In November 1971, a skyjacker who claimed to have a briefcase bomb demanded a $200,000 ransom and four parachutes. Then he vanished out the aircraft's back door and became an instant legend. DB Cooper expert Thomas Colbert (Related Documents) reported on new information from his team's investigation of the enduring mystery.
Colbert described Cooper as an acclaimed pilot, HALO (high-altitude, low-opening) parachute jumper, con artist, and partner-in-crime with a drug dealer. According to Colbert, he resigned from the military in order to "stick it to the man." Cooper has escaped on three separate occasions by air, once by river, assumed 22 fake identities, had six careers and three families, in five different countries, he explained.
The man who best fits the description of Cooper is Robert Rackstraw, currently residing in San Diego, Colbert continued. The cold case has been pieced together over several years using a team of 40 members (13 of them from the FBI), who dug up numerous documents, including DNA, to support the Rackstraw conclusion. In addition, a former Army code-breaker discovered code threads in the DB Cooper letters — dares to agents, directives, and Rackstraw's own initials — all of which point to Rackstraw as Cooper, Colbert revealed. The letters were mailed from a post office a half-hour away from Rackstraw's old California mountain town, he added.
Colbert suggested the case was impeded by the CIA because of arrangements Rackstraw had with them. "There are 17 examples of cover-up, of stonewalling, of disinformation and flat-out lies all because this man has a history of providing to this country under black ops for the CIA," he said.
Open Lines followed in the latter half of the program. Several callers phoned in to share their panic attack stories. Nancy, a college student in Victoria, Texas, told George her attacks have increased as she has become overwhelmed with her school work load. "It's so bad I get migraines," she said.
Alvin in Fresno, California, recalled a gang fight he was in at 14-years-old. According to Alvin, he heard a voice say, "Stop," while he was beating a kid, and turned to discover a semi-transparent silhouette staring back at him. "I'm shaking, I can't talk, my ears are ringing, I start spinning," he recalled. Alvin believes the entity may have been a guardian angel.
Jim in Alexandria, Virginia, admitted he was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder after being stuck in a traffic jam for several hours. "I felt like my heart was pounding out of my chest," he remembered. Jim reported going into the woods by his car to let off some steam. Afterwards, he was prescribed Xanax and sought therapy.