Science News

New Theory On D.B. Cooper Mystery Indicate He May Have Worked For Boeing

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One of the greatest unsolved mysteries of all time is the case of D.B. Cooper – the man who made infamous history by hijacking a Boeing passenger plane in 1971. He told the flight attendants he had a bomb in his briefcase, extorted $200,000 from the FBI then jumped off in a parachute, never to be seen again.

Now, a group of amateur scientists say they may have found a breakthrough that could tell the world a bit more about the unknown hijacker, New York Daily News reports. Among the items collected by the FBI was a clip-on tie, which the team says show trace evidence that indicate the man might have worked in the aerospace industry, maybe even for Boeing.

The team, called Citizen Sleuths, examined the JC Penney tie in minute detail with an electron microscope. They found particles of strontium sulfide, strontium and pure titanium. These elements would have been rarely seen together only in specific environments, like an aerospace plant.

Citizen Sleuths say that Boeing used these elements in the 1960s and 1970s while the company was developing its Super Sonic Transport plane in Washington. Hence, Cooper could have been an employee or a contractor who wore the tie around the place before the incident.

Witnesses on the flight say D.B. Cooper seemed familiar with the local area as the plane flew around the Puget Sound for two hours, while the FBI talked to him.

Tom Kaye, leader of the group, says,

The tie went with him into these manufacturing environments, for sure. He was either an engineer or a manager in one of the plants.

Last year, the FBI finally closed the D.B. Cooper case on the basis that it had no credible leads — it remains the only unsolved passenger plane hijacking. After 45 years, the FBI had not found any traces of the man, nor have they an idea of his real identity.

Years before, the bureau had given Citizen Sleuths unprecedented access to evidence, allowing them to analyze everything. The team continues to investigate, and has posted its forensic analysis online, asking the public for help regarding information.

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