did the FBI flip-flop on their assessment of Cooper’s skills?

       – Why was Cossey murdered? Why is that crime still unsolved?

11. Care of Evidence

       – Why weren’t pictures taken of the parachutes?

       – Why weren’t pictures taken at Tina Bar of the shards, and the specific activities of the money retrieval, like the beach slope, the actual location, close-ups of shards buried at three-feet, etc.

12. Suspects: Unanswered Questions –

       – Why was Robert Rackstraw dismissed as a suspect in 1979 after the FBI arrested him in Paris, France on his return to the United States from Iran.

       – Did E. Howard Hunt, or someone like him, play a role in Norjak?

12. What was the full impact of the DB Cooper skyjacking?

       – Did it affect national politics?

       – Did it enhance the efforts to federalize airline safety?

13. Would the FBI be willing to participate in a public debriefing of Norjak?

       – Will the FBI send agents such as Larry Carr and Curtis Eng to CooperCon 2021 to                     anchor a panel discussion assessing the FBI’s investigation?

Lastly, why aren’t these questions enough to re-open the case? How can the FBI reasonably walk away from Norjak with this amount of outstanding doubt?

We may always have the issue of a cover-up, of a federal conspiracy to keep the public knowing the truth of Norjak. Certainly, there have been numerous instances of sloppy police work; systemic deficiencies within the FBI, such as Hoover’s rigid model of case management; and problematic decision-making. But does that mean there is an actual attempt to prevent us from knowing the truth of DB Cooper?

I don’t know. I have no direct evidence that supports a cover up. But Norjak does seem compromised. Is it true that the FBI ran out of credible leads and examined all available evidence by 2016 when they closed the case? If so, they should be able to answer all the above questions.

Besides these specific concerns, perhaps the greatest issue in Norjak is the failure of leadership. This issue has impacted the case in every dimension. At times, no one seemed to be in complete command of Norjak—certainly not in the early stages of the investigation. Farrell was in charge of Seattle-based activities, Manning on the ground near Ariel, Mattson in Portland and later Himmelsbach; and then Campbell and his Las Vegas-based crew in Reno.

But why didn’t Charlie Farrell jump on a plane and fly to Reno to ensure the proper retrieval of evidence, thus minimizing the predictable bureaucratic turf battles that followed?

Additionally, Farrell and his team worked in secrecy. The public knows little of his work. Farrell is reported to have penned a 300-page account of his experiences in Norjak, and Geoffrey Gray says he has read it. But my efforts to obtain access to a copy have been met by resistance from the Farrell family.

Similarly, the Norjak case agent at the time of the money find, Ron Nichols, remains totally silent on the money find, shards, and their documentation. More disturbing, why didn’t Nichols jump in his car and drive the three hours to T-Bar to supervise the money recovery? Further, why did his boss appear at T-Bar three days into the dig, Seattle ASAC Jack Pringel?

Nichols’ failures are coupled with the stonewalling from Himmelsbach on the money controversies, making the whole situation unacceptable.

If Norjak was too big a case for a single agent, why wasn’t a Task Force developed? True, a quasi-force was formed in 1975 when they met in San Francisco and determined the jump zone was ten miles south of their initial estimates. But why wasn’t this group formalized to continue a joint, comprehensive investigation?

Another example of poor supervision was the care given to the evidence stored in Seattle. Before being shipped to HQ in 2016, the main pieces were stored loosely in a cardboard box that looked like it once held knickknacks from someone’s attic. Concerns over the chain of custody pepper Norjak as well, such as the clip-on tie being torn apart by the Citizen Sleuths. It appears they were able to review physical evidence without any FBI agent present, although Alan Stone refutes that assumption.

Nevertheless, these breaks in the chain of custody are serious concerns. DB Cooper aficionado Mark Metzler, an attorney in the Bay Area, offers a cogent view of the matter:

    “The FBI has been amazingly cavalier about the handling of physical evidence (in         Norjak). It’s not normal practice. As a defense lawyer, when I had my experts examine physical evidence or run lab tests the prosecution enforced strict protocols so that the custody chain was unbroken and fully documented and that contamination or alteration of evidence was prevented.

    “Even in minor cases this was how things were handled. I represented a ghetto bar     owner who the cops hated. He was arrested for serving alcohol to a minor. It was a major hassle just to get a sample of the drink which was preserved. My lab had to sign for the sample and document its handling at every step. The prosecution wisely only gave my lab a portion of the sample so that they had a control if my findings were later to be disputed. My client got really lucky. My lab tested zero alcohol. When the police lab repeated their test, they found the same thing. Case dismissed.

