More than 45 years after a mysterious plane hijacker made off with $200,000 in ransom money, disappearing into the night sky, a publishing company believes it has finally identified the man who eluded authorities for so long.
At a news conference on Thursday, Michigan publisher Principia Media said the hijacker, known as D.B. Cooper, was former military paratrooper and intelligence operative Walter R. Reca. The company said it worked with Reca’s best friend, Carl Laurin, in compiling the evidence.
While the publisher did not disclose whether Reca was still alive, an obituary online lists a man with the identical name who lived in Oscada, Mich., as having died in 2014 at the age of 80.
“Evidence, including almost-daily discussions over a 14-year period and 3+ hours of audio recordings featuring the skyjacker, was compiled by Reca’s best friend. It was then analyzed by a Certified Fraud Examiner and forensic linguist,” the publisher said in a news release. “The audio recordings, created in 2008, include Reca discussing skyjacking details that were not known to the public prior to the FBI’s information release in 2015.”
The publishing company worked with Laurin for the memoir “D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, A Spy, My Best Friend.”
Vern Jones, CEO of Principia, talked about recordings that Laurin claimed were actual recordings of Reca speaking about the heist. Jones, a self-proclaimed skeptic at the start of the investigation, said that the evidence was “overwhelming.”