Bernie Geestman, a guy who lives in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains of Washington State, is the man alleged by Adventure Books of Seattle as being the main accomplice in the D.B. Cooper hijacking. We believe he not only supplied the vehicle used to take Cooper suspect Kenny Christiansen to the Portland Airport, but provided key information regarding the Boeing 727 that was hijacked by Cooper. His story has already been told at length. He and Kenny served together on Shemya Island in the Aleutians for Northwest Airlines for a few years. Basically, Bernie was the mechanic and Kenny his assistant. They oiled the planes, cleaned out the interiors, and did occasional repairs if needed. Kenny’s job was mostly the labor stuff, and Bernie was the boss.
I only interviewed Bernie Geestman once in person. I showed up on his doorstep one day and got thirty minutes from him. In order not to put him on the defensive, I told him at first I was there gathering information on his friend Kenny for a biography on Kenny’s life. Geestman bought into that fib for twenty-five out of thirty minutes. He went on about their friendship, working for all those years off and on for Northwest, and some of the things they had done together.
Near the end of the interview, Geestman suddenly stopped talking and gave me a strange look. “Why are you asking about Kenny again?” he said.
I told him the truth. “Kenny’s being investigated for the D.B. Cooper hijacking,” I said. “We think he might be the hijacker.”
Geestman froze. The blood drained from his face like he’d seen a ghost. “Nah. It couldn’t be Kenny,” he said.
I showed him a printed copy of the 2007 Geoff Gray article from New York Magazine, the first public document alleging that Christiansen could be Cooper. He scanned over it quickly and then handed it back to me. “You should talk to my ex-wife,” Geestman said, “she and Kenny were thick as theives. She lives up in Twisp.” (A small town in north central Washington)
I already knew where Margaret lived, and I planned to see her soon anyway. I also knew that she and Bernie had lived together at the ranch in Twisp for many years before their divorce. I decided to test Geestman. “Do you know her address? All I have is a P.O. box for her there.”
“No, not exactly,” he said. A lie, of course. And one of many he would tell over the next year to not only me, but Marisa Kagan, a researcher for the History Channel show Brad Meltzer’s Decoded. He continued telling lies when he finally went on the show, telling the cast and crew that yes…Kenny could be Cooper because ‘he looks just like him,’ meaning the FBI sketch of the hijacker. That was a lie by omission because several witnesses, some from his own family, testified he and Kenny were together, and missing, over the entire week the hijacking occurred.
All of that happened back in 2009-10. Today, much more is known about him, and some of it comes from his own family. None of it points to his innocence, and instead confirms what we suspected about Geestman all along: That he was probably the instigator and main help for D.B. Cooper, aka Kenneth Peter Christiansen. I have created a couple of cartoons courtesy of the free program at ToonDoo. The cartoons poke fun at the idea that if a feature film is made this year on Kenny Christiansen, Geestman might wangle a job with the production company…as a technical advisor.
Submitted by: Robert M. Blevins, Adventure Books of Seattle