By William S. Rollins III, Guest Contributor
In his book, DB Cooper and the FBI, author Bruce Smith talks about a controversial method of discovering past events, a practice called “Remote Viewing.” Bruce discusses his experiences with Remote Viewing, and some of the people that he made contact with.
Although I did not employ the Remote Viewing methodology, I have found the man that we all know as D. B. Cooper as a result of two major factors; Spiritual Guidance and logic. I define Spiritual Guidance as knowledge that is conveyed via some unknown or unrecognized communication channel. I would describe it as being akin to mental telepathy. As I state in my book, “there are forces at work in this universe that are far beyond what we understand.”
Four and a half years ago, I started my research into the case of D. B. Cooper. As I examined the conditions for Cooper’s skydive, I thought, “What is going through this man’s head?” Here is a middle-aged man jumping from the rear of a jet aircraft on a cold, rainy November night, and he can’t even see the ground. I knew something wasn’t right.
Then I read an article posted in the Mountain News, a brief review of the discussion that Jo Weber had with Tina Mucklow in 2003. Tina reportedly told Jo “He was a very sad man.” I thought to myself, “I wonder if something tragic has happened to this man?”
Instantly, I was overcome with emotion, my head down on my desk, and I was crying uncontrollably. It was as if someone had just told me that my wife and son had perished, and I was left alone in this world. I felt such utter despair and emotional devastation. I no longer had a purpose in life, so I didn’t want to live anymore, I wanted to be with them. Thus, I contemplated suicide.
But as I planned my ultimate demise, I remembered a key fact. Whatever happened to this man’s family wasn’t an accident, it was preventable. Thus, he harbored a grudge. I thought, “Why waste my life by jumping off a cliff, when I can jump out of an airplane and get my revenge.” So now my life had a purpose – revenge.
After coming to this realization, my emotional episode began to simmer. Although still quite shaken by this event, I was able to stop crying and lift my head off my desk. But I knew this was an external influence that had caused me to understand this man and his emotions. A few days later, I would question whether this was truly an external influence and returned to this emotional outburst, again, crying uncontrollably. At this point I realized that I had been given very important information; this man had endured some tragedy and his grudge was his motivation, not the ransom money.
Although some will dismiss Spiritual Guidance as pseudoscience, I have not shied away from devoting a chapter in my book to this phenomenon, nor did I exclude it from my podcast on the Cooper Vortex. Spiritual Guidance is the essential ingredient that has allowed me to unravel this mystery.
So, as a pilot familiar with aviation and air traffic control, and as an engineer trained to be calculating and logical, I uncovered Cooper’s ingenious plan. It was obvious that this man got away. I was compelled to write in my book what I had discovered.
After finishing my book, I began searching for this man. I searched for a man who had endured some tragic event, but would have held a grudge. Many would be eliminated, but one man fit all of the attributes of D. B. Cooper. As I kept finding more information, I still could not eliminate this man.
Now, the evidence is overwhelming. Just as the Citizen Sleuths completed a probability analysis on Cooper’s tie, I completed a probability analysis on the man I had found, a quiet, polite man from Nashville, Tennessee named Joe Lakich. He is one-in-a-trillion. I realized D. B. Cooper can be no one else.
Initially, I had very few pictures of Joe Lakich, and some had poor resolution. However, in the summer of 2020, I received several pictures of Joe. When I lined up his face with the FBI sketch of D. B. Cooper, it was a miraculous match. It was the evidence that “sealed the deal.”
As I look back over these past four and a half years, I am humbled by what has happened. In July of 2016, I was just another person with a casual interest in knowing the outcome of the D. B. Cooper case. Within four days of research (starting with the announcement that the FBI had closed the case), I knew with 100% certainty that something tragic had happened to this man, and his grudge was his motivation.
Since then, I have written a book that details this man’s ingenious plan, and searched through history to find his identity. But none of this would have been possible without Spiritual Guidance. As I reflect on these events, I realize that I have been chosen to find this man and tell his story.
