Culture

The FBI Has Officially Shut The Book On The Case Of D.B. Cooper After 45 Years

DBCooper
Shutterstock / Wikimedia Commons

If you’re still dying to know the identity of the mysterious hijacker D.B. Cooper and the $200,000 in ransom money, you might want to go ahead and put those desires on the backburner. You’ll have an easier time discovering who the second shooter was on the grassy knoll and why the government has been covering up the existence of Pokemon until today.

The FBI is taking their resources away from investigating the 45-year-old skyjacking case, releasing a statement that puts a close on the case as an active investigation, but leaves open the possibility for meaningful leads:

During the course of the 45-year NORJAK investigation, the FBI exhaustively reviewed all credible leads, coordinated between multiple field offices to conduct searches, collected all available evidence, and interviewed all identified witnesses. Over the years, the FBI has applied numerous new and innovative investigative techniques, as well as examined countless items at the FBI Laboratory. Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation will now be preserved for historical purposes at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The mystery surrounding the hijacking of a Northwest Orient Airlines flight in November 1971 by a still-unknown individual resulted in significant international attention and a decades-long manhunt. Although the FBI appreciated the immense number of tips provided by members of the public, none to date have resulted in a definitive identification of the hijacker. The tips have conveyed plausible theories, descriptive information about individuals potentially matching the hijacker, and anecdotes—to include accounts of sudden, unexplained wealth. In order to solve a case, the FBI must prove culpability beyond a reasonable doubt, and, unfortunately, none of the well-meaning tips or applications of new investigative technology have yielded the necessary proof.

The D.B. Cooper case spawned a slew of pop culture references and wild theories revolving around his identity and characters on a popular television series. Jimmy James on NewsRadio was covering for the real D.B. Cooper — Adam West — while another version of Cooper shared the cells at Fox River State Penitentiary on Prison Break. Cooper even got his own movie starring Treat Williams and Robert Duvall. He’s a modern American folk hero thanks to his story:

The stunned stewardess did as she was told. Opening a cheap attaché case, Cooper showed her a glimpse of a mass of wires and red colored sticks and demanded that she write down what he told her. Soon, she was walking a new note to the captain of the plane that demanded four parachutes and $200,000 in twenty-dollar bills.

When the flight landed in Seattle, the hijacker exchanged the flight’s 36 passengers for the money and parachutes. Cooper kept several crew members, and the plane took off again, ordered to set a course for Mexico City.

Somewhere between Seattle and Reno, a little after 8:00 p.m., the hijacker did the incredible: He jumped out of the back of the plane with a parachute and the ransom money. The pilots landed safely, but Cooper disappeared into the night—and his ultimate fate remains a mystery to this day.

It’s been a good run, all despite the legality of it all. If Cooper survived that jump, he got to enjoy a bit of the fame while hiding from the authorities. Chances are he didn’t get to rest very well, unless he rested soon after hitting the ground.

(Via FBI / Rolling Stone)

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