One Family Member Claims D.B. Cooper Had Help In Suspected Skyjacking Robbery

One of the most infamous airplane hijackings in American history took place in 1971. As the FBI explains, on November 24 of that year, a man who identified himself as "Dan Cooper" boarded a plane in Portland, Oregon, the crew and fellow passengers having no idea that one of the most elaborate heists in history was going to take place. After the plane took off, "Cooper" showed a flight attendant what he claimed was a bomb, then demanded four parachutes and $200,000 in cash. The plane went to Seattle, where the money and parachutes were provided to him; in exchange, the hijacker let the passengers go and then demanded that the crew fly the plane to Mexico City. Then, in the night skies over southwestern Washington, the hijacker strapped on a parachute and jumped from the plane with the money. Neither he nor the money was ever seen again.

In 1980, a young boy found a few thousand dollars worth of the stolen money in the woods, but that discovery yielded more questions than answers, and as of December 8, 2022, the mystery remains unsolved. However, in 2011, as The Seattle Times reported, a woman related to a suspect claimed that she had overheard conversations that would indicate that "Cooper" had her family's help in the heist.

The Ongoing Investigation

As mentioned previously, as of December 8, 2022, this case remains unsolved. But not for lack of trying: As the FBI notes, the agency has been steadfastly investigating this case for half a century, and has even interviewed a few suspects. One suspect, Richard Floyd McCoy, was arrested a few months after the D.B. Cooper hijacking for — wait for it — hijacking an airplane and parachuting away with the money. However, physical descriptions provided by two witnesses to the Cooper hijacking did not in any way match McCoy, and he was cleared as a suspect in this particular case.

In order for "Cooper" to have pulled off this heist, he and his co-conspirators (if indeed there were any) would have required knowledge in several key areas, including the mechanics of certain Boeing aircraft and the lay of the land in and around southwestern Washington. And by 2022, the FBI had turned its attention to a woman named Marla Cooper and her relatives, who possibly checked off a couple of those boxes.

'Our Money Problems Are Over, We Hijacked An Airplane'

By 2011, according to The Seattle Times, the FBI was investigating a man named Lynn Doyle Cooper and his brother, Dewey Max Cooper. Getting the men to answer questions about the case proved tricky since both were comfortably in their graves by that time. Nevertheless, Lynn had worked as an engineering surveyor, according to his Oregon death certificate, and Dewey had once worked at Boeing.

Marla Cooper, the niece of the two men, connected the dots. Specifically, she said that around the time of the heist, when she was 8 years old, she overheard her uncles "planning something suspicious." She also claimed that they used walkie-talkies and disappeared into the woods, ostensibly to go turkey hunting. The morning after the hijacking, she says, she observed Lynn Doyle, bloodied and bruised, who claimed he'd been in a car accident. Further still, Marla reported that she heard Lynn Doyle say, "We did it, our money problems are over, we hijacked an airplane."

Of course, Marla's testimony would by no means solve the case, in no small part because she was providing hearsay evidence that she supposedly had heard as a little girl 40 years earlier. The case continues to be unsolved.