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What Is It?
The identity of DB Cooper remains one of the most captivating mysteries. Shortly after the plane took off, he handed a note to the flight attendant. He asked for $200,000, four parachutes and a refueling. Once the plane landed and his demands were met, the 36 passengers were released. As per Cooper’s orders and instructions the plane took off again with only him and four crew members on it. At one point, Cooper told the crew members to remain in the cockpit. He then took the money, opened an airstair and parachuted out of the plane in mid-air.
Number 5 Walter R. Reca
There is considerable circumstantial evidence linking Michigan-native Walter R. Reca to the DB Cooper case. In 2008, he confessed that he was DB Cooper to his friend and fellow expert parachuter, Carl Laurin, in a recorded conversation. Laurin concluded that Reca had landed near Cle Elum, Washington. He met a man who’d given Reca a ride on the night he’d supposedly parachuted out of the airplane. The man, a Cle Elum native, recognized Reca from a photo Laurin sent him. The media outlet released a documentary, which tracks the investigation, in July 2018.
Number 4 Richard Floyd McCoy Jr
He asked for $500,000 in cash and four parachutes. Once the airplane was back in the sky, he jumped out over Provo, Utah. He was subsequently caught and given a 45-year sentence. When the rumors started flowing, he neither confirmed nor denied being DB Cooper.
Where Is It Located?
On November 24, 1971, a man who’d only identified himself as “Dan Copper” took control of the Boeing 727-100 in the airspace between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. The alias DB Cooper, which eventually stuck, was actually the result of a news miscommunication. Cooper was described as being in his mid-forties, of medium height and build. Composite sketches of his face are, so far, the only source of identification. He wore loafers, a black raincoat, a neatly pressed dark suit and a collared shirt with a clip-on tie. DNA was recovered from his tie but it’s still uncertain if the samples do indeed belong to Cooper. Throughout the time, those who interacted with Cooper described him as calm and composed. One flight attendant described him as polite and well-spoken while another said he “seemed rather nice”. After refuelling at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Cooper gave his flight plan to the crew. It was a southeast course towards Mexico City at minimum airspeed and an altitude of 10,000 feet. His landing zone was initially believed to have been at the southernmost point of Mount St. Helens, near an artificial lake, but further analysis placed it in the drainage area of the Washougal River.
Number 3 William J. Smith
It’s believed that Smith developed a grudge against the transportation industry and corporate establishment. He had the necessary training to jump out of the airplane as well as the knowledge to find railroad tracks and escape by hopping on a train. His resemblance to the sketches was described as “remarkable”. When approached by media outlets, they refused to comment on Smith.
Number 2 Kenneth Christiansen
Kenneth Christiansen was proposed as a suspect by his brother, Lyle. The man did so after watching a DB Cooper documentary in 2003. His family found gold coins, a valuable stamp collection and over $200,000 in his bank account. However, it was later found that he’d sold off some land, which may have accounted for the large sum of money. Kenneth’s age matched the timeline but he was shorter and thinner than the Cooper descriptions. Nevertheless, there are a number of similarities to take into account. He was left-handed, a smoker, had a fondness for bourbon and had trained as a paratrooper. One of the flight attendants also said that, from the descriptions she’d been shown, Kenneth resembled Cooper the best. He was hired to work as a mechanic for Northwest Orient Airlines, the company that operated the DB Cooper flight, in the 1950s.
Number 1 Robert Rackstraw
Robert Rackstraw is another worthwhile DB Cooper candidate and a man that definitely had a taste for mischief. However, he was eliminated as a suspect in 1979, for lack of concrete evidence. Fresh reports emerged in 2016, in a new investigation which had allegedly obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act. However, he added that the admission had been a stunt.