After the parachuted indigenous a 727 passenger plane with ransom money—and disappeared—newspapers began receiving monster letters, some through coded messages.

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After one exhaustive 45-year investigation, the FBI in 2016 finally called off its main search because that D.B. Cooper, the mysterious male who, ~ above Nov. 24, 1971, hijacked a aircraft headed indigenous Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. In among the many daring and unforgettable crimes in aviation, the parachuted from the Boeing 727 with $200,000 in ransom money, eluding capture and enrapturing amateur sleuths worldwide.

In the decades that adhered to the brazen act, the bureau eliminated all but two that 1,000 doubt in the case. The most substantive leads consisted of $5,800 of the ransom money discovered by a young in 1980 along the Columbia river in Washington state, and also taunting letters got by numerous U.S. Newspapers. The letters, in particular, have available tantalizing hints to the identification of the guy behind the alias who obtained away v what would have been $1.2 million today.

READ MORE: who Was D.B. Cooper?


Artist sketches the D.B. Cooper.


At least six letters—typed, handwritten and made utilizing ransom-style cut out letters—were sent to several newspapers soon after ~ the hijacking, all claiming to be from Cooper. The FBI taken into consideration most to be hoaxes. However intriguingly, lock held earlier the last 2 letters from the public until the 2000s, i m sorry may indicate they took those far an ext seriously.

A very first letter, signed “DB Cooper” and also sent native Oakdale, California come the Reno evening Gazette, was received on November 29, 1971. Utilizing letters cut and also paste native a Sacramento Bee newspaper, the read: “Attention! many thanks for the hospitality. Remained in a rut.”

A second letter, handwritten and also signed “D.B. Cooper,” to be postmarked November 30, 1971 and also sent to the Vancouver Province in brothers Columbia through the adhering to message:

"The composite illustration on web page 3 together suspected through the FBI does not represent the truth.

"I enjoyed the Grey Cup game. Am leaving Vancouver.

"Thanks for the hospitality."

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NorthWest Orient airlines ticket the Dan Cooper, pseudonym the the unidentified male who hijacked a Boeing 727 plane on November 24, 1971. The male purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper but came to be known in popular lore as D. B. Cooper.

American picture Archive/Alamy Photo

A third letter, mailed in north Oregon on December 1, 1971, was obtained by the Portland Oregonian. utilizing letters reduced from a Playboy magazine, that read, “Am alive and doing well in hometown. P.O. The mechanism that to win the system.”

Letter number four, received by the Reno night Gazette, was also mailed December 1 (but from the Sacramento, California area). Pasted indigenous letters, it read, “Plan ahead because that retirement income” and was signed “D.B. Cooper.”

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A fifth letter, signed “D.B. Cooper” and brimming v taunts, was postmarked December 11, 1971 and sent to The new York Times, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. The FBI exit its components after a exclusive investigative team led by documentary filmmaker cutting board Colbert filed a liberty of details Act request.

"Sirs, ns knew indigenous the begin that ns wouldn't it is in caught,” the letter read. “I didn't plunder Northwest Orient due to the fact that I thought it would certainly be romantic, heroic or any kind of of the other euphemisms that seem to attach to instances of high risks. I'm no contemporary day Robin Hood. Unfortunately i do have actually only 14 months to live.

“My life has been just one of hate, turmoil, hunger and more hate; this seemed to it is in the fastest and also most rewarding way to get a few fast seed of peace of mind. Ns don't blame civilization for hating me for what I've done nor execute I reference anybody for wanting me to be caught and punished, despite this deserve to never happen. Here are part (not all) that the points working versus the authorities:

I'm no a boasting man

I left no fingerprints

I wore a toupee

I wore putty make-up

“They could add or subtract native the composite a hundreds times and not come up with an exact description; and we both recognize it. I've come and gone on number of airline flights currently and am no holed up in some obscure backwoods town. Neither am i a psycopathic (sic) killer. As a issue of reality I've never also received a speeding ticket.

Thank girlfriend for her attention."

Colbert’s team uncovered codes in the fifth and also sixth letters, including the numbers "717171684*," which they deciphered as “I’m LT Robert W. Rackstraw.” Rackstraw, a Vietnam battle vet and also former U.S. Paratrooper who passed away in 2019, both denied and refused come discount himself as being the infamous skyjacker, follow to the Oregonian. The FBI investigated—and cleared—Rackstraw in the late 1970s.

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A 6th letter, mailed in march 28, 1972, indigenous Jacksonville, Florida to the Portland Oregonian and signed “A wealthy Man,” read: “This letter is too (sic) permit you recognize I am not dead yet really alive and also just back from the Bahamas, so your silly troopers increase there deserve to stop in search of me. The is just just how dumb this federal government is. I like your articles about me but you can stop lock now, D.B. Cooper is no real.

“I had actually to carry out something through the experience Uncle taught me, so right here I am, a an extremely rich man. Uncle offered too lot of that to world idiots and also no work for me. I had to carry out it to relax myself that frustration. I desire out that the system and also saw a way through an excellent ole Unk. Currently you know. I am going about the world and also they will never uncover me due to the fact that I to be smarter than the system's lackey cops and also lame duck leaders. Now it is Uncle's revolve to weep and also pay one of it's own some cash because that a change. (And please tell the lackey cops D.B. Cooper is not my actual name).”

Again, Colbert’s team claims this letter is coded to say, "I'm LT Robert W. Rackstraw, D.B. Cooper is no my genuine name" and "I want out the the system and saw a way by hijacking one jet plane."

But the identification of Cooper—and the author or authors of the letters—officially remains a mystery. FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich told the Reno Gazette Journal in 2014 that the letters were sent to the FBI activities in Washington, D.C. For analysis, however nothing to be found: "It was never ever proven if the actual hijacker created the letters."