It's nowhere near Thanksgiving, but there is a already breaking D.B. Cooper news to report: The FBI today says it has uncovered "New developments" in the unsolved 1971 hijacking case. The leads involve electron microscopes, dollar bills on a fishing pole, and a French Canadian comic book hero.
In particular, the FBI now suspects that Dan Cooper - the name the semi-folk hero actually adopted - lifted his moniker (and maybe got his inspiration) from a French-produced comix (left) popular when the hijacking occurred. "In the fictional series," says the FBI, "Royal Canadian Air Force test pilot Dan Cooper takes part in adventures in outer space and real events of that era. In one episode, published near the date of the hijacking, the cover illustration shows him parachuting." According to today's release:
Seattle Special Agent Larry Carr, who took over the Cooper case two years ago, believes it's possible the hijacker took his name from the comic book (the enduring "D.B." was actually the result of a media mistake). That's important because the books were never translated into English, which means the hijacker likely spent time overseas. This fits with Carr's theory that Cooper had been in the Air Force. Carr discovered the comic book connection on D.B. Cooper Internet forums, where fascination with the case is undiminished. The forums are also where Carr found the "citizen sleuths" who volunteered to help us reinvigorate the case.
Separately, electron microscopes are being used to determine whether pollen found on a tie Cooper left behind on the plane came from a specific region of the country, says the agency. And the dollar bills on the fishing line are being studied to determine if the cash, found along the Columbia River, floated there or was buried there. More to come, for sure.