DB Cooper hijacking mystery: Amateur investigator plans to sue FBI in quest to secure DNA evidence
An amateur investigator is planning to sue the FBI in an attempt to get access to examine plane hijacker DB Cooper’s tie in a quest to solve the more than 50-year-old mystery.
A man going by the name Dan Cooper hijacked a flight from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington on 24 November 1971.
“Cooper was a quiet man who appeared to be in his mid-40s, wearing a business suit with a black tie and white shirt. He ordered a drink – bourbon and soda – while the flight was waiting to take off,” the FBI website states.
He gave a flight attendant a note saying that he had a bomb in his suitcase and that he wanted her to sit with him. She then carried a note to the captain from the hijacker demanding four parachutes and $200,000 in $20 bills.
Upon landing in Seattle, the 36 passengers left the plane and the hijacker’s demand for cash and parachutes was met. But a number of the crew was kept on, and they were ordered to set off for Mexico City.
Not long after 8pm that night, as the plane was in the air between Seattle and Reno, Nevada, DB Cooper leapt out of the back of the plane with a parachute and the money. The plane later landed safely, but the hijacker has never been found.
Eric Ulis, one of many amateur investigators searching for DB Cooper, is trying to get access to examine his tie as he thinks that the authorities may have overlooked a part of it that could contain the hijacker’s DNA.
DB Cooper was wearing a tie from JCPenney’s during the hijacking, removing it before leaping into the night sky.
The parachute and some of the money were later located.
He told KOIN that he found an adjustable spindle in a tie “precisely like DB Cooper’s”. He said he spoke to former FBI investigators who had worked on the case and told him that they were unaware that the tie had an adjustable spindle.
Mr Ulis is set to sue the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act on Wednesday in an attempt to force the agency to let him and a DNA specialist examine the tie to get information to utilise ancestry genealogy.
“That gives us the ability to take DB Cooper’s DNA and sort of reverse engineer this and identify his family, nephews, nieces, people of that nature,” he told KOIN.
The amateur investigator told KOIN that the FBI had recently rejected his request to examine the tie under the Freedom of Information Act, prompting him to sue.
“They’ve given access to the tie two separate times before to private scientists, private individuals, once in 2009 and once in 2011, and this could actually solve the case,” he told KOIN.
The FBI announced in 2016 that they’re no longer investigating the case. The agency told KOIN that it doesn’t comment on potential litigation.
Mr Ulis said in November that he had found a man he suspects is DB Cooper after he tracked a rare chemical that was found on the tie previously to a lab where the suspect had worked near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The FBI says on its site that “one person from our list, Richard Floyd McCoy, is still a favorite suspect among many. We tracked down and arrested McCoy for a similar airplane hijacking and escape by parachute less than five months after Cooper’s flight. But McCoy was later ruled out because he didn’t match the nearly identical physical descriptions of Cooper provided by two flight attendants and for other reasons”.