Why Ted Braden Keeps Coming Up As A Suspected D.B. Cooper

The identity of D.B. Cooper has now been revealed, according to the new true-crime documentary "I am DB Cooper," via the film's official website. It remains to be seen whether the film's assertion is correct that Washington state resident, Rodney Lewis Bonnifield, is in fact responsible for the unsolved skyjacking, based on his own admission, per GoSkagit.com.

In 1971, a man traveling as Dan "D.B." Cooper hijacked a plane, then jumped with a parachute and a bag of ransom money from a Boeing 727 over the Pacific Northwest wilderness, never to be seen again, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive. Since then, a number of suspects have been considered the real Cooper, with Bonnifield's name now on that list. One person that's long been of interest to serious "Cooperites" is Ted Braden. Based on Braden's military background and criminal past, in the opinion of some Cooper experts, he could have pulled off the heist (via The Oregonian/OregonLive).

Braden was a war veteran

What keeps some D.B. Cooper investigators returning to Ted Braden is that his experience in the military and his service in two wars could have trained him to both make and survive the difficult parachute jump Cooper is known to have made. According to Epik Fails of History, Braden was part of the 101st airborne in World War II, and later served in Vietnam. Whether the real Cooper survived the jump in the dark over a remote area of the Pacific Northwest wilderness is another matter, based on further The Oregonian/OregonLive reporting.

According to Epik Fails of History, based on his apparent experience, Braden was an expert skydiver. While in Vietnam, Braden reportedly deserted the military and tried to find work as a mercenary in the Congo. Eventually, Braden was arrested and returned to the U.S. where he was honorably discharged from the military. Darren Schaefer of the Cooper-themed podcast "The Cooper Vortex" said that Braden was one of his top Cooper suspects, via The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Braden also had a criminal record

In his lifetime, Ted Braden also had a lengthy criminal record, which landed him in jail by the late 1980s, according to Epik Fails of History. Another unconfirmed aspect of the Ted Braden-D.B. Cooper theory is that Braden may have even been a CIA operative, per The Oregonian/OregonLive. According to What Culture, around the same time the real D.B. Cooper stole the money and disappeared, Braden himself stole $250,000 in an unrelated crime.

Did Braden commit the hijacking or was it instead Rodney Lewis Bonnifield, as the 2022 film "I am DB Cooper" claims, based on his own confession (via GoSkagit.com)? According to Eric Ulis, a high-profile Cooper researcher, odds are it was neither, nor is it likely that any other leading Cooper suspects were guilty. "Honestly, I believe it's a guy who's a complete unknown ... I've seen nobody who checks all the boxes. It's somebody who's flown under the radar for 50 years," Ulis said (via The Oregonian/OregonLive). According to Ancient Faces, Braden died in 2007 at the age of 78.

In 2016, the FBI announced on its official website: "Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history, on July 8, 2016, the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."