    “It might be that the FBI has some undisclosed evidence that has been very carefully     handled and that is highly probative in identifying Cooper, enough so that a conviction could be secured without any other evidence. Cigarette butts might fit this description. It just makes no sense that they would be ‘lost.’

   “Peterson, a highly qualified suspect, was ruled out on DNA. Maybe it wasn’t tie             DNA but cigarette DNA, which would be more confidently linked to DB Cooper.”

In addition, there was an uncanny passivity to the FBI’s work at times. Ralph Himmelsbach never interviewed Tina even though she moved to the Portland area after the skyjacking for medical treatment and then spent decades in Eugene, just two hours south. Is this a proper handling of a primary witness in a major case? More troubling, Himmelsbach’s book reveals—and Dorwin Schreuder confirms—that for much of the Norjak era the Portland FO had a reactionary stance to the investigation, and only responded to leads as they came in to the office. Similarly, Seattle agents, such as Bob Sale and Sid Rubin, have also indicated that the Cooper case was near-dormant in the Seattle FO between the money find in 1980 and the resurgence in the late 1990s.

Further, did silence on the details of the case really serve the investigation? Why didn’t a single FBI agent attend the DB Cooper Symposium in 2011 or 2013 or the CooperCons in 2018 and 2019? What did that avoidance achieve? What kind of investigatory integrity did that maintain?

At times, it appears that FBI agents don’t talk with one another, either, even when working on the same case. Researcher Galen Cook has a telling story on this subject:

    Seems like the NORJAK agents die by the vine, but DB Cooper lives on. The Bureau must hate that. No one ever hears from Carr since he left. He e-mailed me about six months after I started talking with Eng, but Eng wasn’t too enthused that I was still talking with Carr about the case. Led me to believe that the agents aren’t necessarily on the same page, and rather territorial of their own turf, even among other agents.

Part of this non-sharing with fellow agents was fostered by J. Edgar Hoover. As discussed previously, Hoover awarded cash bonuses to agents who busted tough cases, so field agents had an incentive not to share since it could cost them money. Plus, we have the pressures seeping from the mundane area of internal politics: promotions based upon performance, and assignments determined by one’s status within the office.

As for my relationship with FBI agents, when I ask questions beyond their initial set story they balk. I call it the “One and Done” scenario. I get one good interview—usually a recitation of their well-rehearsed narrative—then, nothing. Follow-up phone calls and emails go unanswered. Thus, I strongly suspect that what I was told initially was a spin job, and they don’t want me to scratch beneath the surface.

More troubling, formal communications with the FBI become seriously strained in 2015 when I was informed the FBI had a new policy for communicating with journalists. Simply, the FBI stopped talking to anyone about Norjak unless the contact was specifically authorized. After years of exchanging increasingly opaque emails with PIO Ayn Dietrich-Williams, she finally stated the obvious on December 7, 2015:

    “The FBI’s media policy prohibits discussing ongoing investigations unless a release is specifically thought to have potential benefit to the investigation.

    “…I understand your continued interest in our investigation and apologize that I will not be able to share additional information to answer your questions.”

Nevertheless, I have not abandoned all hope in the FBI, and I will be providing them with a “Special Edition” of this book, complete with phone numbers and contact information for all of the major figures of the case. At least then, the Bureau will have a comprehensive overview of the case for future investigators to consult.

Of course, they can call me anytime for assistance.

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41 Responses to DB Cooper – Assessing the FBI’s investigation

  1. Daniel C Meyers says:

    Hi Bruce, according to Eric Ulis, Sheridan Peterson was not eliminated with DNA. In your article here you said that he was. Are you sure that he was eliminated?

  2. brucesmith49 says:

    Actually, Mark Metzler said that, but due to formatting issues his quote was lost. WP has a new editing system and i haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.

    Nevertheless, I tend to agree with Mark. Mary Jean Fryar, the FBI agent who swabbed Sheridan, told me that she was informed by her colleagues in the SF Division that the DNA from SP ruled him out. However, she has said something slightly different to Eric Ulis, who is currently claiming that Petey has not been ruled-out.

