D.B Cooper – The Murder of Earl Cossey and the Mystery of the ‘Amboy Parachute’

Neither the local cops at the King County Sheriffs’ Department, or the Seattle F.B.I. have been forthcoming on a couple of issues in the D.B. Cooper case. The video below was shot in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State in October 2015. It speaks for itself:

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Exact Location of the Instruction Placard From NWA Flight 305

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ABOVE: A still picture from the Google Map. (The full interactive version of the map is shown below.) In this view, you would be facing in the same direction the airliner was traveling between Seattle to Portland. It is likely that Cooper jumped roughly twenty miles south of this spot, near the town of Ariel, Washington.

After hijacker D.B. Cooper jumped (most likely near Ariel, WA) on November 24, 1971 it was a little more than six years before any evidence surfaced, and it wasn’t from Cooper himself. An instructional placard showing how to open the aft airstairs was found in what was described as ‘a heavily-forested area six flying minutes north of Ariel’. The placard was discovered in early 1978 by Carroll Hicks of Kelso, Washington State, while he was out hunting.

The location of the found placard has been researched pretty heavily and is well-known. Today, the area is much less forested, and has been subjected to extremely heavy logging since 1978. The exact spot can be reached today (within about fifty feet accuracy or so) with any decent car or truck. The placard was turned over to police afterward, and its location on the ground was used to help confirm the flight path of the hijacked airliner.

For GPS users, the exact coordinates are:

46°14’38.4″N  122°41’01.3″W

An embedded, interactive Google map is shown below. To begin, click on ‘View Larger Map’. Then select ‘Satellite View’ and the 3-D option for best results. Zooming in or out also helps, and yes, Google can provide directions to the site. When using 3-D, hold down your CNTL button while moving your mouse to adjust the terrain view for best results.

Adventure Books of Seattle, who investigated the DB Cooper case for several years, and has hosted occasional summer campouts for the public, has named this spot as a possible future camping location for one of those events. The idea being that it might be fun, and campers could search the surrounding area for additional items that could still be lurking in the trees and brush. These include the (probably) phony bomb, the non-working reserve chute, and Cooper’s briefcase. They were not on the plane when it finally landed in Reno, and have never been found. Perhaps Cooper actually ripped off the placard and tossed it out the back, along with those other items, to throw off any ground search later. He could have done this before he jumped. It’s doubtful he tied them to himself, as he did the money bag. You never know. In any case, we’re considering a metal detector for this camping trip. 🙂

 

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”

On Request – The Two Page Outline on Christiansen and Geestman in the D.B. Cooper Case

HeaderPicOutlineArticleRecently, I was asked by the film producers I am working with in Los Angeles to create an outline (limited to two pages for print in 8.5×11) laying out the case against Kenny Christiansen and Bernie Geestman.

Well, boiling down a multi-year investigation where you interview dozens of people and take page after page of notes isn’t an easy thing. However, this was the result, shown below:
Continue reading “On Request – The Two Page Outline on Christiansen and Geestman in 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”

D.B. Cooper: Book on Christiansen Optioned for Feature Film

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Depending on your attitude or opinion on whether Ken Christiansen and Bernie Geestman were the actual perps in the D.B. Cooper hijacking, you might be ecstatic and wish us well…or hope I accidentally fall off a cliff on one of those camping trips to the Olympic Mountains I do occasionally. (We have our detractors, as well as our supporters.)

Yes, it’s true that a Los Angeles-based film production company has picked up the option for our book, Into The Blast – The True Story of D.B. Cooper. It’s the story of Kenny Christiansen, a former US Army paratrooper and an employee of the airline that was hijacked by Cooper. This doesn’t mean they will actually bring the book to market in a picture, of course. That remains to be seen. However, here’s how it all came about and where it’s going now –

About two weeks ago, I received an email from three people at the same time. They wanted to make sure any reply I made went to all of them. They told me they had been following me (and the investigation into KC) for quite a while and wondered whether the film rights to the book were still available. I said yes, but I also warned them that I wasn’t interested in doing a comedy on the Cooper story, or Kenny’s life, and that I had rejected a previous offer over that same point. (The inquiry by CBS Films, via their rep at Paradigm in New York City.)

The three men were execs from the LA film company, and came back with a message right away.

No, they said. They were not looking to do a comedy, but the first serious feature film on the DB Cooper case. And they wanted to name Kenny Christiansen as the hijacker, and present it not as a theory, but as historical fact. This surprised me, because I have stated many times for the record that I can’t be 100% sure Kenny and Bernie were the perps. Yes, I believe they are guilty as sin. Could I prove it today beyond a reasonable doubt? Maybe…if I had Bernie Geestman and a few other folks on a witness stand somewhere. Maybe.

Continue reading “D.B. Cooper: Book on Christiansen Optioned for Feature Film”