Witness Comes Forward – D. B. Cooper Suspect Kenny Christiansen DID Bury Cash Behind His House After the Hijacking.

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Kenny Christiansen’s house as it appeared in 2010. Kyle said he and his friends found buried money totaling more than $1,400 buried on the hill behind this house back in 1998. The bills, all 20’s, were dated 1984-85, when Christiansen still owned the property behind the house, making Christiansen the most likely person to have hidden it there.  The bills from the hijacking ransom are dated from 1969, so if they belonged to Christiansen, it was obviously laundered money if it originated from the Cooper hijacking.

(UPDATE: A 30-minute video has been uploaded to YouTube with Kyle’s interview. We apologize in advance for the traffic noise, which was unavoidable. The area of Bonney Lake, WA where Kenny Christiansen’s old house sits today has been built up tremendously in the last few years, but it was the place we HAD to film the video. The video is linked at the end of this article.)

Two weeks ago, a man I will call ‘Kyle’ approached me through Facebook with an incredible story. Kyle, who is a 33-year-old resident of Bonney Lake, Washington, said that he had watched a rerun of the Brad Meltzer’s Decoded TV episode on DB Cooper suspect Kenny Christiansen. While he was watching, he said, he heard the part where the cast and this writer discuss the urban rumor that Kenny had buried some cash on the empty lot (a wooded hill) he owned behind the main house.

Kyle said he was not a big fan of D.B. Cooper, although he had heard of him and knew the basic story, but few details beyond the general things known by most folks in the Great Northwest. However, when he saw the part about the possibility of buried money, he said he recognized Kenny’s house as the same place in Bonney Lake that he and some of his friends often played as kids. Not down the hill at the house itself, but up on the hill in the woods behind the house. He claimed he was the one who found the rumored money, and it wasn’t a rumor at all. It was TRUE, he said. And he could prove it.

Of course, I get contacts about the Cooper case from time to time. Some are well-meaning, others are just plain crazy. My job is to filter the wheat from the chaff. So the first thing I did was to qualify him as a witness. I checked his Facebook page, his history on Google, and his friends’ list. Everything seemed normal enough. Kyle liked to post up about his vehicle, BBQ’s, his girlfriend – basically the usual stuff you see from a normal Facebook user. I checked his employment. He was a shoe salesman for an upscale department store chain in Bellevue. He had been trying to reach me for a couple of weeks, he said.

So far, so good. But did he have any proof of his claim?

He said:  “I have pictures of the money. And I wasn’t the only one who was there when we found it.”

We?

“Yes,” he said. “My friends and I were playing up there when we found it.”
Continue reading “Witness Comes Forward – D. B. Cooper Suspect Kenny Christiansen DID Bury Cash Behind His House After the Hijacking.”

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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”

D.B. Cooper -The Bomb and What the FBI Withheld on it

no6-a-cells-x4When the F.B.I. or any law enforcement agency investigates a major crime, one of the things they do is to hold back a known fact or two from the public. They do this to weed out false confessors to the crime, or to eliminate (or confirm) suspects. The D.B. Cooper hijacking case was no different. It has recently come to light that the F.B.I. decided to hold back a key bit of evidence about the bomb the hijacker used to force Northwest Airlines to hand over $200,000 in cash and four parachutes.

Over the last forty-six years, only four things have ever been revealed about the bomb itself. First, that it was housed in a briefcase. Second, that there was a battery inside similar to the one in the picture. Third, that there were wires attached to both the battery and the bomb. Fourth, that the bomb was composed of red sticks. This last bit originated from stewardess Florence Schaffner, who was allowed a quick glance inside the briefcase. Schaffner was passed a note from the hijacker shortly after takeoff from Portland, OR that read:

Miss. I have a bomb here and I would like you to sit by me.

As soon as Schaffner did as she was told, the hijacker opened the briefcase for a quick moment. She later told the flight crew what she saw. Red sticks, lots of wires, and a battery bigger than one you would put into a flashlight. That’s been the story for several decades now, although FBI agent Ralph Himmelsbach has said occasionally that he was sure the bomb was phony because dynamite sticks are generally tan in color, and not red.

Red sticks. Could they have been road flares? The problem with road flares isn’t that they are red. It’s that they have an ignitor on one end, and a lot of instructions printed on the outside. Even a stewardess who only got a quick look would be able to tell the ‘dynamite’ was phony. So if they weren’t dynamite, and they weren’t road flares, then how could they pass for a real explosive? If the F.B.I. had even a clue that the bomb was a phony, they probably would have stormed Flight 305 right on the tarmac after it reached Seattle. But something created doubt in their minds about the whole thing, and somehow they assumed the bomb could be real, even if the alleged dynamite was the wrong color.

The answer was both simple – and a brilliant move by the hijacker. He not only fooled the F.B.I. and the flight crew, but the bomb itself had a purpose beyond just being a bomb.

It was a key part of the hijacker’s escape plan.
Continue reading “D.B. Cooper -The Bomb and What the FBI Withheld on it”

Less Than Zero: History Channel Lays an Egg With Their ‘DB Cooper – Case Closed?’ TV Special

tomandbillyLMNO Productions out of Encino, CA ran commercials for weeks on History Channel about their upcoming four-hour special on skyjacker ‘D.B. Cooper.’ The commercials hinted strongly that not only did they have a suspect who was alive, but they were certain he was the man who pulled off the only unsolved skyjacking in U.S. history. They bragged about using a team packed full of ex-FBI agents and crime reporters, including Billy Jensen, a well-known crime reporter out of New York. They said they had been secretly working on the case for five years, and that the four-hour special for History Channel was the result. For D.B. Cooper fans, the anticipation built to a fever pitch as the show neared its premiere date.