    • Eric Ulis says:

      I can assure you that this did not happen. I know Mary Jean well–in fact she reached out to me today to discuss a separate matter–and she told me that she never received any DNA results one way or the other.

  3. brucesmith49 says:

    I hear ya. But, as I recall the exchange, MJF relayed to me that she was told verbally and in a non-official capacity by an FBI colleague.

    • Marla says:

      Robert Blevins:
      Boo hoo! Bwaaaaaa!! Go home to your mommy and cry. Say goodbye to the cruel world. No one cares. Let real men and women solve the Cooper case. Go camping with your mommy.

  4. FLYJACK says:

    Did they get DNA from the cigarette butts, or not??

    If they did Petey was eliminated..

    https://www.outsideonline.com/1874171/end-run#close

    “The FBI recently visited Weber’s Florida home and removed gloves, an electric shaver, and hair samples, presumably for the purpose of extracting Duane’s DNA to compare with that extracted from cigarette butts that the hijacker left behind. The FBI has confirmed that the case is still open, and will remain so indefinitely.”

    https://uspa.org/p/the-secrets-of-db-cooper-part-three-criminal-profile

    “Peterson told the FBI that if he himself hijacked the 727, he would have “insisted upon a helmet, been wearing boots, warm clothing and gloves. And a flashlight to spot my landing.” Although the FBI obviously felt Peterson was a credible suspect who may have survived the jump, both DNA and fingerprint analysis cleared him as a suspect.”

    • brucesmith49 says:

      I don’t know if the FBI got any DNA from the cigarette butts.

      What I do know is that Larry Carr posted on the DZ in 2009 that the butts “were processed” circa 2003, and he later said that they were lost.

      He also told me that DNA was retrieved from skin epithelial cells on the tie clasp. Later FBI PIO Ayn Dietrich-Williams announced that there were three separate DNA samples on the tie, all male.

  5. Eric Ulis says:

    So if the FBI got DNA from the cigarette butts Sheridan was eliminated? Really? Prove it.

    Also, I assume you realize that the quote from Musika’s story comes from Sheridan’s own pronouncement that Mary Jean Fryar told him that he was cleared by virtue of the DNA? And, that this is a lie?

    Hell of a compelling argument.

    • FLYJACK says:

      Hey pinhead, I am neutral on it and not making any argument. GET A GRIP.

      I simply asked the question as it it was reported in a few places.

      Comparing DNA to the tie doesn’t actually clear any suspect because they don’t know if Cooper’s DNA was actually collected.

      If DNA was taken from the cig butts that is a different story.

      You don’t have evidence Sheridan wasn’t cleared yet claim it as fact.

      Just like you claim as fact the river only reached the money spot in 72/74.. that is FALSE.

      • Eric Ulis says:

        Pinhead. I love it!

      • FLYJACK says:

        What else can you call somebody who can’t read? cranium challenged?

        There is NO argument there.. it was a question.

      • Eric Ulis says:

        “If they did Petey was eliminated..”

        The comment from you above is a question? I’m cranium challenged? Checkmate!

      • FLYJACK says:

        Yes, it is simple logic..

        The cig butts were only Cooper’s DNA IF they compared Petey to the cigg butts and it was neg Petey is eliminated.. If it was a positive Petey would have been pursued with further testing..

        What exactly do I need to prove??

  6. brucesmith49 says:

    Yes, the comments Flyjack uses to suggest that DNA was derived from the cigarette butts is weak. One source is a tiny article on Outside magazine – hardly an investigative source. And Parachutist magazine and Mooshie’s article are not all that investigatory, either.

    Remember, Mooshie left the 2011 Symposium after an hour to go “shopping.” Not the hallmark behavior of a dogged reporter.

    • Eric Ulis says:

      The more important point is that if–and that is a big “if”–the FBI did get DNA off the cigarettes, which I highly doubt, how do we know what they know or don’t know? How can we assume the strength of the profile for the purposes of eliminating or convicting someone? We can’t. Therefore, such grand pronouncements simply because a suspect or investigator is not liked is just plain stupid. Like I said, prove it.

    • FLYJACK says:

      I never suggested it or tried to make any argument for cig butt DNA one way or the other,,

      it was a question??..

      I never thought they did.. but there a are some reports they did.

  7. brucesmith49 says:

    Editor’s Note:

    My Dear Flyjack, and all MN readers: Please do not call anyone “Pinhead,” or other derogatory names. Thank you.