Feeling this obligation to relate the events of late 1971, I decided it would be appropriate to inform the FBI of my findings. I had sent information to Larry Carr in the past, via an email address that was supplied by the citizens of Cooperville. However, I never received any replies or even an acknowledgment that he had read my information.
Thus, in early September of 2020, I contacted an FBI media relations person in Boston, since I live in New Hampshire. Kristen was helpful, and I explained that I knew the identity of D. B. Cooper. Due to her young age, I don’t think she even knew who D. B. Cooper was. I explained that the overall result of this case would be a black eye for the FBI, but at least a 49-year old case would be solved. Her opinion was that the FBI would want closure.
I mentioned that Larry Carr would be the ideal agent to contact, as in this video, he states that if the case ever reopened, he would be the first with hand up saying “me, me, me.” She agreed to help me contact Larry.
Two weeks went by, and I had not received a reply from Kristen. As it turns out, she had passed my request on to her counterpart in the Seattle office. She sent a reminder, and shortly thereafter I was contacted via email by a media relations person at FBI Headquarters.
In essence, this crew of three media personnel were trying to decide how I should get my information to Larry. They would not confirm or deny his email address, and by early October, hadn’t come to any conclusions. Time was of the essence, so I sent the following email message to Larry on October 2nd, with a copy to each of the three media relations personnel.
I have been trying to reach you for nearly a month (through the FBI offices), but time is running out.
This coming Sunday, October 4th, is an important anniversary, as this is the date where the story of D. B. Cooper begins.
I would ask that you watch this YouTube video on what is now referred to as the 58 November incident:
The young woman killed in this incident was named Susan Lakich (maiden name) and she was D. B. Cooper’s daughter. Yes, retired Major Joseph S. Lakich was D. B. Cooper. The attached presentation spells it out. He is one-in-10-billion; it can be no one else. And if there never was this 58 November incident, there never would have been a D. B. Cooper.
Interestingly enough, Ralph Himmelsbach mentions this incident in his book Norjak. Also, the attached FBI documents prove that Cooper hijacked Flight 305 because he had a grudge to settle. Also note that more than 30 years after the Cooper hijacking, Tina would tell Jo Weber that “Cooper was a very sad man” Joe hijacked the plane just 51 days after his daughter was killed.
I have been told that Joe adored his daughter Susan. After her death, I believe he in some ways felt life wasn’t worth living. So, he became Dan Cooper, and took on a daring mission in the name of Justice, Justice for his daughter Susan. And as Ckret knows, no skydiver in his right mind is making this jump for the money!
I believe it is time for a documentary film on this man and the real D. B. Cooper. I am asking for your help. Here are the reasons why this documentary is necessary:
- Ralph has passed away and so has Capt. Scott and others. We need to preserve history. Bill Rataczak told me that he doesn’t do many documentaries because they usually have an agenda, and he only wants to tell the truth. We need for him, other members of the flight crew, and key witnesses to tell their story before they no longer can.
- There is more evidence to be gathered. DNA comparison, additional witnesses, and ultimately, finding the ransom money.
- The world needs to understand the truth of this event.
This could be done in a manner such that your time and expenses, as well as mine, could come from the film budget. It think it could be fun as well!
In closing, Larry, do you have children? This Sunday marks the 49th anniversary of when the D. B. Cooper saga begins. I would like you to look at this enduring mystery from another perspective, that of a man who has lost his lovely daughter and is in deep despair. Perhaps this understanding will help you see who D. B. Cooper was, an everyday person like most of us who just got pushed over the edge.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Note: The presentation that I provided to Larry is similar to my YouTube video “D. B. Cooper – The Man We All Know as D. B. Cooper.” See previously noted link “Evidence” in this article.
I never got a reply from Larry nor the media relations people at the FBI.
