The notorious case of the mysterious plane hijacker known as D.B. Cooper just took another curious turn, which has some saying the anonymous criminal who parachuted out of a plane with $200,000 in stolen cash could still be alive.
A new letter that was signed by Cooper was recently made public for the first time in a freedom of information lawsuit, in reference to the 1971 hijacking and the FBI's investigation into that now cold case.
In the letter—given to filmmaker and author Tom Colbert, who is investigating the case with a 40-member team—Cooper said he "knew from the start that I wouldn't be caught." Colbert says the new letter along with a memo from the FBI is "proof" the bureau was trying to hide aspects of the case in a "cover-up," he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The letter goes on to say that Cooper used putty makeup and a toupee that threw off investigators and artists who sketched wanted posters after he boarded a commercial Boeing 727 under a fake name on November 24, 1971, claimed to have a bomb, demanded $200,000 and then parachuted from the plane—disappearing into thin air. Literally.
Cooper was never found but investigators did find some traces of his jump after-the-fact. Some of the $20 bills were located in a wooded area of southwest Washington state. Colbert and his team also recently found pieces of a strap and foam in the woods, which could be part of Cooper's parachute. They sent the artifacts to the FBI, but the bureau hasn't said it plans to reopen the case, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
A memo given to Colbert with the letter details the FBI’s examination of the letter and poses the question of whether the letter was written on government stationery, “noting that it resembles the carbon copy of the airtel material used by the Field Offices.”
The letter is only one of the known letters sent by Cooper—or someone claiming to be Cooper—that hadn’t been publicly released, which has caused some to question why the FBI hadn’t released it until a lawsuit forced them.
“This letter proves to me that there's been a cover-up and continues to be a cover-up in this case,” Colbert said.
The FBI closed the case last year, so it's unknown if the public will ever find out what happened to Cooper—or if his actual name will ever be found. Some believe he died after jumping from the plane.
It was known that Cooper sent letters to newspapers along the West Coast. This newly released document, sent to The Washington Post, makes the fifth letter he sent to a publication.
The FBI could never prove whether this letter or the others were authentic. It’s just the latest piece of evidence Colbert says he discovered.
In the latest batch of documents he received from the FBI, a memo states the bureau was regularly updating then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on the case and worked to confirm whether the letter was indeed sent by Cooper.
The memo also includes a number typed at the bottom of the letter, 717171684, which was placed next to The Washington Post in the bottom corner. The FBI said it was unable to figure out what the numbers meant.
Though it’s still a complete mystery as to who Cooper was or what happened to him, Colbert and his team have their own theory about the case.
He believes after Cooper landed, he got in a second plane then dumped some of the money to throw authorities off. Colbert told Fox News he believes a man named Robert Rackstraw is actually Cooper, but Rackstraw denies the notion and has said the accusation has ruined his life.
Still, whatever the case may be, the FBI has looked at more than 1,000 suspects but never found the man known as D.B. Cooper, who would be in his 90s if he is still alive.
The full letter is detailed below:
I knew from the start that I wouldn't be caught.
I didn't rob Northwest Orient because I thought it would be romantic, heroic or any of the other euphemisms that seem to attach themselves to situations of high risk.
I'm no modern day Robin Hood. Unfortunately do have only 14 months to live.
My life has been one of hate, turmoil, hunger and more hate, this seemed to be the fastest and most profitable way to gain a few fast grains of peace of mind.
I don't blame people for hating me for what I've done, nor do I blame anybody for wanting me to be caught and punished, though this can never happen.
Here are some (not all) of the things working against the authorities:
I'm not a boasting man
I left no fingerprints
I wore a toupee
I wore putty make-up
They could add or subtract from the composite a hundred times and not come up with an accurate description; and we both know it.
I've come and gone on several airline flights already and am not holed up in some obscure backwoods town.
Neither am I a psycho-pathic killer. As a matter of fact I've never even received a speeding ticket.
Thank you for your attention.
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