An Arizona entrepreneur and super-fan of the infamous D.B. Cooper case believes that he may have not only figured out the identity of the famed skyjacker, but also where he landed in his parachute after jumping out of a plane with hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom money in 1971.
D.B. Cooper secured his place in pop culture history on November 24, 1971, when he successfully hijacked a Boeing 727 and jumped out mid-air with $200,000 in ransom money, never to be seen again. Though the FBI interviewed a number of suspects following the shocking skyjacking, the case remains unsolved to this day. However, Eric Ulis, an entrepreneur and amateur investigator, believes that he may have made progress on the case by figuring out not only who the mysterious Cooper really is, but where he landed after parachuting out of the plane that day — a detail he believes the FBI miscalculated more than 30 years ago, The Oregonian reports.
Ulis is “98 percent” sure that Sheridan Peterson, a war veteran with ample experience skydiving, and D.B. Cooper are one and the same, he told the outlet.
Ulis began researching the case around 10 years ago, and has written a book on the subject and has maintained a YouTube channel discussing the mystery, according to his website. Among the claims laid out there to support his Peterson-as-Cooper theory, Ulis points out that Peterson, a former Boeing employee and smokejumper, was one of three suspects whose DNA was tested in relation to the Cooper case, but was the only one whose name was never cleared.
Peterson was on the FBI’s radar and was interviewed as a potential suspect 30 years after the crime, but he told authorities that he was living in a mud hut in Nepal on the date of the skyjacking, according to the paper. Nothing came of the interview, and now Ulis believes that, not only did the authorities overlook the true culprit all along, but that they incorrectly calculated his “jump zone,” or the area where Cooper is believed to have landed after parachuting out of the plane.
After researching wind speeds and “free fall” data, as well as other information related to the jump, Ulis concluded that Cooper likely landed somewhere on Bachelor Island, an area located along the Columbia River in Washington, according to The Oregonian. Ulis recently traveled there to explore in the hopes of “establishing how best to conduct a search,” he told the outlet, adding that he plans to return again with more people to help search the area and locate Cooper’s parachute.
Ulis told the outlet, “The parachute is here. He wouldn’t have taken it with him.”
“It’s here,” he continued. “I feel strongly something is here. We just have to find it.”
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for Oxygen Insider for all the best true crime content.