Author Topic: Suspects And Confessions  (Read 637816 times)

Offline 377

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4950 on: January 18, 2022, 11:37:54 PM »
G wrote: “ not bragging but a friend and I owned one of these in 1969 ............  we were in med school at the time and dirt poor.  We had fun ...”

Georger are you an MD?

377
 

Offline Bruce A. Smith

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4951 on: January 19, 2022, 06:08:28 PM »
377, I'm definitely waiting for this answer....
« Last Edit: January 19, 2022, 06:08:55 PM by Bruce A. Smith »
 

Offline georger

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4952 on: January 19, 2022, 11:44:17 PM »
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G wrote: “ not bragging but a friend and I owned one of these in 1969 ............  we were in med school at the time and dirt poor.  We had fun ...”

Georger are you an MD?

377

no  - went into research and other work vs finishing medical school. My friend Brad did finish, did his residency at Iowa, and had a long career at Mayo.   
 
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Offline 377

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4953 on: January 23, 2022, 03:59:29 PM »
My daughter is in her last year of med school at Pitt. Graduating with an MD is just the start. Years of slave labor as a resident follow. And now residency isn’t enough. You need a post residency fellowship of a year or two. And even that isn’t enough for some specialties.

As a 5 year old kid she loved coming to the DZ with me and her older brother. I’d toss two candy bars with long crepe paper streamers attached right after I opened. They’d run like crazy to catch them before they hit the ground. She used to stand next to the boarding line and as I passed she’d wag her finger and shake her head as she admonished me: “No hook turns daddy”. I still get teased about that many years later.

The DBC Facebook page is now hard to navigate meaningfully. No shortage of folks who know “for sure” who DB Cooper was. Ted Braden is pushed hard. He sure had the skills but he really doesn’t match the witness descriptions. I’d sure like to know why General Singlaub intervened on his behalf to avoid punishment for desertion. It might be as simple as he was put in the Congo by the US govt. Singlaub was a founding member of the CIA.

377

 
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Offline dudeman17

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4954 on: January 23, 2022, 06:09:32 PM »
Ha! Kid-friendly WDI's. Cool.
 

Offline Bruce A. Smith

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4955 on: January 23, 2022, 09:20:27 PM »
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My daughter is in her last year of med school at Pitt. Graduating with an MD is just the start. Years of slave labor as a resident follow. And now residency isn’t enough. You need a post residency fellowship of a year or two. And even that isn’t enough for some specialties.

As a 5 year old kid she loved coming to the DZ with me and her older brother. I’d toss two candy bars with long crepe paper streamers attached right after I opened. They’d run like crazy to catch them before they hit the ground. She used to stand next to the boarding line and as I passed she’d wag her finger and shake her head as she admonished me: “No hook turns daddy”. I still get teased about that many years later.

The DBC Facebook page is now hard to navigate meaningfully. No shortage of folks who know “for sure” who DB Cooper was. Ted Braden is pushed hard. He sure had the skills but he really doesn’t match the witness descriptions. I’d sure like to know why General Singlaub intervened on his behalf to avoid punishment for desertion. It might be as simple as he was put in the Congo by the US govt. Singlaub was a founding member of the CIA.

377

Congrats on the daughter graduating Pitt Med School, Three-Seven-Seven. Yup. It's a long, tough grind to a fully functioning doc. Not getting into medical school was one of the best things that never happened to me. Being a recreation therapist in psychiatry for 14 years was much better for my soul.

BTW: What's the terminal velocity for a candy bar????

BTW II: I agree. the Fb page on Cooper is too tough to follow. I only go there or response when I get an email prompt.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2022, 09:21:45 PM by Bruce A. Smith »
 

Offline WalterRaleigh

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4956 on: February 02, 2022, 12:57:42 PM »
I have been doing research on Frank Sturgis, off and on, for the last two years as a possible DB Cooper suspect.  To my knowledge, no one has ever proposed Frank Sturgis as a possible suspect.  I have searched the forums and the internet at large over the years, and have never seen anyone else propose this theory, so I think this is the first time.

If you don’t know anything about Frank Sturgis, you can read all about him here:
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Sturgis’ nephew Jim Hunt wrote a biography of him, and it is available for purchase here:
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You can get a feel for Sturgis’ appearance, speech pattern, and demeanor from this interview:


Most of Sturgis’ fame comes from his involvement in Watergate and his alleged involvement in the JFK assassination.  This notoriety makes it difficult to find information on how he could have been involved in matters other than Watergate or JFK, but from my research I think he’s a strong DB Cooper suspect. 

