Wednesday, June 20, 2007

D.B. Cooper

On November 24, Thanksgiving eve, 1971, a unknown man hijacked a Northwest Orient Boeing 727 in Portland, Oregon, said he had a bomb in his briefcase, and demanded $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. He had the plane land, unload the 36 passengers, and picked up the cash and parachutes.

A little while after taking off with only the crew members, he lowered the backstairs and bailed out with the money. He's never been found since, dead or alive. However, some $5800 in cash was found along the Columbia River some years later.

The purpose of this telling is not to reiterate the story, but to announce that we think we know who D.B. Cooper was, and to solicite some help. Anyone who googles D.B. Cooper will find many accounts of the episode.

Our suspect was 45 years old at the time of the hijacking, an employee of Northwest Orient, and an experienced parachutist. He was a bourbon drinker, and a heavy smoker, as was Cooper, who ordered a bourbon on the plane and chain-smoked.

Our suspect lived in the Seattle area, but was originally from the Midwest. Although he retired from Northwest, he never had a bank account. Two years after the hijacking he purchased a house in the Seattle area, for cash, in $20 bills.

We have photographs of our suspect, one in a Northwest Orient flight attendant's uniform, and a mugshot that closely matches the FBI's composite drawing. We also have a thumbprint from his Army discharge papers (where he learned parachuting) and some DNA evidence.

There were two stewardesses on D.B. Cooper's (a fictitious name given to the hijacker by the media). They were Florence Schaffner and Tina Mucklow. We understand that Ms. Mucklow became a nun and is now sequestered in a convent.

First Officer Bob Rataczak, and the flight engineer H.E. Anderson also got a look at Cooper, as well as at least two passengers, Richard Simmons and his wife Barbara Simmons. The pilot is deceased.

If you're following this case, and know the whereabouts of any of the individuals listed above, we'd love to hear from you. Better still, if you're any of the people we listed, call today. We'd like to send these people copies of the photos we have and see if they recognize our suspect as being the man known as D.B. Cooper.

The FBI is also interested in this, but we're not ready to give up the information we have.