DBCooper.com documents the relentless investigation surrounding Robert W. Rackstraw Sr. — an acclaimed Vietnam pilot, explosives expert, paratrooper, four-time felon and a former suspect in the hijacking.
For seven years (2011-18), a volunteer cold case team led by retired FBI agents tracked his trail through five countries, where he utilized 22 fake identities while engaging in six careers and raising three families. The Special Forces-trained veteran escaped not once, but three times by plane and once by river. More than 100 pieces of recovered evidence — from letter trails, DNA, cracked Army-coded messages, to testimony from his women and former crime partners — all of it firmly pointed back at the mysterious Rackstraw.
But just days before the team’s long-scheduled delivery of its evidentiary materials to the FBI (April 2016), Seattle Division agents canceled their five-year collaboration agreement, closed the Cooper investigation and shipped off the case file to a locked Washington, D.C. archive. Their excuse: after almost 50 years, Headquarters now feared such a circumstantial case.
The sleuths soon learned something else was at play: Weeks prior to this rejection, History Channel had quietly negotiated for these agents to appear on camera for a Cooper documentary featuring this very same hunt. And when it finally aired (July 2016), the team’s strongest 18 pieces of evidence on Rackstraw had been inexplicably edited out of the two-night program.
As a former team G-man put it, “This door slam was politics, pure and simple.” (More on this alleged quid pro quo is in a 2016 suit filed against the bureau; see it at the “Case Evidence” menu at top.)
Two more years of eyewitness interviews, judge orders and forensic work would reveal the dogged investigators to be absolutely correct. Through our website updates (Latest articles and “Smoking Gun” link on homepage), media stories, court rulings, and the team’s award-winning narrative, The Last Master Outlaw, the public has learned all about Rackstraw — including the cover-up of his secret double-life with the CIA.
The cold case team was assembled by true-crime producer and author Thomas J. Colbert, along with his partner-wife, Dawna — an inspiring character from one of his earliest stories.
HISTORY BUFFS, TRUE-CRIME READERS & “COOPERITES” — THANK YOU!
Dawna and I would like to express our deep gratitude to the good-hearted souls who have insisted on contributing a donation to this long fight for justice. We’ve taught our children that no cost is too high in the pursuit of truth; thank you for helping us reinforce that message. God bless, TJC
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