Here are the main reasons why I think Frank Sturgis is a strong DB Cooper suspect:
-Sturgis matches the physical description.  He stood around 5’11”, and weighed 175 lbs (per his draft card).  He was a full-blooded Italian (born Frank Fiorini), he had an olive complexion, and he had black hair that was marcelled, and usually combed-back.
-Sturgis was a chain smoker.  You will have trouble finding a full-body picture of him WITHOUT a cigarette in his hand.
-Sturgis had the skillset.  He was essentially a special forces commando in WWII.  During the war he jumped out of planes behind enemy lines and engaged in covert assassinations.  After the war, his specialty was working for the CIA to train rebels in guerilla warfare and techniques on how to survive in the jungle/harsh terrain.  He had the experience to perform the jump, and the survival skills to know what to do once he landed on the ground. 
-Sturgis was a pilot.  He owned his own plane, flew many missions to Cuba, and he would have known how to direct the Flight 305 pilots in regard to the plane controls and flight path.
-Sturgis was an “off the books” CIA operative.  If you think the U.S. government (i.e. the CIA) was involved in the Cooper heist, then Sturgis is EXACTLY the type of guy they would have used to do the job.  If not, as a CIA operative he still would have had access to inside information that the 727 air stairs could be lowered during flight.
-Sturgis was a pilot in the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  In Geoffrey Gray’s book Skyjack, he says that Florence Schaffner told him that a strange man followed her after the skyjacking and said to her that Cooper wanted to meet her and that Cooper flew in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. 

There are also reasons why Sturgis is not likely to be Cooper:
-Cooper ordered a cocktail, while Sturgis was a teetotaler who by all accounts never drank alcohol.  The counterpoint to this is that in his book DB Cooper and the FBI, Bruce Smith says that witness Bill Mitchell told him Cooper ordered only one drink, and spilled it. 
-Cooper supposedly had no accent, while Sturgis had a subtle East Coast accent.
-Sturgis became a national figure after Watergate, and his face was all over the news.  If he was Cooper, he would have been easily identified by the witnesses on the plane.
-Between his military career and his CIA work, Sturgis’ finger prints and palm prints would have been “in the system”.  The FBI would have had as easy time matching even a partial print to him, assuming he was on the radar as a possible suspect.
-Sturgis wasn’t really a criminal per se.  If Cooper, whomever Cooper was, kept the money for himself, then Sturgis didn’t do it.  Sturgis was a U.S soldier/agent/operative who loyally served his country, no matter the request, and he probably wouldn’t have gotten involved in a common (or in this case uncommon) robbery scheme.  The counterpoint to this is that if the skyjacking really was a mission assigned to him by Uncle Sam, then he probably would have done it, no questions asked.

A few interesting coincidences between Frank Sturgis and DB Cooper: 
-After he was discharged from the military, Sturgis was suffering from “battle fatigue”, presumably due to the many killings of the enemy he was asked to commit at such a young age.  He spent time recovering in a mental health facility in Oregon.  Did this give him some familiarity with the Northwest?
-Sturgis went “missing” once when he was younger and living at home in Virginia, and his disappearance made the local news.  It’s unclear what happened, but the official story is that he went hunting, was attacked by some people, and was hit on the head which altered his mental state.  He says he “woke up” smoking a cigarette (for the first time) in Raleigh, of all places.   
-Sturgis’ experiences in Cuba left him with a hatred of Castro, and Kennedy’s pullback in the Bay of Pigs were the source of a lifelong “grudge”.
-Sturgis had a job in the late 60’s working as a salesman/installer for an aluminum window company in Florida.  Is this a possible source for the spiralized aluminum and the titanium (white paint) found on the tie?
-Sturgis trained rebels in Honduras in the 60’s.  At a Congressional hearing, Howard Hunt was asked about Frederick W. Hahnemann (alias George Ames), a so-called copycat skyjacker. He was asked specifically about a connection between Hahnemann and Sturgis: “Do you know whether Frank Sturgis was involved while in Honduras or elsewhere in Central America with Hahnemann or George Ames?”  The coincidence is incredible.  Also, Sturgis met with Howard Hunt in late 1971 to join the Plumbers, and the Plumbers were in full swing in the Fall of 1971.  Was the Cooper heist their first operation?
-After the statute of limitations had run, a man admitted that Sturgis hired him to blow up a plane with a bomb carrying the Portuguese Prime Minister, for $200,000.  The plane, bomb, and dollar amount are another incredible coincidence.

Lots of names have been thrown around as possible Cooper suspects over the years, and I think it’s time Frank Sturgis be considered as a possible suspect.

Blanket Footnote:  Special thanks to Jim Hunt, Bruce Smith, and Geoffrey Gray, whose books were the original source material for much of the factual information re-stated here, and the main sources for my research and learning about Frank Sturgis and the Cooper skyjacking.  While the theories, analysis, and conclusions are my own, I personally discovered none of the facts re-stated here, and relied upon the investigatory written works of others in my research, for which I am very thankful.
 
