D.B. Cooper May Finally Be Unmasked

To New York Magazine’s Geoffrey Gray’s credit, he never out and out says that Kenneth Christiansen, who died of cancer in 1994, was the notorious hijacker immortalized in many a song and story. But it’s pretty clear from this very interesting piece that he sides with the conclusion drawn by Manhattan PI Skipp Porteous after a chance email by Christiansen’s brother Lyle got him investigating retroactively. A few years ago, U.S. News & World Report fanned the flames when it named Duane Weber as a likely candidate, since rebuffed when his DNA and fingerprints didn’t match those recovered from the hijacking.

And until comparisons are made between the recovered forensic evidence and a fingerprint or DNA sample from Christiansen, I’m holding back on absolute belief here. (I’m surprised no real mention of this, even that it might be in the works, is in the NYMag piece, but that’s probably because it might be a way to get things rolling on that front.) Though the reaction of flight attendant Florence Schaffner to photos Gray showed her of Christiansen circa 1971 is mighty intriguing:

She zeroed in on the passport photo all blown up. She rubbed his

features on the page. “The ears, the ears are right.” She moved to the

lips. “Yes, thin lips. And the top lip, kind of like this, yes.” Then

the forehead. “A wide forehead, yes.” Then the hair. “Receding, yes,

the two areas—yes, yes—sort of like this.” She was pushing down on the

photo hard now, rubbing the image like a charcoal drawing. “There was

more hair, though.” The eyes. “About like that.” The eyebrows. “Yeah,

about like that.” The images were closer in resemblance to Cooper than

any of the suspects she’s ever seen, she said. But? “But I can’t say

‘Yay.’” We got up from the table. “I think you might be onto something

here,” she said.

That is most certainly the case.