Then, in January 2021, I happened to notice that the FBI publishes a magazine called the “Law Enforcement Bulletin.” They actively seek articles from outside contributors. I decided to submit an article for publication. It is shown below.
When Law Enforcement is the Criminal
By William S. Rollins III
Law enforcement is the responsibility of the police, prosecutors, and agents of the government. But it is also the responsibility of the citizens. The general populace wants a safe and secure society where all are free to conduct their daily lives without criminal threats.
And this common ideal is demonstrated every day, as many times law enforcement is able to find and prosecute offenders because they receive help from the general public. This is a healthy relationship; police and the people working together for a common goal.
However, through the past decades, there has become an ever-increasing divide between law enforcement and the citizens they are sworn to serve. In instances where people have felt betrayed by law enforcement, there have been reprisals. Some citizens have even resorted to violence, with just one example being the Dallas Police shootings of 2016, where a man shot and killed five police officers in response to incidents where black men were killed by law enforcement.
I will discuss two distinct historical cases, each with differing stances taken by law enforcement, and each with a profoundly different effect on the reputation of law enforcement personnel.
The first case dates back to 2004 in Boston Massachusetts. The Red Sox baseball team had rallied from a 3-game deficit to win a 7-game series against the New York Yankees, and win the American League pennant. People crowded the streets in celebration. But as is usual for these types of jubilation, some go beyond celebration, and vandalism ensues. The Boston Police responded.
However, to quell the property damage, they used what was deemed to be a non-lethal device, a gun which shot a “rubber bullet”. One bullet missed its intended target and struck an innocent bystander directly in the eye, a young 21-year old student named Victoria Snelgrove. Victoria would succumb to her injuries 12 hours later in the hospital.
But rather than try to divert the blame for Victoria’s death, within hours of the incident, Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole announces, “The Boston Police Department accepts full responsibility for the death of Victoria Snelgrove.” The Boston Police Department made the ethically correct decision. There were no reprisals.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we can find an incident where law enforcement clearly was at fault for the death of innocent people, but refused to accept blame for its negligence. The incident that I refer to happened on October 4th, 1971, and is so notorious that it has its own name, the 58 November hijacking.
Although warned that the hijacker was a dangerous neurotic, and that complying with his demands would assure everyone would be alright, the FBI took a hard stance. When the hijacked charter plane lands in Jacksonville, Florida, the FBI agents refused to refuel the aircraft. They took further steps to impede the hijacker by shooting out the tires and pumping bullets into the operating engine until it stops.
Realizing he was trapped, the hijacker shot and killed the pilot, shot and killed his kidnapped wife, and then shot and killed himself. This incident has earned the distinction as an example of how not to deal with hostage situations.
In the aftermath, there was public outcry that the FBI mishandled the case. The father of the young woman killed, retired Major Joseph Lakich, stated in the media that “The FBI made a gross error” in the way they handled the situation. He later stated in public “The FBI has blood on its hands.” But the FBI insisted that they handled the incident to perfection, and would do exactly the same if the situation were to present itself again.
The families of the victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the FBI. The FBI was not forthcoming with evidence from the incident. They employed legal tactics, for instance, stating “you can’t sue us, we are the government.” When the legal tactics didn’t succeed, the families of the victims were harassed, as they are always followed as they leave their homes. In addition, they received intimidating phone calls in the middle of the night.
But I mention this 58 November incident not because my research started here, but this is where it has ended. As discussed previously, when people feel they have been betrayed by law enforcement, there may be reprisals, and this story is no exception. However, until now, no one has realized that the only unsolved hijacking in the U. S., a 49-year old mystery, the Legend of D. B. Cooper, was one man’s revenge against the FBI.
In July 2016, after the FBI closed the D. B. Cooper investigation, I took a heightened interest in this case. But being an engineer, the forensic evidence, the particles found in Cooper’s clip-on tie, implied he could be an engineer. I took an entirely different perspective on this man; he was not a “dumb criminal,” but rather an intelligent, but everyday person with an intense grudge.
