Morris man has keen interest in D.B. Cooper documentary
By Tom Larson
The D.B. Cooper hijacking mystery, and possibly a local connection to it, will be the focus of an hour-long reenactment documentary airing Sunday on the National Geographic Channel.
The documentary, "The Skyjacker That Got Away," will be broadcast at 9 p.m., July 26.
A Morris man, Lyle Christiansen, has said he has evidence that D.B. Cooper very likely was his brother, Kenneth, who died in 1994.
Christiansen said the documentary's production company, Edge West LLC, contacted him and reviewed some of the material he has compiled about the case and his brother's possible connections to the 1971 hijacking.
The documentary also is expected to air on Monday, July 27, at midnight, and on Sunday, Aug. 2, at 2 p.m.
Based on a short clip of the documentary and a plot synopsis, the program will reenact the hijacking and ransom plot, and that "... for the first time in FBI history a team of citizen sleuths, using modern forensic science, is helping unravel the mystery of D.B. Cooper."
Christiansen said that until a few years ago, he had never heard about D.B. Cooper, even though the November 1971 skyjacking and extortion ploy - seen by many as a modern-day Robin Hood story -- captivated millions, spawned songs, a movie, books, countless searches and thousands of suspects, and led to sweeping security changes in the airline industry.
In a nutshell, D.B. Cooper - more appropriately, Dan Cooper -- is the alias used by a passenger who boarded a Northwest 727 on Thanksgiving eve 1971 and told a flight attendant that he had a bomb in his brief case. The plane, which took off from Portland bound for Seattle-Tacoma Airport, landed and $200,000 in $20 bills and four parachutes were brought aboard. Then, he instructed the flight crew to take off for Mexico City.
Once on the ground, passengers and much of the flight crew left the plane, and the FBI and Northwest officials met all of Cooper's demands. Minutes after the plane took off, aft stairs unique to the 727 were lowered and Cooper leapt into the rainy, cold darkness with two of the parachutes, the money and the brief case.
Except for the discovery of about $5,800 of the ransom, found nine years later, neither Cooper nor the bulk of the money were ever found.
Lyle Christiansen was watching the TV show "Unsolved Mysteries" a few years ago and a segment on D.B. Cooper caught his attention. Just about every detail of the case, especially a sketch of the skyjacker, led Lyle to believe his brother Kenneth, who died in 1994 of cancer, was the famed skyjacker.
For more, see a November 2007 Sun Tribune story on Christiansen's research, "Cracking the Cooper case?", on the paper's Web site at www.morrissuntribune.com.