By Steve Neavling
Ralph Himmelsbach, the lead FBI agent in the mysterious 1971 skyjacker case of D.B. Cooper, has died.
The retired agent died Tuesday in Woodburn, Oregon, at the age of 94, The Oregonian reports.
Himmelsbach was best known for the decade he spent investigating the hijacking of Northwest Orient Flight 305. Cooper boarded the plane in Portland, Ore. He claimed to have a bomb and had the plane fly to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where he got the ransom money. He subsequently parachuted from the plane and was never found.
After his retirement, Himmelsbach wrote the book “Norjak: The Investigation of D.B. Cooper” and “The Secrets of the FBI.”
“Special Agent Himmelsbach retired from the FBI almost 40 years ago, but he never left the FBI family,” Renn Cannon, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said. “Through the later years of his long career and into retirement, he was seen as an expert on the mysteries of the D.B. Cooper disappearance. He will be missed by all who had the chance to come to know him.”
Born on Sept. 28, 1985, in Oakland, Calif., Himmelsbach graduated from the University of Oregon and later served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
Himmelsbach joined the FBI in 1951 and became a reputable, dogged investigator.
Later in his life, Himmelsbach said D.B. Cooper likely did during his jump from the plane.