New York Daily News, by Megan Cerullo; Sunday, 8/20/17
A team of sleuths said the FBI has accepted more material that could be linked to D.B. Cooper’s 46-year-old cold case.
The potential evidence, described by private investigators as “an odd piece of buried foam,” is believed to be one of the materials that made up Cooper’s parachute backpack.
The discovery comes two weeks after investigators uncovered what they think are fabric remnants of a parachute strap or flap, once worn by Cooper — an 1971 airplane hijacker who demanded a $200,000 ransom before jumping out of the back of a Northwest Boeing 727.
In 1980, some of the ransom cash was recovered on the Columbia River, where it is the border between Washington and Oregon. But authorities never arrested the man claiming to be Dan Cooper.
The FBI received three other “unknown” samples, according to a team statement issued Friday. All these latest materials were found near where the possible parachute fabric was uncovered on Aug. 3, on an undisclosed private mountain in the Northwest.
Thomas J. Colbert, a law enforcement trainer and author, is spearheading the efforts behind the discoveries. Six years ago, he and his wife, Dawna, put together a 40-member Cooper cold case team (CCT) for their hunt. One of 13 former FBI agents on the team, Hadley McCann, supervised the forensic crew and delivered the newest alleged evidence to the Bureau.
The CCT established the dig site after a credible source said he had been given details about the daredevil’s escape — which allegedly ended at the site. Through a court order, the Colberts obtained FBI field notes and memos that substantiated many elements in the source’s story.
The Colberts also turned over the names of two potential Cooper accomplices who they believe helped Cooper escape and bury the evidence.
The Colberts, who run a website, DBCooper.com, dedicated to the investigation, have long believed — and still maintain — that Vietnam veteran Robert W. Rackstraw Sr., now in his 70s and living in San Diego, is the criminal.
The onetime FBI suspect was cleared in 1979. And in 2016, the FBI said it was no longer actively pursuing its investigation into the notorious case. But agents said they’d consider reopening the file if new information came forward on the missing money or parachute.