Bù lā dé Meltzer de jiěmì’kěn ní kèlǐsīdì ānsēn – zhōngwén bǎn (The ‘Brad Meltzer’s Decoded’ Episode on Kenny Christiansen – in Chinese)

Found this the other day at YouTube. Nothing like seeing you and your friends dubbed over into Chinese. I asked a friend who speaks the language, and she thought it was Mandarin.

Of course, she could have meant what kind of oranges she likes…

 

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Fear and Loathing in D.B. Cooperland

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Typical day in Cooperland

One thing about the D.B. Cooper case that makes it different, as in:

“Mrs. Gump…your boy…DIFFERENT…”

 

Is the amount of internet craziness going on within Cooperland that can get really wacko sometimes. Everyone thinks they have the right suspect. Others will play games, or tell any ridiculous tale to support their angle in the case. Sometimes the angle isn’t a suspect, but something else. Cornering the internet forum traffic related to Cooper, perhaps. Not to really solve the case on such forums, but to fritter away the time discussing it. Most of these discussions rehash the same old evidence and go nowhere.

There’s nothing wrong with discussions about old DB, of course. What makes the Cooper case different is when you start proposing a certain person may have been Cooper, and submit REAL evidence about that person. Then the claws come out, the wagons circle, and the dirty tricks emerge. Fear raises its ugly head, and loathing follows.

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Unlike the Jimmy Hoffa case, or Scorpio, or even Jack the Ripper – SOLVING the D.B. Cooper case would be a horror to many of the people who discuss it. This is because actually solving it would mean the end of discussion and no more mystery. To them, it’s like trying to swallow a golf ball, or being forced to eat a plateful of sauerkraut laced with raw sardines. Not a pretty picture.

The jealousy among Cooper fans is rampant and predictable. This writer was once foolish enough to open his own discussion forum on the case. I named it: The Adventure Books D.B. Cooper Forum. At first, I tried to do it nicely. Listed all the suspects and their entries from Wikipedia, posted up about our upcoming eclipse campout to Oregon, and other reletively harmless stuff. I shouldn’t have bothered, since it turned out to be a waste of time.

It wasn’t long before other Cooper fans discovered the site and we got as high as twenty members, some of them were even relatives of Kenny Christiansen, the guy they are now making the first DB Cooper movie about down in Hollywood. But then I made a BIG mistake. I let it slip that the film producers planned to name Kenny as Cooper, not as a guess, or a maybe, but as a matter of historical record. Their decision was based on evidence I hadn’t revealed to the public, and I had to sign a confidentiality agreement to keep my trap shut regarding details on the movie. My mistake was telling Cooperland about the ‘historical record’ stuff.  

It wasn’t long before Cooperland went ballistic, of course….
Continue reading “Fear and Loathing in D.B. Cooperland”

R.I.P. – Skipp Porteous: Private Eye, Freedom Writer, D.B. Cooper Sleuth, and FRIEND.

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Skipp in 2008

It was tough getting the news that Skipp Porteous, my co-author on the book Into The Blast – The True Story of D.B. Cooper, had passed away. For the last few years he had suffered from aphasia, and he began having trouble using a keyboard or communicating verbally, although his mind remained sharp as a carpet tack.

 

 

Skipp1991BokThe Cooper book wasn’t his first book, however. Before forming Sherlock Investigations in New York City, Skipp had actually been a fundamentalist preacher. Over the years, he had a change of heart about that work, and detailed his journey in his 1991 book, Jesus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, which is still available at Amazon. I bought a copy not long after we started working together on the D.B. Cooper case, just to get a handle on the guy who was sending me on interviews all over the Northwest USA.

In the nine years I knew Skipp, I never actually met him. But over the years I grew to KNOW him quite well. He had skills on determining when people were lying, or hiding something, or when someone needed to be questioned. In late 2008, I saw his name mentioned in an article by author Geoffrey Gray, who would later go on to write his own book on the Cooper case, Skyjack. There was a mention by Skipp that he was considering a book on the suspect discussed in the article, Kenneth Peter Christiansen, a former US Army paratrooper and an actual employee of the airline that Cooper had hijacked for $200,000.

On the day I read the article, I made a fateful decision that would change my life. I decided to contact Skipp and offer him my services as a book editor, and to possibly even publish his book. I also said I lived just down the road from where his suspect once lived, and I found the whole subject interesting.

