23 May 2018

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46 Years After Notorious Skyjacking, D.B. Cooper's Identity Revealed At Last?

Eyewitness testimony and 3+ hours of audio with the skyjacker support the case

1960 photograph of Walter Reca outfitted for a jump. Reca was a highly skilled skydiver and former U.S. Army Airborne paratrooper who served in the Korean War.
1960 photograph of Walter Reca outfitted for a jump. Reca was a highly skilled skydiver and former U.S. Army Airborne paratrooper who served in the Korean War. (Photo courtesy of Principia Media.)
Principia Media, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based publisher, announced the believed identity of D.B. Cooper during a press conference held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 17
D.B. Cooper is the infamous skyjacker who boarded a Boeing 727 in Portland, Oregon on Thanksgiving Eve, 1971, and escaped with a $200,000 ransom after jumping from 10,000 feet.
The infamous skyjacker was identified by Carl Laurin, one of Cooper's best friends. Evidence supports the announcement D.B. Cooper is a Michigan man and former military paratrooper named Walter R. Reca
3+ hours of audio tape detailing the events of the skyjacking, an eyewitness, a pair of long underwear worn during the jump, and the testimony of a relative all were shared during the press conference. 
⏩ Laurin is a military veteran, commercial airline pilot, skydiver, and entrepreneur, and wrote the memoir D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, A Spy, My Best Friendwhich was also released.
'D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, A Spy, My Best Friend' - Front cover
'D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, A Spy, My Best Friend' - Front cover
An overview of the evidence, which was gathered by Laurin over a 20-year period and vetted by both Principia Media and Joe Koenig, a Certified Fraud Examiner and forensic linguist with more than 45-years of investigative experience, is below:
3+ hours of audio tape:
Laurin and Reca began speaking in 2000 and recorded their conversations concerning the skyjacking in 2008. The tapes describe many details, some of which were not known to the public prior to the FBI's release of information in 2015. Details include:  
  • Reca covered his fingertips with glue to obscure his fingerprints
  • Reca dictated instructions to the stewardess, who wrote down demands to give to the captain
  • Reca generously offered a "handful" of money to the stewardess before he jumped (an action which mimicked his behavior from a restaurant robbery committed earlier in his life)
  • Reca received help with the rear door from the stewardess
  • Reca ordered the window shades be pulled shut where he was sitting to protect against snipers
  • Reca insisted the stewardess bring both the money and the parachutes to him
  • Reca said the stewardess initially did not believe the plane was being hijacked
  • Reca told the stewardess she was "polite and kind" and addressed her as "young lady"
  • Reca told the stewardess to go into the cockpit before he jumped
  • Reca told the stewardess to tell the passengers "Happy Thanksgiving" and ordered meals for the flight crew for the flight
An eyewitness:
The night that Reca committed the skyjacking, he landed near Cle Elum, Washington, and walked to a nearby restaurant called the Teanaway Junction Cafe. Jeff Osiadacz, a former law enforcement official, interacted with Reca that evening within an hour of the jump. 
Osiadacz said he remembers seeing Reca because even though it was a cold, wet night, Reca was walking along the road with his raincoat bundled under his arm. The two men later interacted at the cafe, where Osiadacz gave Reca's friend directions over the phone to pick Reca up from the cafe. Reca thanked Osiadacz by paying for his coffee, and then left.
Koenig, a Certified Fraud Examiner, said this about Osiadacz's account: "I found it particularly significant that Jeff Osiadacz, aka Cowboy, his statement of events on the night of November 24, 1971, was identical to Walt's statement that he gave Carl five years earlier."
A pair of long underwear:
Laurin is in possession of Reca's insulated long underwear bottoms which Reca wore during the skyjacking to protect from the cold air as he jumped and observed by at least one eye witness.
A relative's testimony:
Lisa Story is Reca's niece. She exchanged many letters with Reca when she was a teenager and he was working in the Middle East. She then began seeing him regularly in 1999 after her grandmother passed away. Reca did not admit to being D.B. Cooper at first, though he did send her news articles about D.B. Cooper suspects and confessions with notes debunking their claims.
Then, in August 2013, Reca admitted for the second time that he was D.B. Cooper and asked Story to take him to a notary to sign his confession. Story would not, terrified her uncle would spend his last days in jail. 
What Joe Koenig said about the evidence:
"The audio tapes and transcripts and Walt's last testament, provided me with great evidence. My analysis told me Walt was not forced or coerced to make his statements to Carl, that he made the statements freely and voluntarily. The statements and last testament contain Walt's admissions to all the elements of robbery and hijacking constituting a very good confession that could be used in a criminal proceeding. Based on his confession and all the corroborating evidence, Walt, if still alive, would be prosecuted for the hijacking of Northwest 305. I believe that Walter Reca is D.B. Cooper."
Why now? 
Laurin asked for Reca's permission to share his story in 2010. Reca agreed and signed a notarized letter to that effect, although the story was not to be told until after his death. Reca passed away on February 17, 2014. 
Full audio and video of the press conference is now available in the Principia Media online press kit at principiamedia.com

About Principia Media:
Principia Media is an independent publishing and documentary film company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With a focus on storytelling, they balance professional production and marketing skills with intimate client relationships. Their capabilities include publishing fiction and nonfiction and investigative storytelling through feature-length documentaries. 

SOURCE: Principia Media