Thomas Colbert is handed the buried object by a retired FBI supervisor
New York Post; by Samual Chamberlain
A crew of volunteer cold-case investigators in the Pacific Northwest, led by a former FBI agent, has uncovered what they believe is “potential evidence” in the 46-year-old mystery of D.B. Cooper.
Thomas J. Colbert, a law enforcement trainer and author who helped put together the ten-member forensic team with his partner and wife, Dawna, confirmed to Fox News they had uncovered what “appears to be” a decades-old parachute strap or flap.
The D.B. Cooper case has fascinated and confounded professional and amateur sleuths since Nov. 24, 1971, when a man calling himself Dan Cooper hijacked a Northwest Orient Boeing 727 and demanded a $200,000 ransom. After receiving the money, “Cooper” jumped out the back of the plane wearing a business suit and a parachute.
No trace of Cooper has ever been found, though some bundles of the ransom cash amounting to $5,800 were uncovered in 1980 on the banks of the Columbia River, which marks the border between Washington and Oregon.
Colbert declined to make the precise location of his crew’s dig public, but claimed the alleged evidence was located “right where a credible source claimed the chute and remaining money are buried.” Colbert added he planned to pass the find to the FBI on Friday, while his team would offer to turn over the dig site to the Bureau on Monday.
In July 2016, the FBI announced it was no longer actively investigating the case. Two months later, the Colberts filed a federal lawsuit aimed at obtaining the FBI’s entire file on the Cooper case. On Wednesday, Thomas Colbert said archived FBI field reports helped corroborate information from a couple that led to the site of his team’s current dig.
Colbert maintains a website, DBCooper.com, and has co-written an award-winning book with a veteran author, Tom Szollosi, that name Robert W. Rackstraw Sr., a 73-year-old Army veteran with a prior criminal record, as “Dan Cooper.” However, investigators questioned Rackstraw about the hijacking in 1978 and eliminated him as a suspect the following year. Rackstraw himself has repeatedly denied any involvement in the caper.
The FBI could not immediately be reached for comment on Colbert’s claims. However, Bill Baker, the Bureau’s former assistant director of criminal investigations, has said the idea that Rackstraw is Dan Cooper needs new scrutiny.
“Look…this is more than a theory, and you have a [living suspect] that has all the attributes of someone to do this successfully,” Baker said. “These are issues that have to be examined and weighed [by the FBI].”
Fox News’ Perry Chiaramonte and Cristina Corbin contributed to this report.
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