Continue reading “R.I.P. – Skipp Porteous: Private Eye, Freedom Writer, D.B. Cooper Sleuth, and FRIEND.”

Did He Pay Cash or NOT? Our Final Result on How D.B. Cooper Suspect Kenny Christiansen Purchased a Home in Bonney Lake, WA Shortly After the Hijacking

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The house in Bonney Lake, WA shortly after Christiansen purchased it from Ann and Joe Grimes in July 1972. He bought the adjoining lot out back from the same couple three months later.

Each time this writer does an interview with the media regarding Kenneth Peter Christiansen (and his alleged accomplice, Bernard Wayne Geestman) regarding their involvement in the hijacking, one question always comes up:  “In your book on Kenny and company, Into The Blast, you say that Kenny bought a house for cash shortly after the hijacking. You have also stated this on internet forums, such as Dropzone/DB Cooper. Is this true or not? Did he pay cash?”

The answer is:  NO, he did NOT.

The next question might be:  “So why is that statement still in your book?”

The answer is:  “Because it isn’t even a key part of the case against Christiansen, and we aren’t going to modify that book until the movie on Kenny is released.”

Question:  “If you were wrong on that, why don’t you just change it NOW?”

Answer:  “There are a couple of reasons. First, we have to modify the book beyond just that one bit, and include new parts about the movie. If we did it now, we would just have to modify the book again later when the movie is released. So for now, we just let it stand.”

The investigation into Christiansen and Geestman (by Adventure Books staff) began back in early 2009. At that time, we only knew the basics, and most of that early information came from the famous 2007 article by author Geoff Gray, and some from the initial investigatory files from private investigator Skipp Porteous. It was a deep cave we were exploring, with many twists and turns, and the flashlight was very dim. We didn’t have all the facts, and we had not yet interviewed the people who knew Kenny best. In other words, we were entering a world where all the information and evidence was not yet available, and none of the witnesses had spoken to us. And like most criminal investigations, we made a few missteps along the way. The idea that Kenny actually bought that house for cash was one of them.

These days, when I do interviews I often direct the media AWAY from the book, and TOWARD the actual 54-page report we sent to the Seattle FBI in June, 2015. The reason being, it is much more accurate than the 2011 book. However, the truth on how Kenny actually managed to buy that house in Bonney Lake just seven months after the hijacking is more convincing, and better evidence against him, that just plopping down cash for it. That type of purchase could be explained in any number of ways, none of which points to him as the hijacker without additional proof. When we discovered the full truth on the house, it was better evidence than just the idea of a cash purchase on an approximately $15,000 home.

Continue reading “Did He Pay Cash or NOT? Our Final Result on How D.B. Cooper Suspect Kenny Christiansen Purchased a Home in Bonney Lake, WA Shortly After the Hijacking”

The Four Biggest Myths About AB of Seattle’s Investigation of the D.B. Cooper Case

blastcoverfrontMYTH:  We’ve had all sorts of offers for the movie rights to Into The Blast, the book that looks at Kenny Christiansen as the famous skyjacker.

TRUTH:  There have only been TWO offers. The first came from an anonymous client of Paradigm, the rep agency in New York City. They merely asked if the rights were available. We said yes. Later, they revealed themselves as representing CBS Films, and made a modest five-figure offer for the movie rights to Christiansen’s story. When they warned us that they planned to take ‘serious liberties’ with Kenny’s life story, and that some portions of the film might be ‘comedic,’ we turned down the offer. Soon afterward, CBS Films purchased the rights to author Geoffrey Gray’s book Skyjack, but later sold the rights to director Will Gluck’s (Friends With Benefits, Annie) production company. Continue reading “The Four Biggest Myths About AB of Seattle’s Investigation of the D.B. Cooper Case”

The REAL Reason the F.B.I. Closed the D.B. Cooper Case – CONCLUSION

In Part One of this article, this writer told how a witness named Troy Bentz, a civilian engineer for the U.S. Navy, claimed that a senior F.B.I. agent told he and two other men the REAL reason the F.B.I. closed the famous D.B. Cooper hijacking case. The reason given, said Bentz, was that the F.B.I. knew the identity of the hijacker, that he was dead, and that he was none other than suspect Kenny Christiansen. Bentz named the other witnesses, even providing details on where they worked, their phone numbers, and the fact that all three of them held security clearances with the U.S. government. (The names of the other witnesses and their contact information are available to the F.B.I., or to legitimate media, should they choose to ask. But I cannot release their information publicly, of course.)

