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How 3 Particles Found on a Tie Could Finally Identify Skyjacker D.B. Cooper

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How 3 Particles Found on a Tie Could Finally Identify Skyjacker D.B. Cooper
From Popular Mechanics-https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/article/how-3-particles-found-on-a-tie-could-finally-identify-skyjacker-d-b-cooper/ar-AA103Vx0?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=ee61cf2420cd4217fe77675bf52a9be9
When it comes to cold cases, few continue to simmer quite like the D.B. Cooper skyjacking of Thanksgiving Eve 1971—the only unsolved commercial airline hijacking. And thanks to continued interest from amateur sleuths (and law enforcement welcoming that assistance by opening up all related case data to the public), we may have new clues in the investigation, rooted in science, that could finally help nail down the skyjacker.

The unknown skyjacker of a Northwest Orient Airlines plane, headed from Portland to Seattle, has baffled the world for over 50 years. After landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the skyjacker had the pilots take off again, this time with $200,000 worth of ransom cash and parachutes in hand, only to jump from the plane over southwest Washington... never to be seen again.

But that could change if amateur sleuth Eric Ulis of Arizona can prove out his theory after tracking down three distinct particles found on a necktie left behind by the skyjacker, who called himself Dan Cooper (the media misreported the name as D.B. Cooper, which stuck).


A 10-year-old scientific report on the case, commissioned by the FBI, offered up information on more than 100,000 particles lifted from the tie D.B. Cooper left on seat 18-E before jumping from the Boeing 727’s rear staircase with the cash and parachutes. According to a July 20 Seattle King 5 report, Ulis noticed that three pieces of an alloy made of titanium and antimony, two Earth elements, are among those particles. His research on the unique alloy led him to Rem-Cru, a Midland, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of titanium-antimony. The now-defunct company’s assets have been sold over the decades, and Ulis says he’s working to obtain additional historical records on the company.

“I believe that we have identified not only the company where D.B. Cooper came from, but also the specific division within the company that D.B. Cooper came from,” Ulis, who has been working on the skyjacking case for 14 years, tells King 5. “I’ve been looking for something that I would call a tantamount to commercial DNA, the idea being that just as human DNA points to a specific individual, commercial DNA close to a specific company [can identify that company], and indeed, I actually found three particles of a very unique and very rare alloy.”

Ulis also says he’s locked in one specific person of interest.
D.B. Cooper has long been tied to the aviation industry due to his knowledge of airplanes and parachutes. And with a massive Boeing layoff in the region prior to the skyjacking, the potential Boeing connection has been talked about for decades. Ulis, though, says that this particular alloy never made it to the aerospace industry, leading him to believe D.B. Cooper was employed at Rem-Cru at some point. That said, Rem-Cru did frequently work with Boeing, and employees of Rem-Cru were regulars at the Boeing factories in the Pacific Northwest.

© Bettmann - Getty Images
FBI Agents in Vancouver, Washington, dig in sand on the beach on the north shore of the Columbia River, where a portion of the D.B. Cooper hijacking money was found by the Harold Dwayne Ingram family. The badly decomposed money, some several thousand, was found to be identical to the money given to the hijacker by the serial numbers on the bills.
Along with a strong knowledge of airplanes and parachutes, law enforcement officials believe D.B. Cooper had a solid connection to the Pacific Northwest based on comments he made during the flight about the terrain below. On November 24, 1971, he paid cash for a one-way ticket to Portland and boarded Northwest Orient Flight 305 as Dan Cooper, without being required to offer up identification due to a lack of regulations at the time.

Carrying with him a briefcase and paper sack, Cooper passed a note to a flight attendant seated behind him halfway through the flight, and whispered that she better look at the note since he had a bomb. He opened his briefcase to reveal what appeared to be a bomb and then relayed his demands of $200,000, multiple parachutes, and a refueling truck on the ready in Seattle so he could take off again, bound for Mexico City.

The demands were met, and the planned 30-minute flight turned into two hours of circling the Puget Sound as crews readied on the ground. The 35 passengers were released, along with some of the crew, and D.B. Cooper negotiated the specifics of the flight path and plane setup—he required a set speed, flap angle, and plenty more—before he took off again with four crew on board.

Somewhere still over Washington, D.B. Cooper opened the rear staircase and parachuted from the plane, but the exact location and timing is unknown. Immediate searches yielded no evidence, and over the years, experts have been unable to determine an exact search area due to the multiple variables involved in the night jump.
© Bettmann - Getty Images
Larry Lewman, Assistant State Medical Examiner, holds a skull found by Forest Service employees in the Mt. Hood National Forest, 10 miles east of Estacada, Oregon. The FBI and local authorities were investigating the find to determine if the skull belonged to D.B. Cooper.
In 1978, a hunter found a placard with instructions for lowering the aft stairs of a Boeing 727. Then on February 10, 1980, an eight-year-old on vacation along the Columbia River near Vancouver, Washington, found three packets of the ransom money in the sand along the river’s edge.

The D.B. Cooper speculation has only grown since—and this could be our most promising clue in decades.

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  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Too bad there was no DNA of the human type on that tie - though there should have been. Cheers, RickO

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