Skip to main content

Was D.B. Cooper a Boeing engineer before the infamous hijacking?

Group suggests new evidence points to Cooper being a Boeing employee.

A group of amateur sleuths may be close to figuring out who D.B. Cooper really was.

If you don't know, he's the man behind the only unsolved airline hijacking case in United States history. On Nov. 24, 1971, a man who called himself Dan Cooper hijacked a Northwest Orient Flight from Oregon to Washington.

He demanded $200,000 and four parachutes, and he got it when the plane landed in Seattle. Then the plane took off again for Mexico City. Somewhere between Seattle and Reno, Cooper jumped from the plane with the ransom money.

His fate has remained a mystery until this day, and no one has been able to identify the man who became to known as D.B. Cooper. Even the FBI hasn't been able to figure it out, saying last summer it had “exhaustively reviewed all credible leads."

But now Citizen Sleuths – a group that's been working to crack the case – may have found new evidence on the clip-on tie Cooper left behind on the flight.

Citizen Sleuths analyzed particles from the tie, finding cerium, strontium sulfide, pure titanium and other elements. They're all rare elements that are used for very specific things – like in Boeing's high-tech Supersonic Transport Plane, which was being developed with government funding in the 1960s and 1970s, Tom Kaye, the lead researcher of the group, told King 5.

Based on the elements found on the tie, King thinks Cooper could have been an engineer or a manager in one of Boeing's plant.

But the group wants help from the public – especially those with experience in aerospace engineer around that time – who may know more about the particles and what they could have been used for, with Kaye telling King 5: “Someone may be able to look at those particles and say ‘Oh my gosh. I know what that means having those particles on the tie."

For more information on the particles Citizen Sleuth has identified and how to contact them, click here.

This story is part of our Best of the Web section – which is just cool stuff we find online and want to share with you.

Next Up


Charges: Driver had been drinking at party before striking teens, killing one

The victims were walking home from Walmart at the time of the crash, according to court documents.

Screen Shot 2023-01-30 at 4.32.08 PM

State: Beltrami County Jail conditions present imminent risk of 'life-threatening harm'

The state is taking action to force changes at the Beltrami County Jail.


Tributes to 15-year-old girl killed in Burnsville crash

The teenager was a student at Burnsville High School.

police lights

Charges: New Ulm couple abused young children with cruel punishments

Warning: The following contains upsetting details about child abuse.

Screen Shot 2023-01-30 at 1.18.29 PM

Boy reels in 9.5lb walleye, wins pickup truck at Brainerd ice fishing tourney

Contestants come from all over the country compete in the annual event held in Brainerd.


Arrowhead 135 ultramarathon in northern MN kicks off in -25F temperatures

The race is considered one of the 50 most challenging races in the world.


4 people charged in robbery, repeated rape of 2 women

Authorities say three of the four suspects are known gang members.

6 people killed in Wisconsin plane crash

A GoFundMe page for some of the victims has already raised $10,000.

Search continues for WI man FBI says stole guns, threatened public officials

He apparently mailed a 160-page, anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump.

Charges: Assistant principal made fake social media accounts to solicit kids for sex

Officials are asking for the public's help to determine if there are any more victims.

Missing predatory offender from Minnesota found in California

Authorities had been searching for him since he left his Rochester home on a mountain bike.