DBCooper.com documents the relentless investigation surrounding Robert W. Rackstraw Sr., an award-winning Vietnam pilot, paratrooper, explosives expert, con artist, four-time felon, and a former 1971 hijacking suspect that many believe had outfoxed the Bureau.
For seven years (2011-18), a cold case team led by 13 retired FBI agents tracked his trail through five countries, where he utilized 22 fake identities while engaging in six careers and raising three families. And he escaped not once, but three times by plane and once by river. More than 100 pieces of recovered evidence — from letter trails, to DNA, to secret coded messages, to testimony from estranged relatives — firmly point back at Rackstraw.
But just days before the team’s scheduled delivery of its evidentiary materials to the FBI’s Seattle Division (April 2016), the D.B. Cooper file was suddenly closed and shipped off to archives in Washington, D.C. Special agents claimed that, after 45 years, they feared such “a circumstantial case.” Now they would only accept direct evidence, such as the missing parachute or ransom cash.
The team suspected something else was at play: Weeks prior to the rejection, History Channel had quietly negotiated for the Bureau to collaborate and appear on camera for a Cooper documentary featuring this very same hunt. When it finally aired (July 2016), the team’s top 18 pieces of evidence on Rackstraw had been cut from the two-night program. (For readers’ scrutiny, all the edited-out items are bolded in an FOIA filing posted at the “Case Evidence” menu, above.)
As one senior-ranking team member put it, “This door-slam was politics, pure and simple.”
Two more years of archive-digging, FOIA filings and eyewitness interviews would prove that member to be absolutely correct. Through the news media, the courts, this website, and readers of the award-winning book, The Last Master Outlaw, the public is learning the truth about Rackstraw and his secret double-life — door-slams be damned.
The cold case team was assembled by former law enforcement trainer, media exec and co-author Thomas J. Colbert and his wife, Dawna — a hero in one of his earliest crime stories. This is their 21st true tale for the big and small screen. For more, go to www.TJCConsulting.biz.
PLEASE NOTE (2018): Since this began in 2011, Rackstraw has threatened to sue those who call him the hijacker. But after more than 50 articles and TV stories, he hasn’t taken one person to court. The Colberts credit the cold case team and their legal experts for making the acclaimed investigative book bullet-proof (and mentioning it as a source has protected journalists and producers).
The historic narrative contains 578 numbered end-notes, each corroborated in the tome’s last 50 pages — through old court documents, letters, police records, graphs, maps, forgotten articles, photographs, archived video, expert analysis and dozens of witness transcripts.
In the book-release year of 2016, Rackstraw posted ten separate pleas online for legal representation — all to no avail. Even his former 1978 criminal lawyer, Dennis Roberts, recently admitted he would “not represent him. Not for [a] lawsuit.”
Perhaps this is why Rackstraw decided to take a different tack on 2/9/18, after a Courthouse News reporter asked if he would confirm or deny he is the hijacker. For the first time, the 74-year-old subject responded:
“There’s no denial whatsoever, my dear.”
Now you know why the Colberts believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, this is the one and only D.B. Cooper.