There’s a Crazy New Update in the D.B. Cooper Case

America's only unsolved hijacking may be nearing a resolution

January 23, 2017 9:00 am

That’s not clickbait, Scout’s Honor.

There really is a crazy new update in the case of D.B. Cooper. 

Forty-five years ago, Cooper jumped out of a low-flying Boeing 727 somewhere between Seattle and Reno with a parachute on his back and — presumably — $200,000 strapped to his body. Cooper was never found. Neither was the money — except for $5,800 in $20 bills, with serial numbers matching Cooper’s stash, found by a boy digging in the sand, near Portland, Oregon, in 1980. 

Nearly a half-century after the heist, theories abound. The culprit — a well-dressed businessman in his 40s — was serial killer John List. He was a paratrooper. He was the uncle of this lady from Oklahoma. He was Donald Draper. He was, in fact, the subject of dozens of cold-case investigations by armchair sleuths and the focus of a faintly admiring FBI profile

Now, some of those sleuths think they might have come up with the first new lead in years. 

The one thing Cooper left behind was a black, J.C. Penney clip-on tie. When was the last time you washed your tie? Because most men don’t wash their ties often. Including Cooper, who left one on the notorious plane. And on the tie, modern-day sleuths have identified traces of titanium. 

Chances are, you don’t have a lot of titanium on your tie. Unless, that is, you work in aeronautics — narrowing the possible suspects to a “limited number of managers or engineers in the titanium field that would wear ties to work.” And those engineers or managers, the sleuths believe, would likely have worked for Boeing, which was then developing a plane that required the use of titanium. “He was either an engineer or a manager in one of the plants,” said Tom Kaye, a volunteer with Citizen Sleuths

The group has called on the public to volunteer useful information. To see more information on their research — including deep dives into subjects such as “Imaging and Identification of Tie Particles” — check out their website

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