Newsweek Magazine; by Christal Hayes, November 20, 2017
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.
An intriguing 1971 letter that was signed by Cooper was recently made public for the first time in a freedom of information lawsuit, in reference to the hijacking and the FBI’s cold case.
In the note—given to filmmaker and author Thomas J. 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 suspicious memo, have led him to believe the Bureau has been hiding many aspects of the case, he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The writer goes on to say that he 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, he claimed to have a bomb, then demanded $200,000 and 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 along the Columbia River in southern Washington State in 1980. 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 SeattlePI reported.
Another internal document given to Colbert details the FBI’s examination of the letter, and poses the question of whether it was written on government stationery, mentioning “that it resembles the carbon copy of the airtel material used by the Field Offices.”
The letter is one of five 1971 notes sent by Cooper—or someone claiming to be Cooper—that haven’t been publicly released. That has caused many to question why the FBI didn’t cooperate until a lawsuit forced them.
“Frankly, I think there was a cover-up and continues to be a cover-up,” Colbert said.
The FBI closed the investigation 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 still believe he died after jumping from the plane.
While the earlier alleged hijacker letters were sent to newspapers along the West Coast, copies of this released note were forwarded to The NY Times and The Washington Post.
The FBI never talked about any of the five notes. It’s just the latest piece of evidence Colbert and his team have discovered in their six-year investigation.
Though it’s still a complete mystery as to who Cooper was or what happened to him, Colbert has his own theory about the case: “Credible” sources have told him that after Cooper landed in his drop zone, partners put him in a small aircraft, then they dumped some of his money near the Columbia River to throw authorities off.
Colbert told Fox News he believes a man named Robert W. Rackstraw Sr., now 74, is actually Cooper. But Rackstraw denies the notion and has said the accusation has ruined his life.
FYI: TJC doesn’t buy that. His team recently learned of a famous restaurant near the San Diego suspect that, until its 2015 closing, catered to famous fighter pilots, astronauts and stunt-pilots. A former customer and the retired owner of “Nieuport 17” both confirmed that Rackstraw hung there for decades and “knew every item on the menu.” And he answered to D.B. Cooper.