Posted on August 1, 2011 at 1:03 PM
Monday, Aug 1 at 5:20 PM
SEATTLE -- The Seattle office of the FBI says that a man who died ten years ago is now the suspect in a “promising” lead in the 1971 unsolved skyjacking by the man known as D.B. Cooper.
FBI spokesman Agent Fred Gutt said the Seattle office has been investigating the lead quietly for more than a year and it stands out from most of the thousands of other tips in the notorious case because some of the information has been corroborated.
Agent Gutt declined to identify the deceased suspect, but said that he has ties to the Pacific Northwest and there are other details of his life that match the profile of Dan Cooper, the alias under which the skyjacker boarded the Northwest Orient flight on Thanksgiving eve of 1971.
Gutt says an acquaintance of the suspect approached a law enforcement friend with the tip. That law enforcement officer contacted the FBI.
Agents have sent items that may contain the deceased man’s fingerprints to the FBI lab for testing. Some prints believed to be Cooper’s were lifted from items on the skyjacked flight.
Cooper boarded a flight in Portland bound for Seattle. When the plane was airborne he demanded $200,000 in cash and four parachutes. They were delivered to Cooper at SeaTac Airport. He allowed all passengers to leave the plane and told the flight crew he wanted to fly to Mexico.
Once airborne, Cooper demanded that the crew lower the rear staircase on the Boeing 727. He is believed to have jumped over heavily wooded southwest Washington.
The leading FBI theory is that Cooper died in the jump. However, the new suspect is a man who lived for 30 years after that fateful day.