Welcome to the relentless investigation surrounding Robert W. Rackstraw, AKA “D.B. Cooper” — an acclaimed Vietnam pilot, explosives expert, paratrooper, 4-time felon and a former suspect in the hijacking who was released under dubious circumstances.
For 7 years (2011-18), a 40-member volunteer cold case team led by retired FBI agents tracked his trail through 5 countries, where he utilized 22 fake identities while engaging in 6 careers and raising 3 families. The Special Forces-trained veteran escaped not once, but 3 times by plane and once by river. More than 100 pieces of strong evidence — including a trail of taunting Cooper letters from his remote hideout; a stash of stolen dynamite; a sister’s deathbed confession; his recovered DNA; and testimony from his former crime partners and lovers — all of it firmly pointed back at Rackstraw.
But in 2016, FBI executives in the Comey Administration suddenly ended a 5-year collaboration with the private investigators. The feds refused to review or receive any of their materials, and the unsolved Cooper file was quietly sent to a locked archive in Washington, D.C.
When the team’s long-planned History Channel documentary aired, the sleuths discovered their top 18 pieces of evidence had been cut from the program — a program the bureau had quietly collaborated with and allowed their members to appear on. Then came the final double-cross: At a news conference the next morning, senior agents lied about studying the team’s evidence, claiming it showed “there isn’t anything new out there.”
The incensed private investigators, now known as The Case Breakers, immediately sued the FBI in Federal District Court (above-left, in D.C.). Six months later, a judge gave them access to the 1971 Cooper file’s secrets. They soon learned how 3 getaway-partners helped the skyjacker escape, where the parachute was buried (above-right), and why the FBI shielded the mysterious Rackstraw for more than 4 decades.
Through DBCooper.com, posted court rulings, and the team’s award-winning narrative, The Last Master Outlaw, the public can learn all about Rackstraw — including the cover-up of his secret double-life with the CIA, before and after the hijacking. All of it will be featured in a five-part series on a premium streamer, set for 2022.