Got questions? We’ve got answers!
We wanted to take the time to address several questions we’ve received from thoughtful skeptics. One of our favorite responses to the assertion that Walter Reca is D.B. Cooper is healthy skepticism - because it gives us a chance to present the evidence!
Here’s a few highlights from a recent inquiry, and the responses from Vern Jones of Principia Media.
Q: The name D.B. Cooper is now infamous. Did Walter give an explanation as to why he used the name Dan Cooper?
A: No. Walter never discussed the name with Carl Laurin or his niece Lisa Story. However, Lisa believes that it may go back to an incident in 1968. Walt and some coworkers filed a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board against the Iron Workers Union in Detroit. One of the union members who threatened Walt on several occasions, trying to coerce him to drop the complaint, was a man named Henry Cooper. The name may have stuck.
Q: Did Carl find any remnants of Walter’s parachute?
A: No, Carl was unable to find anything related to Walt’s chute; it’s likely that if anything remained that it would be unrecognizable at this point. However, Carl strongly believes that there is nothing to be found and that the FBI recovered the parachute shortly after the jump.
Q: Did Carl ever talk to Don Brennan about picking up Walt from Cle Elum the night of the skyjacking?
A: No, Carl never broached that subject with Don. Walter and Don spoke frequently on the phone until Don’s death. Walter explains that Don would never talk about that night due to his extreme paranoia. Don was also a fire jumper and was interviewed by the FBI as a possible suspect. He was quickly discounted because he was well over 6 feet tall.
Q: Is it realistic for Jeff “Cowboy” Osiadacz, the eyewitness who saw Walt the night of the skyjacking, to remember that much detail from 40 years ago?
A: Jeff is both trustworthy and trained to remember details as a former law enforcement officer and Chief of Police for the city of Rosyln, a few miles from Cle Elum, WA. He explains that the strange nature of that meeting really piqued his curiosity and helped him remember some of the details. He even recalls that Walter had Penny Loafers, as he always wanted a pair.
Q: Is it possible that Jeff’s conversations with Carl prior to the investigative team’s involvement could have “contaminated” his testimony?
A: Yes, there most likely was some contamination, as our private investigator and forensic linguist Joe Koenig attests, but Joe believes that the Jeff was telling the truth, with some minor embellishments.
When we asked a local Cle Elum newspaper reporter about Jeff’s integrity, he responded, “If Jeff is your witness, you couldn’t find a better witness.”
Additionally, if Jeff’s testimony was fabricated, it be even more amazing that someone truly exists who matched Walter’s description of a guitar-playing dump truck driver from the 1970s in a small town.
Q: There were only a handful of people in the world that could have pulled this stunt off. How could Walt have completed the D.B. Cooper jump?
A: Actually, Carl Laurin doesn’t consider the jump to be that difficult. He describes it as “a simple clear and jerk,” which Carl, Walt, and their group of daring recreational skydivers completed these all the time in inclement weather and at night.
Q: If he was such a talented and well-known parachutist, why wasn’t Walt questioned about the D.B. Cooper skyjacking?
A: We believe that Walt was protected, probably by someone inside the U.S. government. We believe they knew exactly who D.B. Cooper was and had their own purposes in mind for him. It doesn't make sense that Robert Rackstraw was interviewed, but Walter was not. Walt was skydiver #99 and he lived a mere bus ride away from the airport. He was broke and already in major trouble with the law. The fact that Walter was not a suspect is, to us, more proof of his guilt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do you know Walter Reca is D.B. Cooper?
A. After years of questioning from his best friend Carl, Walt confessed to both Carl and his niece Lisa, both of whom are still alive. Our team also spent several years conducting a private investigation with a forensic linguistic and interviewing dozens of individuals to confirm Carl and Lisa’s story. Additionally, we have hundreds of sensitive documents from Walt’s life that confirm his actions after the skyjacking and his years as an intelligence operative.
Q. Why is this story only coming out now?
A. Walter refused to confess except to two individuals - his niece Lisa, and his best friend Carl. Both knew better than to spread the secret before Walter had passed away, which he did in 2014. Now, as a tribute to his best friend and in an effort to set the story straight, Carl is revealing Walt’s identity to the world.
Q. What happened to the money? Was it ever spent?
A. After the hijacking, Walter spent the money at places which routinely dealt with large cash deposits in order to avoid detection. He purchased a house, furniture, and smaller items with cash and put the remainder in a safety deposit box in a Canadian bank. He also gave a bundle of bills to his friend Don, the man who picked him up and drove him home after the jump.
Q. Why does he look so different from the police sketch?
A. There were 4 police sketches originally, and the one they settled on became the most recognized – but not necessarily the most accurate. We are also aware that eye-witness accounts can be imprecise, and it’s not unusual to find the actual person looks very different from his or her sketch.
Q. How could anyone have survived such a crazy jump?
A. After his military paratrooper experience and extensive time performing daredevil jumps with the Michigan Parachute Club, that jump was not the most dangerous Walt had ever performed. He used his years of experience in jumping in all types of weather, from many heights, and under extensive stress to complete the jump.
Q. How can you propose a totally different flight path for the plane than the one publicly stated by the FBI?
A. Walt landed outside of Cle Elum, Washington, near the old Teanaway Junction Cafe. We believe the government may have intentionally provided a false flight route to preserve the landing zone as a crime scene, or they may have already had Walt in mind as a potential operative and wanted to protect him from being found and convicted.
Q. How can you know that Walter Reca was actually working for the
A. Besides his own verbal confession, Walt sent dozens of sensitive documents to Carl for safekeeping, including Walt’s many foreign IDs and passports, legal documents, and coded messages from his time as an operative. Our team has thoroughly investigated the evidence and is convinced that Walt was working as an operative in the intelligence world.