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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

D.B. Cooper Parachute Found

In 1971, D.B. Cooper hijacked a Northwest Orient flight from Portland and asked for a $200,000 ransom in exchange for the release of hostages. He famously escaped with the money by jumping out the back stairs of the Boeing 727 with a parachute.

Over the years, a number of suspects have been identified as D.B. Cooper. One bizarre theory involves a sex-change operation:

Forman said a friend of his -- who was a loner, like the FBI described -- confessed to Forman and his wife. The friend, who looked similar to the FBI sketch, was a proficient skydiver, an expert with dynamite and mysteriously disappeared in the days around the hijacking.

The kicker: Forman's friend was a woman named Barbara Dayton; family and friends say she is believed to be the first person in Washington to have a sex-change operation.

"What a perfect alibi," said her niece, Billie Dayton. "When my dad saw the FBI sketch, the first thing he said was, 'That looks like Bobby.'

Dayton retracted her Cooper claim after realizing she could still be arrested for the crime.

Now, children playing near Amboy, Washington have apparently discovered the white parachute that Cooper used to jump off the plane. Cooper used a Navy Backpack 6 parachute, which has a 26 foot canopy. The FBI is looking to analyze the parachute to verify whether it belonged to Cooper. But the mystery of whether Cooper survived his parachute landing remains.

DB Cooper Sketch

D.B. Cooper Sketch [Seattle PI]

DB Cooper Parachute

D.B. Cooper Parachute [AP]

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