Monday, November 05, 2007

D.B. Cooper, New York Magazine

This week's New York magazine has another column dedicated to the mystery of D.B. Cooper. An FBI spokesman said that our suspect, Kenneth Christiansen, was dismissed as a suspect because he did not meet "the threshold of the basic physical description" of the hijacker.

New York says, "Really?" Geoffrey Gray, the author, responded, "One of the FBI's primary witnesses to the crime, stewardess Florence Schaffner, told New York that of all the suspects the FBI has ever shown her thoughout the years, the suspect that look the most like D.B. Cooper is Ken Christiansen. Why would the FBI discount the observations of their own witness?"

What is the FBI's basic description of the hijacker? Here it is: Race: White. Sex: Male. Age: Mid-40s. Height: 5'10'' to 6'. Weight: 170 to 180. Build: Average to well built."

We have a Washington state driver's license that belonged to Kenneth Christiansen. He was 45 years of age in 1971, and according to the driver's license weighed 170 pounds, and was 5'8" in bare feet, which could easily make him 5'10" in shoes. He was white, probably with a suntan, and as a trained paratrooper, well built. And his photo looks astonishing like the FBI composite drawing.

Since Sherlock Investigations revealed the name of Kenneth Christiansen, the FBI has not only reactivated the case, but also gone to the media. They believe that the hijacker plunged to his death after bailing out of the Northwest 727 in 1971. So, any theories of a man surviving the jump are automatically rejected by them.

To this day, they haven't called Sherlock Investigations, or Lyle Christiansen, Kenneth's brother who turned him in. However, several months ago they asked for DNA samples, which we supplied. We're still waiting.


Anonymous said...

Holy smoke. I've read the New York articles and the public statements by the FBI.

I can't believe the Feds would "rule out" a credible suspect so carelessly. They have the DNA of Cooper. They have a photographic match.

It'd be one thing if Flo remembered an Asian guy with blue eyes who was 5 ft. 4. My wife has hazel eyes, but I always thought they were brown until I kissed her for the first time.

It is always easier to appear taller than shorter, too. A bomb alone can add a few inches to a man's perceived stature.

Christiansen was a tan white man who knew how to jump out of an airplane in treacherous conditions, lived in Washington, had access to the airline, and lived comfortably on property acquired on a pursers salary. His folks were Dust Bowlers. Where did his money come from?

Don't hold your breath on the DNA test, though...

Anonymous said...

db cooper did get away.

he had several accomplices but its a funny thing when people don't see the real accomplices.

pilots, a rigger or even a boat waiting for a jet to fly overhead at low altitude with landing gear down and running and landing lights on makes a story for an accomplice on the ground or perhaps even in the air or a boat depending where on the river he was..

people rule out the "what if" someone else was involved scheme. and if u look at evidence as 100% guarantees then it will bite u in the behind.

db dropped $5800 on a riverbank to let people know he was alive and got away with what he did. he had an accomplice on the ground he had to pay right? he jumped without shoes. kinda like a navy frogman if you ask me. dropped right into the river but not where everyone thinks. lol

perhaps the accomplice did db in or better yet they got off the river and headed to Mexico like they said. but i doubt db drank all $200,000 away in Mexico. more like opened a sky dive school, boat service, or charter plane service of their own. fishing anyone?

Their was more people in on the hijacking than one man with a suitcase and a fake bomb. Besides no chutes were ever found nor was the fake bomb. This is why i believe db was still alive.

perhaps the agent orange killed him in Mexico... he might have been a Korean war vet but definitely airborne Vietnam era too...... more than likely service of 20 years in service and that was his true retirement plan...

but a man on his deathbed who claims to be DB Cooper May indeed be the real McCoy and the evidence was just botched from the get go or he threw the hounds off his trail with a simple yet elegant plan.

perhaps db died in a volcano eruption while living in Washington state... who knows! so many threads to a rip cord!

Anonymous said...

I have been following this latest outbreak of DB-itis with interest. Seeing it with eyes now 35 years older! In 1972 we lived in the flight path of Portland Int'l Airport along the Columbia River. I remember that day quite clearly, and the news breaks and updates regarding the highjacking. As the newcasters projected the path of the jet as it circled (?) the area, we ran outside with flashlights and pointed them at a passenger jet flying over our heads. Whether or not it was THE jet, I have no idea. My interest stems from all this talk of the "raging storm" he supposedly parachuted into. I was ten, and my mom made me come back inside to put on a jacket. It was cold, but it wasn't raining much if at all....and visibility was clear enough to make out the line of lighted dots which were the windows on the side of the plane a couple thousand feet above us. What was odd to us was the plane was flying in the opposite direction they usually do--the planes that usually flew over us were always landing and coming from the east, but this one was going the other way in a manner of I'd estimate it was headed west-southwest as compared to the east/west flow of the river...and it was more over the river or even on the Washington side rather than along the Oregon banks.

Now 35 years later the FBI says there was a storm. Really? And that the flight path was a straight line down from Seattle....putting the plane about 9 or 10 miles west of our location. Well, the money they found in 1980 was right across the river from us...that would be 9 miles east of where the FBI claims he jumped, and sorry folks but the river can't flow backwards (it flows east to west). And all of a sudden there wasn't any circling. Well, I think somebody should go watch those old news archives, because I remember that the plane was supposedly circling within the PDX corridor, which is the whole reason we went outside in the first place. My mom called us in about an hour later after it was confirmed he had already jumped. Maybe we were just hoping he'd fly over, and there was no circling. Or maybe we now live in the "politically-correct-and-must-change-data-so-terrorists-won't-think-we-do-what-they-want" world that revised the facts a little. Man, I'd really like to see copies of those broadcasts.

Back in the day around the time they found the money, my late father did some basic calculations presuming the money found was two broken packets that may have fallen out of the bag during the jump. I don't know what he used--he was former USMC so he know that stuff--wind speed and direction, etc, but he figured Cooper would have landed somewhere around Rooster Rock State Park, or possibly on one of the small islands nearby. He too remembered the plane flying the wrong direction that night.

In reality, the "wrong way" plane could have been another airliner getting out of the way, or any number of scenarios. There is a warp of reality as remembered by a ten year old, but the whole weather thing really has me boggled. That was totally real. How do you change that??

It seems to me this case isn't exactly being handled with any sort of precision. I don't know whether or not that scares me (incompetence always does) or makes me happy (ya gotta love the whole DB legend)......

Anonymous said...


Robert M. Blevins said...

Oh, I believe Sherlock Investigations hit it on the head with this one. I was 18 years old and grew up in Sumner, Washington, just down the street from Bonney Lake. On the measly salary paid Christiansen by the airline, there is no way he could have saved up $16,000 for the house in Bonney Lake. It would have taken him years. This is an old case, but it would interesting to know if any of his old bank records, or tax returns exist somewhere.

On a side note, anytime you feel like doing a book on this subject, drop me a line. You can find me at Adventure Books of Seattle. I'm the managing editor.