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Offline Parrotheadvol

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4957 on: February 02, 2022, 03:02:49 PM »
It's nice to see someone propose a suspect while at the same time listing some very good reasons why the person isn't Cooper. Very rare indeed.
 
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Offline 377

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4958 on: April 27, 2022, 05:30:25 PM »
Spent a delightful few hours with a retired UA pilot (who prefers anonymity) who knew Don Burnworth. My pilot friend was a 727 check pilot. He flew everything from DC 6s and 7s through every model of the 747 retiring on the 747-400. He said Don had a reputation as an oddball and troublemaker among UA mgmt. Don took lots of unpaid leave to deal with family problems. When the Cooper skyjack took place and the FBI sketches were published my friend said many UA pilots said: “that’s Don Burnworth.” My friend said UA pilots told him that Burnworth had parachute training. When I spoke with Don Burnworth he calmly denied being Cooper and told me that he had no jump experience or training. My pilot friend said he just heard rumors about Burnworth’s parachute training and never learned specifics or saw proof. He told me Burnworth took leave two weeks before the skyjack and returned to work one week after. He had money problems due to extensive time off and legal expenses arising from marriage problems. He assumed all this had been investigated by the FBI but wasn’t certain. He had a very troubled marriage (Don told me his ex was seriously mentally ill). He often cared for their kids full time and even took them to Europe to protect them from their mother. That trip violated a court order which got him briefly jailed in Redwood City CA. He said the arrest and brief jailing were not Cooper related. So there you have it. If we can show that Burnworth did have parachute training then he becomes a very interesting candidate. If not, then I’d say it’s unlikely that he was Cooper.
 
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Offline Bruce A. Smith

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4959 on: April 28, 2022, 04:43:23 PM »
I concur, Three-Seven-Seven.

Interesting, your account differs slightly from what Don told me: He left UA for Germany several months before Cooper and returned about a year later.

However, he told me that he had never received any parachute training, nor did he ever do any skydiving. But he sure was a pain-in-the-ass for UA mgt, who tried to fire him. Union got him re-instated.
 

Offline snowmman

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4960 on: May 11, 2022, 02:05:27 AM »
 
Quote
(Don told me his ex was seriously mentally ill).

Strange. It's rare to have a guy claim his ex-wife was mentally ill.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2022, 02:06:17 AM by snowmman »
 

Offline JimmyCalhoun1991

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4961 on: May 19, 2022, 05:10:47 AM »
Popping in for what appears to be my "annual visit." I have predominantly been a lurker on the forum for many years, but when I see people posting about certain suspects being Cooper, I just cannot help myself. It kind of gets me hot and bothered, perhaps because it seems that the people with the worst theories seem to make the most noise. Some of you have my utmost respect, like the long-termers who have been here for years, and who have made their contributions based in reality and not absurd junk science or fantasy. I realize this is an abrasive comment, but someone has got to come with a bit of (respectful) reality here. Ban the account if you must, but I have to say some potentially hurtful things.

Bob Rackstraw= easily dismissed as a suspect. It's a joke. There's nothing there but a loud contortionist squeezing loose ends together like Play-Doh. I get physically angry waching Colbert desperately trying to fit the narrative to his "facts." Why? Because he has an agenda and is immovable and of course, because he has the financing to get his BS into your living room. In science, we do not craft a hypothesis and then try to get the data to reflect what we think we know. Rackstraw was investigated and eliminated by people much more intelligent than you, Tom Colbert. The FBI would have LOVED to send someone to prison for the hijacking, and if there was any conceivable way Bob Rackstraw could have somehow been involved, they'd have tossed his ass in the Federal Penitentiary and never looked back. What's with all Colbert's hearsay nonsense about extraction teams and all that crap? Give me a break, man. Would a guy capable of that kind of shrewd planning and savviness, enough to install a highly sophisticated hit team on the ground commando style, struggle to get the god damned stairs lowered and fumble around for what, twenty minutes? Would a guy with skills like that need to pull a heist in the first place? Make no mistake, it was all about the money, nothing more. Rackstraw was pale white with blue eyes and sandy blond/light brown hair. Does that fit the description of Db Cooper? Would you ever look at Rackstraw and think, "Bobby, are you LATIN or from the Mediterranean?" Of course not.

This leads me to my next cruel treatment, Richard Floyd McCoy and the people pushing him as a suspect STILL, after he was ruled out 50 years ago. So. McCoy hijacks the plane in Portland, right? He's calm, cool, POLITE. He's careful, gets his notes back, calmly flirts a little with the stewardess, then bails out after take-off from SeaTac.