Through research and logic, I uncovered his ingenious plan. I was so overcome by what I had found, that I was compelled to write a book about it.
Knowing Cooper had escaped, and realizing something tragic had happened to this man, I began to search through the tragedies of the day. I looked at the Kent State Massacre, major airline crashes, and even Vietnam War casualties. I examined a few hundred men, all of whom would be eliminated because they didn’t fit the physical description of D. B. Cooper, didn’t have the necessary aviation knowledge, wouldn’t have worn a clip-on tie in a manufacturing environment, etc.
But one incident and one man became my focus. This man was retired Major Joe Lakich, a decorated Army veteran. His daughter Susan was killed in the Five-Eight November incident.
After retirement from the Army in 1961, Joe worked in electronics manufacturing, and all the metals found in Cooper’s tie were utilized in this industry, including titanium, bismuth, gold, silver, and palladium. Joe was stationed in Europe in the late 1950’s, thus his connection to the Dan Cooper comics. He fit the FBI physical description perfectly. But most important was his grudge. As stated, after his daughter was killed, he was quoted as saying “the FBI has blood on its hands.”
I have completed a series of videos that provide the evidence for all of these unique attributes of Joe Lakich. He is one-in-a-trillion! D. B. Cooper can be no one else.
Note that Joe was 50 years old when he hijacked NWA Flight 305 on November 24, 1971.
But unlike other reprisals, this one was non-violent. D. B. Cooper didn’t kill or hurt anyone. He is even described as being “very polite at all times.” While the public can’t condone violent reprisals where innocent police officers are killed, this reprisal is different. This is part of the reason D. B. Cooper has become a folk hero.
The FBI’s negligent handling of the 58 November incident, combined with their failure to accept responsibility, along with the harassment of the families of the victims, certainly is the polar opposite of the Boston Police response to the 2004 death of Victoria Snelgrove.
The title of this article, “When Law Enforcement is the Criminal,” becomes evident as we reflect upon the events of late 1971. For we will realize, that without this 58 November incident, there never would have been a D. B. Cooper. So, when we ask ourselves “who was the real criminal in the D. B. Cooper case?” The answer will be, the FBI itself.
The Editor of the Law Enforcement Bulletin did reply. Her response is below.
Thank you for your e-mail and article submission. We have completed our review. Although the reviewers found the article interesting, they did not feel it was a good fit for the Bulletin.
We appreciate your interest in the LEB and the opportunity to review your article.
It appears that the FBI is still not prepared to make amends for its transgressions of the past.
So, although Bruce Smith’s adventures in Remote Viewing did not yield the results for which he had hoped, I maintain that he received Spiritual Guidance, as the title of his book, DB Cooper and the FBI, is quite prophetic.
In essence, the D. B. Cooper case is a reprisal for the wrongdoings of the FBI.
It is about a man who was so distraught over the death of his daughter that he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. But the negligence, arrogance, and harassment by the FBI was too much. He knew there would be no Justice.
Thus, he drew upon his military training as a logistics officer, utilized his experience in electronics by deploying an avionics device, and used his nautical skills – perhaps even his own ski boat – to give the FBI a case that they never could solve. He had become Dan Cooper, a sensitive but daring military man who had taken on a mission in the name of Justice.
Joe Lakich spanked the FBI.
Through the years, D. B. Cooper has been referred to as a modern-day Robin Hood. In actuality, he is a modern-day Count of Monte Cristo, as he exacts his revenge, but does so in such an eloquent fashion.
William S. Rollins III
Note: The author would like to extend his thanks to Bruce Smith and the Mountain News-WA for this opportunity to be a Guest Contributor.
Author Bill Rollins, above, attended the CooperCon 2019 and has been researching the DB Cooper case for several years. Picture provided courtesy of Mr. Rollins.