What to Know
Cooper hijacked a plane, received a ransom payment, and is believed to have parachuted from the airliner.
Cooper's identity remains unconfirmed by law enforcement 46 years after the crime.
The new book is based on two years of investigation into Cooper's alleged confessions to a personal friend.
A new book claims that it has uncovered the identity of the man who famously took over an airliner in 1971 and parachuted out of the plane with $200,000 in tow.
That man, known as D.B. Cooper, is the subject of a new book entitled “D.B. Cooper & Me.” The book, released by Principa Media, is based on the recollections of Carl Laurin, who says he was Cooper’s best friend and that the man confessed his crimes to him.
At a press conference Thursday, Vern Jones, the lead investigator and publisher at Principa Media said that the man known as D.B. Cooper was actually Walter Reca, a former paratrooper in the U.S. military. Jones said Reca confessed his crimes to Laurin during a series of conversations, including one in 2008 that was recorded.
During those conversations with Laurin, Reca detailed the flight path of the plane, how he escaped, and what he did with the money he was given.
According to a press release issued by Principa Media, the book is based on Laurin’s eyewitness testimony, and on other available evidence:
- Documentation on how the $200,000 ransom was spent
- Confession from Reca to two individuals at two different times
- An article of clothing Reca wore during the jump
- Correct flight path information and his landing zone
Laurin and Reca’s niece Lisa Story both say he confessed his crimes to them prior to his death in 2014. Laurin took audio recordings of the 2008 confession, in which Reca gave details about the skyjacking that weren’t released publicly by the FBI until 2015, according to Principa Media.
On Thanksgiving Eve in 1971, Cooper hijacked a plane travelling from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. He demanded a ransom of $200,000, and was given that money when the plane landed in Seattle and all passengers were released.
The plane then took off again with a limited crew on board. At some point during the flight Cooper deployed the plane’s stairs and parachuted out, and his identity has been the subject of investigation and conjecture for decades.
During Thursday’s press conference, Jones said he believes the information the FBI has on the case is “inaccurate,” according to Grand Rapids Magazine.
The bureau has not responded to a request for comment on the news. Whether the Cooper case is still an open investigation remains unclear.