Then he hijacks another jet in Utah some months later. This time, he's an arrogant, out of control moron with no chill at all, and completely changes everything around, including his personality? Does that sound logical? If he simply lost the money, that would mean all other aspects of the hijacking went off pretty well, down to surviving the jump and having control of the aircraft. Why, then, would he completely change EVERYTHING for the worse, and be a total asshole? It makes no sense at all. People have mannerisms, they have a personality and way they do things in high pressure situations. In these situations, they are not going to do a dramatic about-face and be a totally different human being for no apparent reason. It's lunacy. The FBI dismissed the guy, but I guess after so many years that means nothing and newcomers to the Cooper world just ignore that fact and push the guy as if he was never investigated.

Rich McCoy was ruled out by the woman who sat next to Cooper for HOURS. Not minutes, HOURS. She had intimate contact with the guy, she saw his face, she was clear enough to make many mental notes about what he looked like. She didn't block it out. She may say she did, but she didn't. To this day, if she ever saw Db Cooper's photo, I guarantee it would hit her like a ton of bricks. You do NOT forget the face of a person who threatens your life. She says it ain't him, it ain't him. We have to take that as gospel, because if we don't, what the hell else is there to go on here?

Rich McCoy was a pasty white guy with pale eyes and big ol goofy ears. Could he pass for being "latin?" Would anyone ever say, "you know, Richard McCoy, that swarthy, LATIN looking guy over ther." No. Don't be absurd. Of course they wouldn't. Any suspect that does not have a swarthy, LATIN appearance either better have been reported missing shortly thereafter, have a ransom note as proof, or have a a damn good story for why they're the hijacker. It's real simple, folks. If a guy is pale white with blue eyes and is practically freaking bald, it is not DB Cooper. Next suspect, move on, period. There has to be some parameters to search by and eliminate folks by, or else literally anyone could be the guy. I realize eye-witness testimony is not the most reliable thing in the world, but rest-assured millions of suspects have been apprehended off of eye-witness testimony alone, and many millions more will be as well in the next 50 years. Composite sketch artists are pretty good at what they do, and while there several confusing Cooper sketches out there, I'd bet my ass that if/when the guy is ever identified, he will look a lot like those sketches.

It's an endless rehash of the same tired suspects over and over and over again, isn't it? Rackstraw, Braden, McCoy, Weber, Christensen, rinse and repeat. None are Cooper.


Boeing laid off thousands of employees in one of the biggest, blindsiding force reductions in corporate history after the SST was cancelled from 1970-early 1971. We all know this, surely. Kind of uncanny how just a few months later, in the same city where Boeing is headquartered, a man hijacks a frickin plane with a GRUDGE and holds it ransom. The system that beat the system. Anyone? Would a guy wearing a clip-on tie have an extraction team on the ground commando style? Someone find a psychological profile of the 40something man who ears a clip-on tie. 
 
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Offline Robert99

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4962 on: May 19, 2022, 11:19:44 AM »
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. . . . . . . . . . . . .

It's an endless rehash of the same tired suspects over and over and over again, isn't it? Rackstraw, Braden, McCoy, Weber, Christensen, rinse and repeat. None are Cooper.

Boeing laid off thousands of employees in one of the biggest, blindsiding force reductions in corporate history after the SST was cancelled from 1970-early 1971. We all know this, surely. Kind of uncanny how just a few months later, in the same city where Boeing is headquartered, a man hijacks a frickin plane with a GRUDGE and holds it ransom. The system that beat the system. Anyone? Would a guy wearing a clip-on tie have an extraction team on the ground commando style? Someone find a psychological profile of the 40something man who ears a clip-on tie.

Jimmy, you should visit more often.  Do you know a good shrink who would be willing to do a professional psychological profile of Cooper?  So far we have only we only have profiles from the shrinks that hang out at the neighborhood bars.
 

Offline Bruce A. Smith

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4963 on: May 19, 2022, 01:23:08 PM »
Robert, your suggestion may bear fruit in the near term. Several months ago I was contacted by an individual who prides himself as an amateur profiler with a long history of near-success, ie: BTK and other crimes. His work has apparently been cited by FBI profiler John Douglas as worthy stuff.

This individual is in constant contact with me and has some interesting insights into DBC. I'm encouraging this researcher to make his thoughts more public.
 
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Offline Robert99

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Re: Suspects And Confessions
« Reply #4964 on: May 19, 2022, 02:48:55 PM »
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Robert, your suggestion may bear fruit in the near term. Several months ago I was contacted by an individual who prides himself as an amateur profiler with a long history of near-success, ie: BTK and other crimes. His work has apparently been cited by FBI profiler John Douglas as worthy stuff.

This individual is in constant contact with me and has some interesting insights into DBC. I'm encouraging this researcher to make his thoughts more public.

Bruce, use your charm school talents to get this individual to start posting on this site.  We desperately need him.  A "near-success" profile is better than the none that we currently have. :)