On the Trail of “D.B. Cooper”
In 1971, a skyjacker with a briefcase bomb demanded a $200,000 ransom and a parachute. Then he vanished out the jet’s back door and became an instant legend.
A determined citizen sleuth assembled a forty-member cold case team, spearheaded by former FBI agents, to solve the mystery of D. B. Cooper. And after a seven-year quest, they believe they succeeded—with a fugitive at trail’s end.
The team’s relentless investigation and final confrontation with the mystery man serve as the bookends in The Last Master Outlaw. The suspect’s astonishing life story as a daredevil fills the remaining chapters, the bulk of which comes from the heartwarming, gut-wrenching accounts of six of his women—two former wives, his only sister, a befriended flight attendant, a “getaway gal” he met up with during two more FBI escapes involving planes, and a Hollywood producer who became his cocaine-trade partner.
Buckle your seat belts as this Jekyll-and-Hyde ladies’ man travels through five countries, utilizing more than twenty identities, wigs, and fake mustaches while engaging in a half-dozen careers and raising three families. Then be a witness as the cornered chameleon is forced to face the truth in front of the cameras of a dogged cold case team, armed and ready for any eventuality.
MOVIE MAKERS, TRUE-CRIME READERS & COOPER-CASE FANS: 2019 Update
Court-released FBI records and four retired military commanders (with damning documents) have collectively concluded the missing 1971 hijacker was Robert W. Rackstraw Sr.
Hollywood buys it, too. In fact, after our mike-drop at the 2018 news announcement at FBI Headquarters, the race was on for the story rights. As one senior WME agent put it to my manager, Michael B. London: “We know Tom solved it.”
Tinseltown, however, went directly to Rackstraw. Sources tell us he was given a private jet-ride in for a confidential meet-and-greet with select talent reps, leading producers, studios and streamers. Fortunately, my wife and I were fully prepared for this end-run – thanks to our cold case team.
All of Rackstraw’s hush-hush 2018 negotiations fizzled because: 1) he was the polar opposite of the folk hero many imagined; 2) our new case details and evidence have been copyrighted – including his getaway with the help of crime partners, the parachute recovery, Rackstraw’s decrypted Army-coded Cooper letters and his deep CIA history; and finally, 3) when he traded an FBI prison cell for years of black ops work, authorities warned the contractor he’d be re-incarcerated if he ever went public. (His concern about this “secret indictment” is noted in the 8/8/18 CBS News-WBBM story.)
Time caught up with Rackstraw; his memory of the jump became, ironically, cloudy. During a private 2013 approach and sit-down in his hometown, the cordial suspect twice admitted (on surveillance tape): “The problem is, I don’t remember a lot of it.”
We believe that’s why, with release of our team’s acclaimed 2016 book, “Bob” was one of the first orders on Amazon. His posted review: “Full of unsubstantiated accusations and innuendos by writers trying to sensationalize with consistently negative comments about their target with nothing but unearned credits given to themselves. Wish they would go after Hillary and Obama in the same ruthless manner.”
Dawna and I are so grateful to the hundreds who helped us document this daredevil’s full life narrative in five countries – our 21st discovery for the big and small screens. But there is no race to make history here; we’re looking for the right partner that respects our team’s efforts and (tongue firmly in cheek) won’t take us for a ride. TJC