Could legendary hijacker DB Cooper have been a Boeing employee? A group of amateur scientists says it has found information that could link Cooper with the aerospace industry in Washington state in the early 1970s, KING-5 reports. The man who became known as DB Cooper famously hijacked a Northwest Orient passenger jet on Thanksgiving eve in 1971 only to vanish forever, presumably having parachuted off the plane with $200,000 given to him by the FBI when the plane briefly touched down in Seattle. Cooper left behind a clip-on tie, and the group, Citizen Sleuths, which was put together by the Seattle FBI, has been analyzing particles found on that tie.
Among those particles: rare earth elements, which, the lead researcher says, are "used in very narrow fields, for very specific things." In 1971, one of the few places they were being used was Boeing, as part of the Super Sonic Transport plane it was developing at the time. That has led researchers to wonder whether Cooper was a Boeing employee or contractor, possibly "an engineer or a manager in one of the plants" who would have worn a tie to work. The team is now asking for help from members of the public, like people who may have worked in the aerospace industry around that time. Researchers are publishing a running list of particles found on the tie, and are asking anyone with knowledge to weigh in on what the materials could have been used for. (Read more DB Cooper stories.)