D.B. Cooper's Best Friend

Carl Laurin

Carl Laurin is an 84-year-old former commercial pilot, one of the first recreational parachutists in the United States, and a former businessman. In 2008, Carl became an amateur crime investigator as he attempted to verify some of the details revealed to him in the years-long confession by his best friend Walter Reca. The story of Carl’s investigation and his findings are included in Carl’s memoir, D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, A Spy, My Best Friend. 

Walter confessed to the D.B. Cooper skyjacking over a series of multi-year conversations with Carl. In addition to Walt’s confession, Carl began gathering other clues to help prove his case. The intent was to share Walter’s story after his passing, and Walt signed a notarized permission to this effect. 

Carl began writing down his memories of Walter and their adventures with the Michigan Parachute Team. He included Walter’s revelations about the D.B. Cooper skyjacking and his life following. The next step, he had decided, would be to find a trustworthy publisher.



Carl has a niece named Lisa McNeilley who had done some work for Principia Media, a small publishing house in Grand Rapids, MI. She agreed to take his manuscript to their office. The initial response was skepticism - and then intrigue, as more and more evidence from Carl was presented.

In 2016, Principia Media met Carl at his “research trailer” - a storage space for documents, photos, artifacts, and audio tapes from the real D.B. Cooper, a.k.a. Walter Reca. The information was overwhelming and exciting, and Principia agreed to take the project. From then on, Carl’s investigation was double-checked and confirmed by Principia Media, with the help of private investigator and certified fraud examiner Joe Koenig, Walter’s niece Lisa Story, and the eyewitness who Walter had spoken so much about, Jeff Osiadacz.


Joe Koenig said this about Carl’s amateur investigative efforts: