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Is 'Uncle L.D.' the notorious skyjacker D.B. Cooper? Experts are skeptical.

Two Oklahoma women claim their late relative, Lynn Doyle Cooper, is the real 'D.B. Cooper,' who plotted a hijack heist on Thanksgiving Day 1971, the only unsolved skyjacking in US history.

By Staff writer / August 4, 2011

Marla Cooper speaks during an interview in Oklahoma City on Aug. 3. Ms. Cooper believes that her late uncle Lynn Doyle Cooper was the man who hijacked a plane in 1971 and parachuted away with $200,000 ransom.

Sue Ogrocki / AP



Could the famed skyjacker D.B. Cooper – who pulled off an audacious 10,000-foot heist on Thanksgiving Day 1971, securing his crown as the king of American folk-hero outlaws – be the man his family knew as "Uncle L.D.," a logger and Korean war veteran?

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A new name – Lynn Doyle Cooper – has now been tied to the 1971 hijacking over Washington State, where a man in a suit and a JCPenney clip-on tie managed to jump out of a Boeing 727 with $200,000 ransom. The claim is meeting skepticism from the sizable community of amateur sleuths still hunting for the daredevil outlaw. It's only the latest in literally over 1,000 possible leads, most of them, the FBI has said, "junky."

"Uncle L.D. is so far just Uncle L.D.," says author Geoffrey Gray, who dug through troves of FBI files about the case to write the upcoming book, "Skyjack: The hunt for D.B. Cooper." He adds, "I think it's compelling that people want to come forward with suspects and want the case solved, but you have to have some evidence beyond memories and second-hand information."

What the FBI needs, he says, is "a forensic miracle."

The FBI has called the recent revelation one of the most promising leads yet in the 40-year-old cold case – the only unsolved skyjacking in US history. The FBI failed this week to lift a fingerprint off one of Mr. Cooper's handmade guitar straps, in an attempt to compare it to several partial fingerprints lifted from the hijack scene. The bureau says it will look for other objects from Cooper, who died in 1999.

The strap came to the FBI via a police officer who claimed to have a credible witness. That witness, it emerged this week, was Cooper's niece, Marla Cooper, who told ABC News on Wednesday that she remembers as an 8-year-old overhearing two uncles, one of them L.D., planning something "very mischievous" for the night before Thanksgiving, 1971.


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