The show, D.B. Cooper – Case Closed? begins with a basic history of the hijacking, and then moves on to interviewing both civilian sleuths of the case, as well as actual witnesses. The show was presented in two-hour increments over two consecutive nights. About halfway through part one, the show finally announces their Main Suspect – Robert Wesley Rackstraw. They show a filmed interview with him that was shot in 1979, when Rackstraw was being questioned for an unrelated crime.

At that point the wheels began to fall off on the whole thing.

Continue reading “Less Than Zero: History Channel Lays an Egg With Their ‘DB Cooper – Case Closed?’ TV Special”

D.B. Cooper – An In-Depth Look at Alleged Accomplice Bernie Geestman – Part One of Three

Today, Bernie Geestman lives in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, near the town of Sequim. (pronounced ‘Sk-wim’) Over the years, he has become a strong suspect as not only an accomplice to the Cooper hijacking, but helping hijacking suspect Kenny Christiansen to purchase a house a few months after the crime.
(If you’ve already seen Part One, you can skip to Part Two HERE.)

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Much of this suspicion Mr. Geestman brought upon himself with his dishonesty in dealing with both this author, and people working with the History Channel show, Brad Meltzer’s Decoded. (Link leads to the full episode done on Christiansen, in which Mr Geestman appears as the last guest.)

Geestman, as Decoded cast member (and former state prosecutor) Scott Rolle once said to this writer, is ‘a tough nut to crack’. When the show first aired on January 11, 2011, the cast agreed that Christiansen was probably Cooper, but that Geestman didn’t assist him. But at the time, they were not provided with all the facts, due to timing issues with filming. (This means that this writer, who had just received important information about Geestman, was busy collating this information at the time of filming.) When the cast were later provided the preliminary public report on these men that was later sent in an expanded version to the Seattle FBI, both Rolle (now an elected judge) and WSU professor Buddy Levy changed their minds in email messages to this author. Cast member Christine McKinley had no comment. Later, all cast members received the complete report on Christiansen that was sent to the Seattle FBI, which strengthened their opinion even further. If anything can be said about the six-year investigation done by the staff of Adventure Books of Seattle, it is that their investigation has always been an ongoing process. Figuring out exact details and events that happened forty to sixty years ago was both complex and difficult – especially when people sometimes try to take the easy way out by lying. Continue reading “D.B. Cooper – An In-Depth Look at Alleged Accomplice Bernie Geestman – Part One of Three”

D.B. Cooper – The Parachute Found in Amboy, WA – and Why The FBI’s Explanation Makes No Sense

amboywithcaptionIn late March of 2008, a story broke in the press that some kids from the small town of Amboy, WA had discovered a partially buried parachute. The parachute was found along the same line as the alleged dropzone for Cooper. As a spokesperson for the Seattle FBI said initially to the press:

“It’s the right kind, the right color, and found in the right area…”

Earl Cossey, the man who packed the parachutes for Cooper, but did not actually OWN or DELIVER them to SeaTac Airport (as he claimed in the media for years) said this:

“It was my parachute,” said Earl Cossey of Woodinville, Wash. “So, yes, I’d be able to identify it to this day.”

It is possible he could ID the chute, but the FBI’s own records tell a slightly different story than the one Cossey told the media for years. (Cossey only packed the parachutes, and this was done some time prior to the hijacking.) The proof is in an official FBI document publicly available on their dot gov website. It was written shortly after the hijacking by Special Agent John S. Detlor. It tells how the chutes were actually obtained for DB Cooper on November 24, 1971, and how they were delivered. And Cossey was neither their owner, nor did he deliver them to SeaTac as he claimed for years:

‘SE 164- 81
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Parachutes

Mr. George Harrison, Northwest Airlines (NWA), Flight Operations, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, (SeaTac) advised that he talked with Mr. Barry Halstead of Pacific Aviation at Boeing Field, Seattle, in order to secure parachutes to furnish to the hijacker in this matter. He stated that two parachutes were obtained through Halstead, these two parachutes being back pack parachutes. He stated that two chest pack parachutes which were also furnished to the hijacker were obtained from Mr. Linn Emerick of Seattle Sky Sports in Issaquah, Washington. He stated that these two chest pack parachutes were transported to Sea-Tac by the Washington State Patrol.

Mr. Barry Halstead, Pacific Aviation, Boeing Field, Seattle, advised that the two back pack parachutes which were furnished to Northwest Airlines were obtained from a Mr. Norman Hayden of Hayden Manufacturing Company at Renton, WA.

Mr. Norman Hayden, Hayden Manufacturing Company, Renton, advised that two back pack parachutes which were his property, were furnished to Northwest Airlines. He stated that he called a taxicab in Kent, Washington, and had the taxi cab deliver the parachutes to Boeing Flight Service, Seattle. He described the two back pack parachutes as follows:

  1. Civilian luxury type, tan soft cotton material outside, 26-foot white canopy inside. The parachute inside is a military parachute. The parachute has a foam pad cushion and a fray mark down the rib on the back from rubbing on metal.
  2. A military back pack parachute, standard olive-drab green on outside, 28-foot white canopy on inside. He stated that this parachute also has a foam pad cushion.
  3. He stated that both parachutes bore lead seals which had not been broken, and it is possible that the seals may bear a confidential number, such as a rigger’s number. He stated that both of his parachutes were assembled for him by Mr. Earl Cossey, who works at Sky Sports at Issaquah, Washington, and has a telephone number of SU-3-0475. Hayden said he can positively identify both of his back pack parachutes…’

What do we have here so far? What does it all mean? Well, that is the Big Question, isn’t it?
The best road to the answer is to examine how the Seattle FBI handled all of this.
Continue reading “D.B. Cooper – The Parachute Found in Amboy, WA – and Why The FBI’s Explanation Makes No Sense”