The man who some believed was the elusive hijacker D.B. Cooper has reportedly died in southern California.
Robert Rackstraw (1943-2019) — featured in a 2016 History Channel documentary about the notorious 1971 hijacking of a Seattle-bound plane from which passenger Dan Cooper jumped with $200,000 in cash — was pronounced dead at home Tuesday, the San Diego Medical Examiner's Office said.
He had a "long-standing heart condition," according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Over the years following the leap of D.B. Cooper — a name coined through a miscommunication by the media at the time —somewhere between Seattle and Reno, Nevada, authorities tracked down hundreds of potential suspects, The Washington Post noted.
But they were never able to find Cooper or his body.
The Nov. 24, 1971, hijacking was the longest unsolved crime of its kind in FBI history, the Post reported. It closed the case in 2016.
The FBI briefly investigated Rackstraw in the late 1970s in possible connection with the case, according to the Union-Tribune, but later dismissed him as a suspect because he was too young at the time to fit the description of Cooper.
The FBI never confirmed, or denied, Rackstraw was one of its suspects. Nor did it rule out the possibility Cooper might have died after the jump.
Rackstraw did not reveal whether he was Cooper. He worked at a boat shop and once taught a law course in 1999 at the University of California Riverside Extension, the Post reported.
He also was a former Army helicopter pilot who had been awarded a Silver Star for valor, the Post reported. He had been arrested on charges of murdering his stepfather, but was acquitted at trial in 1978.
Geoffrey Gray, the author of "Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper," the most authoritative history of the Cooper investigation, said Rackstraw was never a serious suspect; he is not even mentioned in Gray's book, the Post reported.
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