D.B. Cooper Sleuth Sues FBI for Access to Skyjacker’s Tie

FBI sketches of D.B. Cooper.

By Steve Neavling

A citizen sleuth who has investigated the D.B. Cooper case is suing the FBI for access to the hijacker’s tie that he believes contains DNA that would help identify the pseudonymous criminal.

In the federal lawsuit filed in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Eric Ulis, of Phoenix, Ariz., is requesting access to the clip-on tie that the skyjacker left behind on the hijacked airplane, KING 5 reports.

The lawsuit comes after the FBI denied his request to take a DNA sample from the tie. 

Based on particles lifted from the tie in 2019, Ulis believes the man known as D.B. Cooper is a deceased Pennsylvania resident who worked at a Pennsylvania metals company that produced titanium materials found on the tie. 

The case has baffled the FBI, which never determined the identity of D.B. Cooper, making the case the only unsolved skyjacking in U.S. history. 

A man who went by Dan Cooper boarded Northwest Orient Flight 305 in Portland, Ore., on Nov. 24, 1971, and claimed to have a bomb. He forced the plane to fly to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where he got $200,000 in ransom money. He subsequently parachuted from the plane and was never found.

The FBI said it had ended its investigation in 2016, saying the suspect may have died during the treacherous jump. But a year later, the bureau said it may resume the search after a team of private investigators coordinated by a filmmaker found “an odd piece of buried foam” that they believed may be material from Cooper’s parachute backpack.

On the 56th anniversary of the hijacking in 2017, the FBI publicized a letter that someone claiming to be the suspect sent to newspapers.

Ralph Himmelsbach, the lead FBI agent in the case, died in October 2019.

After his retirement, Himmelsbach wrote the book “Norjak: The Investigation of D.B. Cooper” and “The Secrets of the FBI.”

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