It was one of the most mysterious unsolved crimes ever committed, becoming a cultural phenomenon and spawning books, films and numerous mentions in TV shows — and an Army veteran may have just made a significant crack in the case.
In 1971, a well-dressed man hijacked a Seattle-bound flight and proceeded to parachute out of the airplane with a ransom totaling $200,000. He was never seen again. The suspect became known as D.B. Cooper.
The mystery has inspired such works as 1981’s The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper, starring Robert Duvall as well as a character on Twin Peaks being named after Cooper, among multiple other nods and plotlines in assorted shows. There is even a popular fan theory that Don Draper of AMC’s Mad Men went on to be Cooper.
Now, a retired Indiana construction worker and Army veteran who specialized as a code breaker believes he make have made a break in the case, which has been dormant with authorities for years, according to CBS News.
“I never in my wildest dreams would have ever thought that I would ever use Morse Code, or any kind of code breaking or anything again,” said Rick Sherwood, who served three tours in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
Sherman was asked for assistance by Tom Colbert, a California-based TV producer, who’s investigating the D.B. Cooper case, CBS News reports.
Colbert suspected the suspect was a California man who served in the Army with Sherwood. The Army code-breaker believes he has connected D.B. Cooper to that man through letters and other materials, CBS News reports.
A FBI spokeswoman told CBS News the agency is no longer actively investigating the case, and declined to confirm if Colbert’s hunch was ever a suspect.