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Published: Thursday, August 10, 2017 @ 3:14 PM
— A group of volunteer investigators believe they have found a piece of potential physical evidence in the D.B. Cooper case, the only unsolved airliner hijacking in American history.
Fox News reported Thursday that Thomas Colbert, head of the team of amateur sleuths, said his group has found what “appears to be a decades-old parachute strap” during a dig in the case. Colbert declined to tell Fox the location of the dig, but said it took place where a “credible source” revealed that the parachute used by Cooper, and the remainder of the $200,000 ransom he got away with, could be buried.
The only sign of Cooper ever found was $5,800 of the ransom money, which was uncovered by a young boy playing on the banks of the Columbia River near Vancouver, Washington, in 1980.
D.B. Cooper is the pseudonym given to an unidentified man who, using the name Dan Cooper, boarded a Northwest Orient flight on Nov. 24, 1971. During the flight, which departed Portland, Oregon, for a short, 30-minute trip to Seattle, Cooper passed a note to a flight attendant and told her he was carrying a bomb.
Cooper, who showed the woman what looked like dynamite in his briefcase, demanded the $200,000 ransom, four parachutes and that the plane refuel upon its stop in Seattle, according to the FBI. Upon receiving his demands, he released the 36 passengers, but kept a few crew members on board and demanded that the pilot fly him to Mexico City.
Just after 8 p.m. that night, Cooper did the unthinkable -- he strapped a parachute onto his back and, with the ransom money in hand, jumped from the plane’s rear stairs into the night.
Despite an extensive investigation, code-named NORJAK, Cooper was never identified or arrested. Over the next four decades, there were theories that Cooper died in his plunge to the ground, which took place in cold, stormy weather over the rugged terrain of the Washington-Oregon border.
There were also theories that, if Cooper survived, it meant he had the specialized training and experience to withstand the difficult jump.
Many amateur sleuths tried to solve the case, in some instances, sharing their information with the FBI. The FBI also allowed testing of some of its own evidence, including the cheap, black JC Penney clip-on necktie Cooper wore on the flight.
No closer to a solution, the FBI officially closed its investigation in July 2016.
Two months later, Colbert and his company, TJC Consulting, sued the FBI for access to the entire NORJAK case file.
Colbert told Fox News that details in those archived case documents helped him corroborate information his group received in a tip. That tip and corroboration led to the dig that uncovered the parachute strap, he said.
He told the news station that he planned to forward the potential evidence to the FBI on Friday, and to offer the federal agency the dig site on Monday.
Colbert, a former media specialist, is behind the documentary “D.B. Cooper: Case Closed?” that aired on the History Channel last July, the same month that the FBI ended its 45-year search for Cooper. In the film, Colbert and his team of investigators, which includes journalists and retired FBI agents and police detectives, claim they have identified the man who hijacked Northwest Orient Flight 305 that frigid November night.
The two-part documentary focuses on former U.S. Army paratrooper Robert Rackstraw Sr., who is now 73 and living in California. According to a news release Colbert issued on his website, DBCooper.com, in January, Rackstraw is also a retired university teacher, a former Vietnam pilot, an explosives expert and a four-time felon.
Rackstraw was also a suspect early on in the hijacking investigation. The FBI cleared him in 1979, in part because he was only 28 in 1971, much younger than the description flight attendants gave of a man between 35 and 45 years old.
Colbert said in the news release, which accused the FBI of withholding some case documents from the public, that he believes Rackstraw was wrongly exonerated. He also detailed his circumstantial case against Rackstraw in a book, “The Last Master Outlaw.”
Rackstraw’s lawyer, Dennis Roberts, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last year after the documentary aired that Rackstraw was considering suing Colbert and his team.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 5:25 PM
SNOHOMISH, Wash. — “Deadliest Catch” reality TV fisherman Edgar Hansen pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl at a home near Seattle, but isn’t expected to serve any jail time.
Hansen, 47, received a 364-day suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to fourth degree sexual assault with sexual motivation, the Associated Press reported. He was also ordered to undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation and give a DNA sample to authorities.
According to court documents obtained by KIRO 7, a 16-year-old girl told her therapist that Hansen sexually assaulted her at a Montlake Terrace home in September.
A detective contacted Hansen’s wife, who confronted her husband about the allegations, court documents show. She told police that he denied the accusations at first, but eventually admitted to touching the girl inappropriately.
Hansen is deck boss and crew member of the Seattle-based crabbing boat featured on the Discovery Channel show “Deadliest Catch.”
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 4:31 PM
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Six nurse practitioners at a hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, were surprised to learn they are pregnant at the same time.
The women are known as “The Fabulous Six Pack” among their patients at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
The six nurses work for an outpatient hematology/oncology unit at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Two of the women will be first-time moms, and the other four already have one child, said hospital spokesperson Eryn Johnson.
The women’s due dates range from the end of July to December.
Johnson said that all of the nurses enjoy sharing their pregnancy journeys and tips with each other.
“It's exciting because, you see these people every day and they're a part of you family, and now they're your pregnant buddies,” said assistant nurse manager Katie Carlton.
“It’s quite the bond that’s been established,” Johnson said.
The expectant mothers told WXII that while most of them were planning to get get pregnant, it was a surprise when it all happened to all of them at the same time.
One thing that wasn’t anticipated -- six nurses taking maternity leave at the same time.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 5:40 PM
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — After 30 years of random notes and taunting from the killer, Indiana authorities finally caught a break in the killing of an 8-year-old girl and made an arrest based on DNA evidence similar to how investigators caught the Golden State Killer, according to news reports.
Suspect John D. Miller, 59, was arrested Sunday at his home in Grabill, Indiana, and made a court appearance Monday in Allen County on charges related to the 1988 rape and murder of April Tinsley, WANE-TV reported.
April Tinsley was murdered in 1988 and two years later someone left a note saying they did it. DNA recovered from used condoms led cops to John D. Miller yesterday https://t.co/OJ1K38DDrY— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) July 16, 2018
Tinsley was walking to a friend’s house in her Fort Wayne neighborhood when she was allegedly abducted and subsequently killed by Miller, authorities said.
Police used DNA from the victim and from messages and condoms Miller left at three homes in the early 2000s to match Miller and his brother’s DNA in a genealogical database. Once they narrowed the suspect field down to two, it was just a matter of time before they were able to catch Miller, CNN reported. Miller’s DNA was found to be a match with DNA recovered from the victim’s underwear.
When police showed up at his mobile home on Sunday and asked Miller if he knew why they were there, he reportedly said, “April Tinsley” and then confessed to the crime, according to local media reports.
Miller’s next scheduled court appearance is Thursday.
The Golden State Killer was finally caught in California in April after terrorizing the state between the mid-1970s and mid-80s. Investigators also used a genealogical database to match Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.’s DNA with evidence left at the crime scenes. DeAngelo is charged with killing 12 people and is accused of 50 rapes and more than 100 burglaries.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 8:00 AM
— A man in Alabama no longer has to walk where he needs to go.
Walter Carr was all set to start a new job with Bellhops Moving, but his car broke down. Instead of calling off, or borrowing a set of wheels, he started walking, starting at midnight, to get to the job nearly 20 miles away, WBMA reported.
Pelham police officers saw him walking, offered him a ride and took him to breakfast before taking him to the moving job.
Carr had been walking for about four hours when police offered him the ride, WIAT reported.
Marklin made sure that his employee would not have to walk to work again and gave him the keys to his own car, a 2014 Ford Escape.