  8. brucesmith49 says:

    A warrior calls things by their proper name. A Gentleman leaves their opponent’s dignity intact in the hopes of a better conversation in the future.

    No, Johnnie, “Butthead” is not approved. But I’m leaving your comment up – for a change – to serve as an example.

    • FLYJACK says:

      Perfectly accurate in context..

      pinhead noun

      pin·​head | \ ˈpin-ˌhed \
      Definition of pinhead
      1 : the head of a pin
      2 : something very small or insignificant
      3 : a very dull or stupid person : FOOL

  9. grapesofwrath says:

    Instead of commending Bruce for publishing yet another intriguing article and/or having a constructive dialogue about the case, we are reducing ourselves to children who call each other “pinheads”. In any case, thanks for the read.

    • FLYJACK says:

      GOW,

      You must be new..

      I posted a valid question about cig butt DNA relating to the content in Bruce’s piece. In an attempt to defend his Sheridan narrative, Eric aggressively attacked my valid question with a strawman.. misrepresenting my question as my argument/claim, the strawman then mocking it.

      Funny thing here is I never thought the cig butts were DNA tested.. nobody really knows.

      So, I am being mocked/disrespected by Eric for a claim that I never believed, that is how completely screwy it is to deal with Eric. Throw logic, reason and basic comprehension out the window…

      He aggressively attacks real or perceived threats to his Sheridan narrative. So, I disagree with Bruce, Eric does not deserve respect and my description was entirely accurate.

      There isn’t any intelligent person with a high level knowledge of the case that thinks Sheridan was Cooper..

      Finding out if the cig butts were DNA tested or not is HUGE for this case.

      • grapesofwrath says:

        FLYJACK,

        Everyone has a right to believe someone is Cooper. Eric is more than welcome to post about and explore his theories on Sheridan Peterson. Whether or not you agree is your prerogative. This is a 48-year-old case. Every “citizen sleuth” should be able to have a discussion without schoolyard taunting.

      • FLYJACK says:

        Of course everyone has a right to their own view that is obvious.. I never claimed he can’t express them…

        Eric has spent the last year and half calling me a liar and troll for pointing out facts that refute his narrative. Eric has proven he does not deserve my respect.

        I always give people respect until they disrespect me.. there is a small group that have disrespected me to various degrees. Eric is one.

        Notice he didn’t respond when I pointed out that his claim as fact that the River reaching the money spot only in the 72/74 flood was false. That is one example, he has many many false claims.

        He refuses to acknowledge facts that don’t fit his narrative..

        Eric has a history of twisting things to defend and maintain his narrative,, my comment was an accurate response to his attack.. if people don’t like it, too bad.

        What did he say… “Hell of a compelling argument” after mocking the quotes.. “prove it”

        I never made an argument, I actually never thought the cig butts were DNA tested but now he demands I prove it… you see, it is bizarro world.. all too common in the Cooper world.. it is like trying to reason with children sometimes…

        He demands I prove something I never argued or believed… He was attacking me with a straw man… he does this when he feels challenged. It is weak and it is dishonest.

        Now, we waste all this time and energy discussing something inconsequential.. and Eric avoids answering questions as usual.

  10. brucesmith49 says:

    Accuracy, in this case, is subjective. Regardless, accuracy does not necessarily convey respect. Hence, “Pinhead” is not acceptable here.

    • FLYJACK says:

      Respect is earned…

      Misrepresenting my question WITH TWO QUESTION MARKS IN IT as an argument is FOOLISH, disrespectful and probably intentional.

      There is no intellectually honest discussion or debate from people like this.

  11. Eric Ulis says:

    You are trying to twist the argument around and claim that I am saying that you are convinced that the cigarette butts were tested. That is not true.

    What I am pointing out is that you said that “Petey” was eliminated if the cigarettes gave up DNA. That is a foolish comment. As I stated previously, prove it.

    • FLYJACK says:

      That is twisting it,,

      I never claimed the cig butts were tested, I always thought they weren’t… So, why would I need to prove something that I never believed.. You have played a strawman.

      I was pointing out that the DNA from the cig butts (IF TESTED) are more reliable than the tie which is beyond obvious. A single donor known to be Cooper.

      DNA from the cig butts would have only come from Cooper except the one Tina smoked. DNA from the tie has many donors (14?) and none may be Cooper. A match or non match to the tie partial DNA does not really exclude or include.

      You twisted it. Not me.

      We have an odd conundrum.. with only three possibilities.

