FBI Reopens Infamous D.B. Cooper Case

In response to a story in New York this week, the FBI has decided to revive its decades-old file on D.B. Cooper, the mysterious hijacker who parachuted out of a Northwest Airplane in 1971 with $200,000 in ransom money and was never seen again. The case, one of the FBI’s most legendary, is the only skyjacking in history that remains unsolved. This week, New York presented a new suspect in the case, Kenneth Christiansen, a deceased Northwest purser and ex-paratrooper. The resemblance of Christiansen to a composite sketch of Cooper was “uncanny,” according to Larry Carr, a federal agent in Seattle now spearheading the Cooper case. “It was the piece that pushed it over the edge,” he says. Carr’s hope is that “a relative out there might think, ‘Boy, Uncle John was a lot like that and he disappeared around that time.’” Carr says that the prevalent view inside the bureau is that Cooper died the night of the jump. “Conditions were too poor,” he says. And Carr suspects that, contrary to popular belief, Cooper was not a professional skydiver. As for Christiansen, the agent was troubled by certain physical characteristics that didn’t match eyewitness accounts, like height and eye color. But he is not ruling out any suspect until “we get a new starting point in the case.” —Geoffrey Gray

Related: Unmasking D.B. Cooper [NYM]