Will The Real D.B. Cooper Please Stand Up?

Have you ever wondered why you have all the rules to follow when boarding an airplane in the United States? Yes, there was 9/11 and that has a lot to do with it, but back in 1971, there was another reason to change the rules. The reason was D.B. Cooper. He came aboard a northwestern flight under the name of Dan Cooper and hijacked the airplane, demanding $200,000 in cash. Once he got the money, he jumped out the back with a parachute and was never seen again! The FBI never closed the case and no one ever caught him. Did he die? Did he survive? No one knows for sure. What is for sure, until 9/11, he was the only person to successfully hijack a plane in U.S. history. Read on to find out more about this Mystery Man.

myfivebest -1William Gossett
William Pratt Gossett was a Marine Corps, Army, and Army Air Force veteran who saw action in Korea and Vietnam. His military experience included advanced jump training and wilderness survival. After retiring from military service in 1973 he worked as an ROTC instructor, taught military law at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and hosted a radio talk show in Salt Lake City which featured discussions about the paranormal.  This guy was obsessed with D.B. Cooper.  Right before he died in 2003, he admitted to a retired judge, a buddy in the Salt Lake City Public Defender’s Office, and three of his children that he actually was D.B. Cooper.  He did look A LOT like the hijacker.  His sons stated that he once showed them a safety deposit key and a “wad of cash”, stating that the money was hidden in Vancouver.  Gossett was a compulsive gambler.  In 1988, he changed his name to Wolfgang and became a Catholic priest.  The FBI does not consider Gossett a credible source other than what is hearsay.


myfivebest - 2Richard Floyd McCoy, Jr.
McCoy was an Army veteran who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, first as a demolition expert, and later, with the Green Berets, as a helicopter pilot.  After Vietnam, he became a Utah State trooper and recreational sky diver.  In April of 1972, McCoy tried to do a skyjacking on a United Airlines flight.  He came on board carrying a paperweight that looked like a hand grenade and an unloaded handgun.  He demanded $500,000 in cash and four parachutes.  He got the money and successfully parachuted out the back of the plane.  Two days later he was arrested with the stolen money on his person and sent to prison.  Speculation that he was D.B. Cooper arose, but was never found out since he escaped from prison 2 years later and was killed in a gun fight with the police.  While there is no doubt that McCoy did the second hijacking and parachute jump, he does not match the age or description of D.B. Cooper.  Did he try to copy Cooper’s famous heist or was he “the real McCoy?”


myfivebest - 3Ted Mayfield
This guy is the type of person who would attempt a skyjacking.  He was a competitive skydiver, instructor and ex-Special Forces operative.  Mayfield was also an ex-convict which included: negligent homicide, robbery, and transportation of a stolen aircraft.  What makes his association with the D.B. Cooper case most probable is that just hours after the hijacking, Mayfield called the FBI and asked if he could help catch the suspect and to establish an alibi.  As many viewers of television criminal shows may know, the bad guy will often try to insert himself into the investigation to gain information.  That’s exactly what some experts think.  The FBI wasn’t so sure and never had enough information to arrest Mayfield.

myfivebest - 4Barbara Dayton
In possibly the strangest case of the D.B. Cooper legend, Barbara Dayton was borna man named Bobby Dayton.  He served in the Merchant Marine and Army during World War Two.  After the war, he did work in demolitions for a construction company.  He tried to become a commercial pilot, but was declined and in 1969 had a sex change operation to become a woman.  According to her, she staged the Cooper hijacking, disguised as a man to “get back” at the airline industry and the FAA, whose rules and conditions had prevented her from becoming an airline pilot.  She said she hid the ransom money in a cistern near her landing point in Woodburn, Oregon (a suburban area south of Portland).  She died in 2002 and the FBI never released their findings on her story.

myfivebest - 5Kenneth Christiansen
If you are looking for clues in the D.B. Cooper hijacking, this might be the person with the most clues pointing at them.  Kenny Christiansen was a paratrooper who worked for Northwestern airlines for many years.  He was not happy with his job, but continued to work there making very little money.  Christiansen smoked (as did the hijacker), and displayed a particular fondness for bourbon, Cooper’s preferred drink during the hijacking. He was also left-handed, just like the hijacker. After Christiansen’s death, family members discovered gold coins and a valuable stamp collection in his house — which he purchased with cash a few months after the hijacking — and over $200,000 in his bank accounts. They also found a folder of news clippings about Northwest Orient which began about the time he was hired in the 1950s, and stopped just prior to the date of the hijacking.  Christiansen continued to work part-time for the airline for many years after 1971, but apparently never clipped another news story about it.  A picture was found of Christiansen holding a money bag and a suitcase which was hidden behind another picture on his wall.  It was similar to the bag D.B. Cooper got away with.  Christiansen was 45 years old at the time of the hijacking, which was consistent with eyewitness estimates. However he was shorter (5 ft. 8 in.), thinner (150 pounds), and lighter-complected than described.  He was also balder; but his brother claims he wore a toupée routinely prior to the Cooper hijacking, and never wore it again afterward. Another witness, a longtime friend, confirmed that Christiansen owned a toupée, and that she never saw him wear it after the hijacking. She also claimed she could identify the tie clip left behind by the hijacker as one belonging to Christiansen.  Amazingly, the FBI doesn’t consider him a possible suspect.  Did he do it?  What do you think?


If you are interested in the mystery of D.B. Cooper, you might be interested in learning more about the case and the incident from the following: