Lyle Christiansen – His Character and Motivations Explained

Lyle Christiansen, a retired US Postal Service worker and the brother of accused ‘DB Cooper’ hijacker Kenny Christiansen, has been portrayed by some armchair investigators of the Cooper case as a man seeking money by cashing in on the idea that his brother could be the hijacker. That in fact, he first approached private investigator Skipp Porteous because he thought that if his brother was Cooper, that it would make a good movie. Yes, Lyle has said that, but he wasn’t referring to making money from a movie about his brother’s life. He simply thought it would make a good movie. Frankly, so does this writer, and so do the production companies in Los Angeles currently working on this movie.

LylesmallerBut what the so-called experts like Bruce Smith, Dave Brown, (aka ‘Shutter,’ the founder of The D.B. Cooper Forum) won’t tell you is that they know these allegations about Lyle Christiansen are as ridiculous as the infamous Marla Cooper story. They only WISH they were true. They’ve been informed a few times on what you will read below, but they won’t acknowledge it, and they certainly won’t tell you about it. In the case of the D.B. Cooper Forum, one of the most slanted websites on Planet Earth, they actively conceal any evidence having to do with Kenny Christiansen, unless it is negative. Much of the time they just make stuff up anyway, knowing that no one from Adventure Books can actually respond to it. (So we do it here, and over at Quora dot com.)

Another fable is that Lyle once told a radio station DJ that he knew his brother wasn’t Cooper. This writer will address these issues one at a time to set the record straight, because if you are looking for the truth, you won’t find it at either Bruce Smith’s Mountain News blog, or at the D.B. Cooper Forum. (I am banned from both of those sites, which isn’t a surprise because they don’t like hearing the truth from actual sources.) They prefer making generalized statements on things they have no idea about, hoping that something will stick. The truth is, I realized hanging around at either of those places can actually make you look bad with the media. For the most part, anyway – although there are some exceptions. I’m okay with the banning, if you are asking. But what it forces me to do sometimes is to counter their lies with the truth. This article is an example of that.

True or False:  Lyle Christiansen has said he doesn’t really believe his brother was D.B. Cooper.

a-liars-worst-enemy-is-someone-with-a-good-memory-36428455ANSWER:  False. Lyle believes strongly his brother could be Cooper, but he doesn’t know for sure, because brother Kenny never told him he was the hijacker. However, he strongly suspected his brother was the hijacker once he saw a TV show on the hijacking back in early 2007. Over the last twelve years, Lyle cooperated fully with both Skipp Porteous and the staff of Adventure Books of Seattle, providing whatever we asked from him. These things include scores of pictures of Kenny, his personal letters to his family back in Minnesota, certain evidentiary documents, and many other items. These are not the actions of a man who doesn’t believe he is on the right track. His last letter to our office arrived in February 2019. If anything, his belief is stronger than ever, since he has seen our 54-page report to the Seattle FBI about his brother, and was made privy to new evidence in the case, some of which has not been revealed to the public.

True or False:  Lyle Christiansen, from the very start, was only interested in making money from a book and/or movie based on the life of his brother, and by convincing the public that his brother Kenny was the hijacker. In other words, he wanted he and his family to ‘cash in’ on such a situation. 

ANSWER:  False. During the long investigation into Kenny Christiansen’s life, we asked Lyle to sign two different documents. The first one was an initial release of the rights to Kenny’s story to Adventure Books of Seattle. There is no provision for payment, not even from sales of the book Into The Blast, which has been available since January 2011. Lyle has not received one penny from sales of the book to date. He has no complaints about it, saying he is only motivated to find out the truth about his brother, not to make money from his brother’s story.

True or False:  When Adventure Books of Seattle was signed to an option contract for a film on Kenny’s life in January 2017, Lyle signed another release disallowing he or any member of his family from collecting a cent from the movie. They say they only want the truth about Kenny, and that shows it.

refusepaymentANSWER:  True. When the movie deal came along, we went to Lyle for another release, this one for the movie production company’s use. The production company said that without a separate release from Lyle (he is the executor of Kenny’s will) allowing them to present Kenny’s story as a motion picture, they could not move forward. Lyle Christiansen signed the release gladly, under the terms I described above. Many of his family members are also Facebook friends, and they agreed with Lyle’s decision. It isn’t money they seek, but the truth.

Some of you are probably asking yourselves, “Why would Lyle do that? Why wouldn’t the family want a piece of the action, as they say?” The reasons are simple. First, none of them are exactly poor. All of the family members involved here live comfortable lives, and although they aren’t rich, neither do they worry particularly where their next meal is coming from. Second, because Lyle and his family have stated they just want to know the truth about Kenny and aren’t interested in collecting money if Kenny is proven to be the famous hijacker. They would consider taking this money beneath them, to put it bluntly.

When this writer did the two-day film shoot last October with Minnow Films, I presented evidence to Minnow showing that the above things you have just read are true. I was prepared for that, because these armchair investigators like Bruce Smith and others toss out their unfounded baloney all the time. It is left to me to provide you with the non-slanted, non-Oscar Meyer version of things. If you want to boil everything down to three simple concepts on Lyle, here they are:

  • Lyle has freely provided letters, pictures, documents, and other items, over a period of a dozen years, all at his own expense. There are enough of these things to fill two drawers in our office. Everything we ever asked of him, he provided. Every email we ever sent with questions, he answered. Despite what others have said about him, he has never, as far as we know, wavered from his belief that his brother could be Cooper. When people have said Lyle has denied thinking that his brother was Cooper, we point out that this is moot, even if it were true – which it is not. Lyle does not KNOW whether his brother was Cooper, so his opinion on it would be moot anyway.
  • Lyle and his family stand to make exactly zero dollars on any movie or book or other marketing having to do with Kenny Christiansen. Zero, zilch, nada. This was their choice. At the start, we offered the family fifteen percent of any net revenues on book sales, and they refused it.
  • Lyle, when informed we would need a second release, a complete carte blanche to present Kenny’s story in a major motion picture, did the same thing. He refused to take a single cent in exchange for signing the release.

fightingCooperlandOf course, people are going to spread lies here and there if it suits their purpose. However, these are the same people who engage in ugly attacks sometimes, and will say and do anything to support their case, in a pathetic effort to discredit others. That’s why this column exists. So that folks like you reading this now will know where to go to find the real truth about things. As actor Barry Pepper once said in Saving Private Ryan:

“Careful you don’t step in the bullshit…”

Submitted by Robert Blevins, managing editor, Adventure Books of Seattle. If you would like to see something we’re doing in a couple of weeks that beats writing this article, just look over HERE. And don’t forget to check out the Big D.B. Cooper Celebration coming to Portland in November 2019.