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December 2021 Newsletter

Hello friends!

I assume this email finds you a little plumper from Thanksgiving. We all can nod our heads at that one, right?

I will attempt to sell my short stories (Suffering and Wisdom, and One of Those) on Amazon in a week or two. Shorts are a hit-and-miss online, but I’m going to try it. If you’d like to support me, I’d appreciate a purchase or two. The digital price will be .99 cents. The printed copy will cost a little more. Look out for an email about this offer.

Thanks to all of you who reached out about the Lindberg kidnapping. We all long for new data on old cases. Well, this month, we have another old mystery with new findings.

On November 24, 1971, D. B. Cooper boarded a plane from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington. D.B., a well-dressed and cordial man, handed a flight attendant a note stating he had a bomb and demanded $200,000 and four parachutes.

When the plane landed in Seattle, D.B. let all the passengers go, except two pilots and one flight attendant. D.B. then asked the pilots to fly to Reno, Nevada, at 200 miles per hour and a maximum altitude of 10,000.

Twenty minutes into the trip, D. B. Cooper parachuted over Amboy, Washington, and disappeared.

But not so fast, D.B.

In 2008, the FBI discovered a partial parachute buried within the ten-mile radius of the drop site. In 2017, the FBI also recovered a parachute strap in the area. Many people associate these findings with the four decoy parachutes D.B. used to throw off the scent of his actual jump site.

Why is that? From what I read, most experts state that the chances of D.B. parachuting into the tree-infested area in Amboy are nil. A better drop site would be closer to Reno, where the desert afforded him a clean landing with no brush.

On November 25, the FBI reported a suspect resembling D.B., hiring a cab to drive him from Reno to Las Vegas.

According to a Las Vegas insider and a professional gambler, Anthony Curtis, the most workable way to launder money is to exchange the bills for chips at a gambling casino. The casino does not examine the marked bills, nor do they present the currency to the authorities. The dealer drops the money into a well, where the money is counted and moved off-site. D.B. can then exchange the chips for cash and leave the casino with clean bills. Easy-peasy.

But did he get away with it? Out of the thousands of suspects collected by the FBI, Richard Floyd McCoy Jr. seems the most intriguing. On April 7, 1972, McCoy boarded a United Airlines flight from New Jersey to Los Angeles with a hand grenade and a pistol. His demand letter requested $500,000 and four parachutes.

After landing in San Francisco, McCoy let the passengers go and kept one flight attendant and the pilots. He instructed the crew to fly at 200 miles per hour and head to the Utah territories.

Two days later, the FBI detained McCoy and found parachute equipment and $499,000 in his home. His handwriting sample matched that of the hijacker. McCoy was a Vietnam veteran, a helicopter pilot, and an avid and capable skydiver with a great deal of debt.

Three months later, McCoy escaped from prison. In time, the police killed him in a shoot-out in Virginia Beach.

Based on the similarities of the two hijackings, the FBI had McCoy at the top of their suspects for D.B. Cooper. But, the FBI dismissed McCoy as D.B. based on two issues: McCoy’s wife, who claimed they celebrated Thanksgiving together, and eyewitnesses’ doubts about the police sketch. Even so, records show that McCoy made a collect call from Las Vegas the day after Thanksgiving. He also purchased gas using the same credit card on that day. Both events place him in Vegas at the time of the first November hijacking.

But the ultimate proof of the two men’s identity came from Dr. Brendan Klare, Co-founder and CEO of Rank One Computing. Klare compared the police sketch of D. B. Cooper and photos of McCoy. After hundreds of calculations, their software provided a 98 percent certainty that both pictures were of the same man.

So, what do you think, mystery lovers? Are they the same, or is it a coincidence? Let me know your thoughts.

Until then, enjoy your holiday season.

Harper