After 45 Years, FBI Gives Up On Skyjacker D.B. Cooper Case

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The FBI it is no longer investigating the enduring mystery of the skyjacker known as D.B. Cooper, nearly 45 years after he vanished out the back of a Boeing 727 into a freezing Northwest rain wearing a business suit, a parachute, and a pack with $200,000 in cash, reports the Associated Press. Calling the investigation one of the longest and most exhaustive in the agency’s history, the FBI Seattle field office said it was time to focus on other cases.  “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,” the FBI said. “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.”

On Nov. 24, 1971, the night before Thanksgiving, a man described as in his mid-40s with dark sunglasses and an olive complexion boarded a flight from Portland, Or., to Seattle. He bought his $20 ticket under the name “Dan Cooper,” but an early wire-service report misidentified him as “D.B. Cooper,” and the name stuck. The man demanded $200,000 in cash plus four parachutes. He got them at the Seattle airport, where he released the 36 passengers and two of the flight attendants. The plane took off again at his direction, heading slowly to Reno, Nv., at the low height of 10,000 feet. Apparently over southwestern Washington, Cooper lowered the aircraft’s rear stairs and jumped. He was never found, but a boy digging on a Columbia River beach in 1980 discovered three bundles of weathered $20 bills, nearly $6,000 in all. It was Cooper’s cash, according to the serial numbers.


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