Last Updated on March 18, 2023 by Aiden Frank
The D.B. Cooper case, also known as the Norjak case, refers to an unsolved airplane hijacking that took place on November 24th, 1971.
A man who identified himself as Dan Cooper, mistakenly referred to as D.B. Cooper in the press due to typical bad reporting, hijacked a Northwest Orient Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle.
After receiving $200,000 (USD) in ransom and four parachutes, Cooper parachuted out of the plane somewhere over the Pacific Northwest. His true identity and whereabouts have remained a mystery ever since.
Several suspects have been proposed over the years, but none have been definitively proven to be D.B. Cooper. There have been many suspects over the years and FIFTEEN of them are lined up below.
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1. Richard Floyd McCoy Jr.
McCoy hijacked a plane in a similar manner in 1972 and was caught, leading some to suspect he was also responsible for the D.B. Cooper hijacking. However, he was ruled out by the FBI due to differences in physical appearance and other evidence.
2. Duane Weber
Weber confessed to being D.B. Cooper on his deathbed in 1995, but there was insufficient evidence to verify his claim. Some of his personal items were similar to items used in the hijacking, and he had a criminal history, but the FBI could not find any direct links.
3. Robert Rackstraw
A former Army paratrooper, Rackstraw was considered a suspect in the late 1970s but was later ruled out by the FBI. Some independent investigators, however, still believe that he may have been Cooper due to his military experience, appearance, and alleged criminal history.
In 2016, Thomas Colbert, a TV and film producer, claimed that he had identified D.B. Cooper as Robert W. Rackstraw. Although Rackstraw was mentioned in a previous response, Colbert’s investigation included new evidence such as decoded letters sent to newspapers after the hijacking.
The FBI did not find Colbert’s evidence compelling enough to reopen the case.
4. Kenneth Christiansen
A former Northwest Orient Airlines employee, Christiansen was named as a suspect by his brother, who claimed that he had hinted about being involved in the hijacking. Christiansen’s appearance and background matched the description of D.B. Cooper, but authorities could not find any direct evidence linking him to the crime.
5. Walter Reca
In 2018, a group called Principia Investigative Group claimed they had identified D.B. Cooper as Walter Reca, a former military paratrooper. However, an investigation did not find evidence compelling enough to reopen the case.
6. William J. Smith
Smith was a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier who was investigated as a suspect in the 1970s. He had a criminal background and was familiar with the Pacific Northwest, but he was ultimately ruled out by the FBI.
7. Lynn Doyle Cooper
A team of amateur investigators, led by a forensic expert, suggested that Lynn Doyle Cooper might have been D.B. Cooper in 2011. He was a logger and outdoorsman from Oregon, and his niece claimed that he disappeared around the time of the hijacking.
The FBI examined the evidence provided by the investigators but did not find it conclusive enough to definitively link Lynn Doyle Cooper to the crime.
8. Sheridan Peterson
Peterson, a former Boeing employee and experienced skydiver, was considered a suspect because of his knowledge of the aircraft involved in the hijacking and his parachuting experience. However, he denied any involvement in the case, and no conclusive evidence was found to link him to the crime.
9. Barbara Dayton
A transgender woman who underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1969, Dayton claimed in her autobiography that she was D.B. Cooper.
She said she committed the crime to protest the discrimination she faced as a transgender person. However, her claims were never verified, and she was not considered a serious suspect.
10. Jack Coffelt
A former Northwest Orient Airlines employee and convicted conman, was considered a suspect by some independent investigators. He had claimed to know the identity of D.B. Cooper, but the FBI did not find his claims credible, and no concrete evidence linked him to the crime.
11. Ted Mayfield
A skydiving instructor and former Marine with a criminal background, Mayfield was considered a suspect due to his knowledge of parachuting and the fact that he was in the Pacific Northwest at the time of the hijacking. But there is no strong evidence linking him to the crime.
12. John List
List, who murdered his entire family in 1971 and went on the run, was proposed as a suspect in the D.B. Cooper case by some independent investigators. Due to a lack of evidence, his name was ruled out but there are some investigators who still link him to the mystery.
13. Joseph Lakich
Lakich was an airline mechanic with a criminal history who was investigated as a possible suspect in the 1970s. He was familiar with the Boeing 727 aircraft used in the hijacking.
He had a background that might have made him capable of committing the crime. However, no conclusive evidence was found linking him to the hijacking, and the FBI ultimately ruled him out as a suspect.
14. Marla Cooper’s Uncle
Marla Cooper, who came forward in 2011, claimed that her late uncle, L.D. Cooper was D.B. Cooper. She said that she had overheard her uncle and another man discussing the hijacking plot. Despite her claims, the FBI did not find her story credible, and her uncle was never considered a prime suspect.
15. James Klansnic
Klansnic was proposed as a potential suspect by a retired pilot named Marty Andrade, who conducted his own investigation into the D.B. Cooper case. Klansnic, a former U.S. Army paratrooper and pilot, had a background that could have made him capable of committing the hijacking.
He also had experience working with cargo planes similar to the Boeing 727 used in the hijacking. However, there is no concrete evidence linking Klansnic to the crime, and the FBI has not officially considered him a suspect.
The identity of D.B. Cooper may never be discovered.
While these are some of the most plausible suspects in the D.B. Cooper case, none of them have been definitively proven to be D.B. Cooper. The case remains unsolved, and it is difficult to determine which, if any, of these suspects might be the true identity of the infamous hijacker.
The true identity of D.B. Cooper may never be discovered, as the passage of time and the death of potential suspects make it increasingly difficult to find conclusive evidence.
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