A volunteer group that remains fascinated by the 46-year-old cold case of D.B. Cooper believes it has uncovered “potential evidence.”
Thomas Colbert, a TV and film executive who helped put together the team with his partner and wife Dawna, confirmed to Fox News that his group had uncovered what “appears to be a decades-old parachute strap.”
The D.B. Cooper case began as a hijacking that took place on Nov. 24, 1971, when a man calling himself Dan Cooper hijacked a Northwest Orient Boeing 727 and demanded a $200,000 ransom. After receiving the money, “Cooper” jumped out the back of the plane wearing a business suit and a parachute.
No trace of Cooper has ever been found, though some bundles of the ransom cash amounting to $5,800 were uncovered in 1980 on the banks of the Columbia River, which marks the border between Washington and Oregon.
From Fox News:
Colbert declined to make the precise location of his crew’s dig public, but claimed the potential strap was located “right where a credible source claimed the chute and remaining money are buried.” Colbert added that he planned to pass the possible evidence to the FBI on Friday, while his team would offer the dig site to the Bureau on Monday.
In July 2016, the FBI announced that it was no longer actively investigating the case. Two months later, Colbert filed a federal lawsuit aimed at obtaining the FBI’s entire file on the Cooper case. On Wednesday, Colbert said that archived FBI field reports helped corroborate information from a couple that led to the site of his team’s most recent dig.
Colbert, who maintains a website, DBCooper.com, and has co-written a book about the case with veteran writer Tom Szollosi, believes they have identified Robert Rackstraw, a 73-year-old Army veteran with a prior criminal record, as “Dan Cooper.” However, investigators questioned Rackstraw about the Cooper case in 1978 and eliminated him as a suspect the following year. Rackstraw himself has repeatedly denied any involvement in the caper.
The FBI could not immediately be reached for comment on Colbert’s claims. However, Bill Baker, the Bureau’s former assistant director of criminal investigations, has said the idea that Rackstraw is Dan Cooper needs another look.
“Look…this is more than a theory, and you have a [living suspect] that has all the attributes of someone to do this successfully,” Baker said. “These are issues that have to be examined and weighed [by the FBI].”
Yet, FBI Special Agent Frank Montoya announced last year that the FBI was not interested in new leads. “Unfortunately, none of the well-meaning tips or applications of new investigative technology have yielded the necessary proof. Every time the FBI assesses additional tips … investigative resources and manpower are diverted from programs that more urgently need attention,” he said.
Earlier this year, researchers speculated that Cooper might have been a Boeing employee, Western Journalism reports.
A group called Citizen Sleuths analyzed residue from the clip-on tie left behind by Cooper. They found cerium, strontium sulfide and pure titanium.
“These are what they call rare earth elements. They’re used in very narrow fields, for very specific things,” said lead researcher Tom Kaye.
He said the elements were not in widespread use in 1971, but they were used by Boeing in its development of the supersonic transport plane.
What do you think about this new development? Do you think the FBI should continue investigating the mystery of DB Cooper or not? Let us know in the comments below!