The legend was born in 1971. A hijacker who said he had a bomb traded 36 plane passengers for $200,000 and passage to Mexico. The Boeing 727 took off from Sea-Tac Airport, and the man known as DB Cooper parachuted out the back and into history. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer looks at 36 years of theories and false leads.
The case remains America’s only unsolved hijacking. Although Cooper jumped under adverse weather conditions and is generally believed to have died, his body was never found. The idea that he is still alive has become the stuff of folklore, with people alerting the FBI that their brothers, late husbands, and even female friends (following a supposed sex change operation) are Cooper under a new identity. (Read more hijacker stories.)