One of the suspects who may have been the infamous “D.B. Cooper” has passed away. Sheridan Peterson was one of the suspects in the hijacking of a Northwest Orient flight that was traveling from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington, almost 50 years ago.
The man claiming to be Dan Cooper (or D.B. Cooper) said that he had a bomb on board the plane and demanded $200,000 in cash in addition to several parachutes. After receiving the money and parachutes, at some point during the flight (between Seattle and Reno, Nevada) he jumped out of the plane and was never seen again. He was responsible for the only unsolved skyjacking in American history.
Peterson, who was named one of the suspects, passed away on January 8th at 94 years of age. He was considered a prime suspect because of his experience as a smokejumper and had a great interest in skydiving. During WWII, he served as a marine and was later employed at Boeing (in Seattle) as a technical editor.
He even wrote an article in the National Smokejumper Association magazine that many people considered was a confession. He wrote in part, “Actually, the FBI had good reason to suspect me.” “Friends and associates agreed that I was without a doubt D.B. Cooper. There were too many circumstances involved for it to be a coincidence.” “At the time of the heist, I was 44 years old. That was the approximate age Cooper was assumed to have been, and I closely resembled sketches of the hijacker.”
While he told the authorities that he was in Nepal when the hijacking occurred, he was still named a main suspect. In fact, Eric Ullis, who is an entrepreneur from Phoenix and has spent many years attempting to figure out who D.B. Cooper really is, stated that he was 98% sure that Peterson was the person who did the hijacking.
And Peterson isn’t the only suspect in the D.B. Cooper case that has passed away in recent years. Back in July of 2019, Robert Rackstraw, who once claimed to have been the infamous hijacker, passed away at 75 years of age. He was a U.S. Army paratrooper (with experience in explosives) and a pilot. It also didn’t help that his army photo looked eerily similar to the sketch done of Cooper.
In a 2016 mini-series called “D.B. Cooper: Case Closed?” Thomas Colbert, who is a filmmaker and who studied the case for numerous years, was sure that Rackstraw was the infamous hijacker. He even confronted Rackstraw in the documentary who said, “I told everybody I was (the hijacker),” but ended up saying that it was a stunt. He did, however, say something very interesting, “The problem is, I don’t remember a lot of it.” He even told a reporter shortly after the hijacking that “I wouldn’t discount myself” when asked if he was D.B. Cooper but later admitted that he was just trying to wind up the reporter. Hmmm…
While he was initially a suspect, the FBI cleared him because of his age (he was only 28 years old at the time of the hijacking and the suspect was believed to have been in his 40s).
With two suspects deceased and no deathbed confessions, the mystery of who D.B. Cooper actually is remains a mystery.