      1 Bruce is lying/mistaken

      2 Eric is lying/mistaken

      3 FBI agent Fryar is lying to one of you.

  12. Eric Ulis says:

    New YouTube video.

    • FLYJACK says:

      Pure conjecture, Eric…

      You still refuse to admit that Cooper’s initial demand was to have the airstairs lowered inflight. Also, his demand to fly to anywhere to Mex nonstop in US was sincere.. there is no way he would make a demand knowing it would be rejected.further, Cooper was described as Latin American in appearance and features.. an obvious connection to South of the US border. Everybody seems to conveniently ignore this.

      Hahneman hijacked a short 40 min PA to DC flight and ended up flying to Mex having the plane loop over Honduras for his jump, the plane landed in Mex.

      He chose that flight to hijack for two reasons.

      1,, It was short and would not have sky marshals.

      2,, it was expected to be a light passenger load.

      Cooper may have chosen 305 for those same reasons.

      Hahneman left the US to establish residency in Honduras in Jan 1972, he hadn’t lived there since he was 12 years old. He used an altered name and false birthdate… it appears he was trying to hide. He returned to the US to commit his hijacking in May..

  13. brucesmith49 says:

    Your commentary made me think of another angle. Perhaps DB Cooper was highly selective of his LZ. Did he like SW Washington better than central Oregon?

    Yes, I know that you strongly favor the notion that DBC wanted to land close to Seattle/Tacoma and was planning on jumping right away after take-off.

    But maybe he was allowing for delays. Maybe he just wanted to jump at 8:15pm. Did it really take him 40 minutes to get ready? It seems like he spent a lot of time by himself after Tina went up to the cockpit. What was he doing? Waiting? Tying all his gear together? Cinching the money bag even tighter? Having dinner?

    Who knows!

  14. brucesmith49 says:

    This conversation reminds me of a discussion I had with Darren on a recent podcast. If you had to pick the BEST LZ in the USA to do the jack, where would you go? I’d pick Harlan County, Kentucky – Hillbilly country, moonshine and oxy traffickers – they hate the FBI. A guy like DB Cooper would be landing among kindred spirits.

  15. brucesmith49 says:

    Or fly to Mexico for real. Jump in the Sinaloa Mountains. It’d be like ol’ Kentuck…. with Tequila instead.

  16. Eric Ulis says:

    It’s important to remember that the only reason Tina was in the back with DBC was because he needed her assistance with the airstairs. If the pilots had agreed to take off with the airstairs down then Tina would have likely been allowed off the jet in Seattle or to have stayed in the cockpit the entire time.

    As for the delay, this is easy. In addition to securing the money bag, he also had to secure the attache’ case, the off-white paper bag, the overflow packets of twenties and anything else he took with him. I believe he did this utilizing an unfolded dummy reserve.

    Then, realizing that jumping into utter blackness was close to suicidal, I believe DBC waited to see signs of civilization below, and alas the glow of metro-Portland/Vancouver arrived. He then jumped.

  17. brucesmith49 says:

    All plausible scenarios based upon known facts. Could make for a great discussion over beers at CooperCon21!

    • Eric Ulis says:

      I’m very disappointed that CC2020 couldn’t materialize because of Covid. That said, CC2021 will be the biggie given that it will mark the 50th anniversary of the skyjacking. Interestingly, the 50th Anniversary will also fall on Thanksgiving Eve just as the event itself did 50 years earlier.

      I like the idea of having several panel discussions about a variety of subjects as opposed to an array of lectures. Panel discussions also allow for audience involvement which people always seem to like.

  18. shutter45 says:

    For those who can’t see the new photo I presented on my forum I will provide a link to the screenshot. the file is too large to post. the photo was taken May 6, 1980. it’s not the best but it better than anyone can find. https://drive.google.com/file/d/14cltNnttZfqeUeSakbr-AX8NJHwcu8lm/view?usp=sharing

    • Marla says:

      So glad to see the real workhorses from the DB Cooper case weighing in at MN. Flyjack, Eric Ulis, Bruce, Shutter, even Georger…
      No need to ever check the DropZone again. It’s probably all junk straight from the junk king, Robert Blevins. But who cares. I don’t go there.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Neither do I, Marla. Nothing there anymore. All the heavy weights are either at The Forum or Mountain News. And Blevins is kicked off those sites. Bruce and Dave ……… smart guys.

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