Friday, April 04, 2008

D.B. Cooper Identified

Sherlock Investigations just obtained letters written by suspect Kenneth Christiansen, before the 1971 hijacking in which he describes himself physically, and offers a motive for the hijacking. The daring hijacking was carried out by a man identifying himself as D.B. Cooper. We believe that Christiansen could very well be D.B. Cooper.

Christiansen frequently flew to Hawaii and enjoyed sunbathing on Waikiki Beach. Indeed, in one letter he wrote, "Spent all afternoon in the sun, sure changed the color of my skin."

Yet, the FBI claims that Christiansen was "pale."

In other letters he reveals a possible motive for extorting $200,000 from Northwest Airlines. He writes of frequent strikes that caused him to get laid off. In one, he says that "the peanut butter jar is getting low," so he'd better get a job. He worked various odd jobs during the strikes.

When working at Northwest, Christiansen got $150 a week. Yet, a year after the hijacking he bought a small house in Bonney Lake, Washington with cash.

When Sherlock Investigations first identified Kenneth Christiansen as the most likely suspect for being D.B. Cooper, Ralph Himmelsbach, the retired FBI Special Agent who had worked on the case for years said that if he were still on the case he would investigate Christiansen.

When Florence Schaffner, the stewardess (then not yet called flight attendants) who Cooper handed the hijack note to, saw the photo of Christiansen, she said that he looked more like Cooper than any photos the FBI ever showed her. She, and Tina Mucklow, the other stewardess, thought Cooper was about 45.

Kenneth Christiansen, then 45, was 170 pounds, 5'10" in shoes, and was dark-complexioned through constant sun tanning. But Special Agent Robbie Burroughs in Seattle said, "He's not a viable suspect."

The FBI claims that Kenneth Christiansen was 5'8" and 150 pounds, and pale, when Cooper was described as 5'10" to 6' tall, up to 175 pounds, and dark-complexioned.

Also, the FBI asked, why would he hijack a plane from his own company? Somebody would recognize him, they said.

Well, Florence Schaffner, who worked for the same airline, in the same capacity as Christiansen, didn't recognize the photo of him. Neither did Bill Rataczak, the co-pilot in the hijacked Northwest plane.

Kenneth Christiansen, before working for Northwest as a steward, was mechanic for the airline. He knew the planes. Recently, Bill Rataczak said that Cooper "knew the airplane."

Kenneth Christiansen's drink of choice was bourbon, and he chain-smoked. During the hijacking, Cooper ordered bourbon, and chain-smoked. The cigarettes he smoked on Flight 305 would yield valuable DNA evidence, but the FBI lost them.

Sherlock Investigations has a copy of Christiansen's Army discharge papers, where he was listed as a paratrooper. Many skydivers have said that the jump could have easily been pulled off. In fact, a few years ago the jump was duplicated. Yet, the FBI still believes that Cooper died when he jumped. Still, no body or parachute was ever found.

Kenneth Christiansen lived until 1994 in his house in Bonney Lake, Washington.

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