New Scientific Wrinkle in Famed D.B. Cooper Hijacking Mystery

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January 15, 2017

Cutting-edge technology has led to what investigators hope is a lead in the 40-year-old mystery of D.B. Cooper.

Scientists trained a powerful electron microscope on a tie that the man known as Cooper left behind, and what they found was cerium, strontium sulfide, and titanium. Such rare earth elements are not common in everyday life for most people but would have been used in the production of a supersonic transport plane being developed by the Boeing Corporation for the U.S. Government in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cooper hijacked a plane from Portland to Seattle on November 24, 1971, demanded $200,000 and four parachutes, got them when the plane landed in Seattle, then jumped from the back staircase of the plane when the plane was airborne again. His body was not found.

Investigators have made their findings public, in the hope that someone who worked at Boeing or in the industry at that time and place might know the significance of the presence of such particles on the tie that Cooper is known to have worn, perhaps not only on the plane that day but also to work.

The investigators are not associated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which in 2016 officially declared the D.B. Cooper case closed yet unsolved.

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