Prime suspect in legendary plane mystery dies

Prime suspect in legendary plane mystery dies

Few cases in history have been able to stump America's most experienced investigators.

Yet the unsolved case of how a well-groomed businessman successfully hijacked a flight from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington 50 years ago - only to parachute from the plane after his requests were met , never to be seen again - baffled FBI agents to the point where they decided to close the case years ago.

And now, the chances of them solving the case is even more unlikely as lead suspect Sheridan Peterson, who is thought to be "Dan 'DB' Cooper", died on January 8 according to memorial website Legacy.com.

The 94-year-old once said "the FBI had good reason to suspect me" in an article published on July 2007 in the National Smokejumper Association's (NSA) Smokejumper Magazine.

“Friends and associates agreed that I was without a doubt DB Cooper. There were too many circumstances involved for it to be a coincidence,” he wrote.

“At the time of the heist, I was 44 years old. That was the approximate age Cooper was assumed to have been, and I closely resembled sketches of the hijacker.”

Even Mr Peterson's ex-wife once told FBI agents that it "sounded like something he'd do".

On another occasion, a photo came into fruition showing Mr Peterson dressed in the exact same outfit - a black raincoat over a freshly pressed business suit - as the hijacker during the 1971 flight.

“What was even more incriminating was the photo of me simulating a skydiving manoeuvre for Boeing’s news sheet,” Mr Peterson wrote in his Smokejumper piece.

“I was wearing a suit and tie – the same sort of garb Cooper had worn, right down to the Oxford loafers. It was noted that skydivers don’t ordinarily dress so formally.”

Mr Peterson long claimed, however, that at the time of the hijacking he was living in a mud hut in Nepal, working on a “protest novel” about his experiences in Vietnam.