A new suspect has entered the decades-old DB Cooper hijacking mystery.
An anonymous US Army data analyst now believes the person who hijacked a commercial airplane in 1971 and parachuted from the aircraft with $200,000 cash is a deceased man named William J Smith.
The analyst turned his research in to the FBI this summer, claiming there were ‘too many connections to simply be a coincidence’ according to
Investigators dedicated to uncovering the true identity of infamous 1971 airplane hijacker DB Cooper (right in police sketch) claim they now have the final pieces of evidence that proves he is William J Smith (left)
The notorious hijacker, who is one of the 20th century’s most compelling masterminds, hijacked a Boeing 727 at Seattle-Tacoma airport in 1971 and held its crew and passengers hostage with a bomb
The man dubbed by the FBI as DB Cooper, who is one of the 20th century’s most compelling masterminds, hijacked a Boeing 727 at Seattle-Tacoma airport and held its crew and passengers hostage with a bomb.
Once his demand of $200,000 cash – the equivalent of $1.2 million today – was reached and transferred onto the plane, he had the crew take off before he parachuted out over the dense Pacific Northwest woods and disappeared.
The book’s author, Max Gunther, claims he was contacted by a man in 1972 who said he was the real DB Cooper before cutting off all communication with him.
But 10 years later a woman named Clara contacted Gunther claiming to be the widow of a man named Dan LeClair, who turned out to be the man who reached out to Gunther.
He went on to write his book detailing the relationship between Clara and DC Cooper.
According to The Oregonian, the book was described as ‘somewhere in between nonfiction and speculation’ and dismissed as a credible DB Cooper conspiracy.
An FBI agent dismissed the author’s account as ‘highly unprofessional’.
Part of the money that was paid to legendary hijacker D.B. Cooper in 1971 is shown during an F.B.I. news conference, February 12, 1980
Investigators have long believed Robert Rackstraw is the true DB Cooper is a confession of the true identity of the infamous 1971 airplane hijacker DB Cooper
However, the anonymous analyst was not fully convinced Gunther’s story was untrue.
His research led him to track down a diseased World War II veteran named Dan Clair. Clair’s co-worker was William J Smith, who became the analysts prime suspect.
Both Smith and Clair were born in New Jersey and worked at the Oak Island rail yard together.
Smith died at age 89, but a yearbook of his included a list of alumni who were killed during the war.
According to the Oregonian, the name Ira Daniel Cooper appeared.
The analyst said he believes Smith called Gunther and gave the name of his friend Clair in place of his own.
The Oregonian reported that the FBI had not responded to the data analyst’s research.
Gunther’s book also noted LeClair went to a skydiving facility near Los Angeles in 1971.
Just last year, the FBI revealed that the hijacker also visited a similar facility.
This theory adds to the growing list of possible conspiracies as to the true identity of the skyjacker.
In June, investigators claimed they finally confirmed the identity.
A team of cold case experts said they decoded a 1972 message addressed to The Portland Oregonian Newspaper that was supposedly sent by the mystery man months after the hijacking.
They said the message contains a confession from Cooper, which ties his identity to 74-year-old Vietnam War veteran Robert W. Rackstraw.
Coding in this note, which was sent on November 30, 1971, said: ‘IF CATCH I AM CIA… RWR’. Another group of investigators believe the ‘RWR’ in the coding is Rackstraw’s initials
One of the taunting notes sent by Cooper in the late 1970s
Copies of the typewritten letter were sent to The Seattle Times, The New York Times, The LA Times and The Washington Post by the hijacker at the time