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The author of this article (wearing tie) with the cast of the History Channel show, ‘Brad Meltzer’s Decoded.’ From the D.B. Cooper episode that focused on Kenny Christiansen as the hijacker.

This matter of ‘the real reason the F.B.I. closed the case’ was a stunning revelation, and I had some difficulty wrapping my mind around it. Where should I start verification on such a story? I began by talking to Bentz on the phone for a couple of hours, and then Adventure Books staff started running down the names of the witnesses and the names of the character references that he had provided.

The witnesses checked out. It was true. They were all at the baseball game with the F.B.I. agent, they all possessed security clearances as Bentz claimed, and they all heard what Agent Jarvis said.

My next step was to craft a carefully-worded email to the Seattle F.B.I. and get their response to Bentz’s allegations. I told them everything except Troy’s last name, but I did name the F.B.I. agent in question. They responded by saying ‘perhaps the agent was just giving his personal opinion on the case’. However, they did not deny that the incident happened as Bentz said. This answer from the F.B.I. did not satisfy me, so I went public and told Bentz’s story. (I referred to him as ‘Troy B’)  I named Agent Jarvis, as well as posting his picture online. A year and a half later, and there was still not a peep from the Feds telling me to cease and desist. Questioning the reputation of the F.B.I.? Calling them nationally-reported liars about one of the most famous cases they ever handled? Posting the name and picture of the agent who told the truth? I thought surely they would say SOMETHING, but they never did. I wondered if the reason was that the Seattle F.B.I. had actually checked out the 54-page illustrated report we sent them on Kenny Christiansen, less than a year prior to their announcement about closing the case. Could be, I thought.

Two weeks after Troy Bentz came forward, he called me on the phone again. He was getting nervous, he said. He had a family, a wife, and a government job. Not only that, but he had told his wife what he had done, and she was very angry with him. She called him a ‘whistleblower,’ he said, and reminded Troy that their kids went to swim team with kids of F.B.I. agents, and military personnel. She was worried how his actions might affect their family’s life, even his job.

Bentz asked if I could keep his last name out of the whole thing, and I did just that for well over a year. However, I decided that after a certain amount of time had gone by, if nothing additional came out publicly about the real reason for the closure of the Cooper case, I would finally tell the whole story. As usual, I expect to receive a certain amount of flak from armchair investigators of the D.B. Cooper case, many of whom are still not convinced that Kenny Christiansen was Cooper. They sometimes go to great lengths to discredit even the possibility that he might be the hijacker. Dirty tricks and threats directed at Adventure Books are common, which we mostly shrug off anyway.

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One email I received from Bentz contained this:

‘The Bible says that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search out a matter…’

Then he said I was doing the work of kings.

Nah, I told him. I was just the messenger boy.

The REAL Reason the F.B.I. Closed the D.B. Cooper Case

balanceforarticleOn July 8, 2016 the Seattle F.B.I. announced they were ‘allocating resources dedicated to the D.B. Cooper case to other matters’. Which means they were no longer going to investigate the case. According to a Seattle Times report, the F.B.I. did qualify this statement a bit by adding that if new or compelling evidence came forward, that the Bureau would reopen the case.

But if the Seattle F.B.I. was hoping that the Cooper case would simply ‘go away,’ and the constant tips stop coming in, they were wrong. Seattle F.B.I. agent Ayn Dietrich-Williams admitted the tips just kept on coming, no matter what the F.B.I. did to try and make the public lose interest. The F.B.I. also claimed they had investigated every possible suspect over the years, and checked out all credible tips.

Strangely enough, the F.B.I. has kept other famous cases open, such as the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa in 1975, as well as the Zodiac serial killer case that predates the Cooper case. Could there be a different, unsaid reason why the F.B.I. chose to close the Cooper case? If so, what could possibly be the reason they did?

Perhaps they had discovered the identity of the hijacker, found out he was dead anyway, and decided to leave it at that. This was the story presented to the staff of Adventure Books of Seattle about a month after the F.B.I. closed the case.

Continue reading “The REAL Reason the F.B.I. Closed the D.B. Cooper Case”