The Hollywood Reporter; By Ryan Parker; Thursday, August 8, 2018
Army vet claims he’s made a connection through code-breaking skills
It was one of the most mysterious unsolved crimes ever committed, becoming a cultural phenomenon and spawning books, films and numerous mentions in TV shows — and an Army veteran may have just made a significant crack in the case.
In 1971, a well-dressed man hijacked a Seattle-bound flight and proceeded to parachute out of the airplane with a ransom totaling $200,000. He was never seen again. The suspect became known as D.B. Cooper.
The mystery has inspired such works as 1981’s The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper, starring Robert Duvall, as well as a character on Twin Peaks being named after Cooper, among multiple other nods and plotlines in assorted shows.
Now, a retired construction worker and Army veteran who specialized in code-breaking believes he may have made a break in the case, which has been dormant with authorities for years, according to CBS News.
“I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I would ever use Morse code, or any kind of code-breaking or anything again,” said Rick Sherwood, who served in three top-secret tours in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
Sherman was asked for help by Thomas J. Colbert, an award-winning California author and TV producer who has been investigating the mystery for years with a cold case team, led by former FBI agents.
Colbert has long suspected the daredevil is Robert W. Rackstraw Sr., now 74, a retired University of California law department head who served in Sherwood’s unit. Colbert and his former Indiana analyst believe Rackstraw has been linked to Cooper through letters and other evidence, CBS News reports.
The FBI won’t comment about the private investigation. But a senior rep at a top talent agency recently told the producer’s manager, Beverly Hills-based Michael London, that “we know Colbert solved it.”
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