• Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 74 other subscribers
  • January 2023
    S M T W T F S
  • Recent Bookmarks:

  • Archives

  • Categories

Marsha Andrade, RIP

Marsha R. (Westad) Andrade, age 74, of Alexandria, passed away peacefully on September 8, 2021, surrounded by her family at home.

A visitation will be held from 3-5 p.m., concluding with a 5 p.m. prayer service on Sunday, September 12, 2021, at Lind Family Funeral Home in Alexandria with Pastor Patrick Herzog officiating. Music will be provided by Nolan Weisz. Full military honors accorded by the Minnesota Honor Guard, American Legion Post #87, Veteran of Foreign Wars Post #936, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #235, and the Marine Corps League Detachment #1409.

Marsha Rae was born on August 7, 1947, to Kermit and Edythe (Malmgren) Westad in Parkers Prairie, MN. She graduated from Parkers Prairie High School in 1965, and continued her education at St. Luke’s Nursing School in Duluth graduating as a registered nurse (RN) in 1968. After graduating, Marsha proudly served as a nurse in the Ohio National Guard in the 164th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Her civilian nursing career took her across the country from Minnesota, Ohio, Colorado, and Arkansas where she met her future husband. She married Martin Glen Andrade on June 14, 1980 at the Old Mill Park in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The couple had two boys, Martin Jr. and Matt. They moved ten times in ten years with Marty’s military career. Following his retirement from the military, the family returned to Minnesota, residing in Alexandria on Lake Le Homme Dieu. In her storied career as a nurse, Marsha specialized in a multitude of roles ranging from ER, Cardiac Care Unit, ICU, Flight Nurse, and disaster relief. She proudly served with the Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina. After retiring from nursing she owned and operated “Somewhere in Time” Antiques in Alexandria. She had a talent and a passion for restoring antique frames to their original form. She was an excellent cook, known for her double fudge and mincemeat pies, and had an ability to make a meal from just about anything she had available. She lived life to the fullest, was a very giving person and will be missed by many.

She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Albert Reed McKay; and sisters, Sonja Bonita and Judith Ann Westad.

Marsha is survived by her husband of 41 years, Martin Andrade; two sons, Martin (Shawna) Andrade Jr. and Matt Andrade; grandsons Glen Martin Andrade and Kyle; a great-grandchild; three sisters, Kathy (Paul) Peterson, Barbara (Tom) Schultz, and Carol (Jerry) Larson; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorials preferred to the American Red Cross.

James “Jim” Joseph Liptock, RIP

September 13, 1943 to July 3, 2017

James “Jim” Joseph Liptock was born to Joseph James Liptock and Marguerite “Mary” Radziewicz on September 13th, 1943.

Jim told many warm and sentimental stories of growing up in Allentown: hunting and fishing, playing football and baseball, meeting professional golfer and PGA Hall of Fame member Tommy “Thunder” Bolt. He also told stories of his family, especially his father, a WWII veteran who served as a First Lieutenant in the Heavy Weapons Company of the 359th Infantry, 90th Division, “The Tough ‘Ombres,” during their drive across Europe. Joseph Sr. died in 1954, when Jim was only 11 years old.

After high school he went to Muhlenberg, a small private liberal arts college in Allentown. His studies were interrupted by military service. Jim served in the Army in the late 60’s, returning to Muhlenberg and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1971. At this time in Pennsylvania, the Steel Industry was booming and he made a living in the area until the industry collapsed in the early 1980s.

Seeking a fresh start, he came to Minnesota, attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota, studying Substance Abuse Counseling. At the time the University offered a Regents’ Scholarship to full-time employees, and this allowed Jim to pursue his education while still supporting himself and the community.

When his mother became sick, he paused his studies and stayed with her until she passed away in 1996. Returning to Minnesota, he found his degree program had been eliminated. Staying at the University, he worked as a Parking Lot Attendant until the University transitioned to automated parking ramps. His was a life of many setbacks and tragedies, but he always seemed to manage to make the best of things.

For many years, he held court in his parking ramp booth with friends, coworkers and passersby. A natural storyteller with a distinctive voice, highly opinionated, intensely loyal to a select few, he was beloved by those who knew him. Jim was a voracious reader, an excellent marksman who enjoyed a wide range of shooting sports, and he was a big hockey fan. Jim was also someone who spurned authority regularly and enjoyed it perhaps a little bit more than he should have. A heavy smoker, he would often practice his habit where he wasn’t supposed to and hid lit cigarettes whenever the need arose. 

A recovered alcoholic, he always carried an AA sobriety coin with him. Though he was not overtly religious, he had a deep belief in Christ and was a loyal member of the Roman Catholic Church. He died in Minneapolis on July 3rd, 2017 at the age of 73.

He is interred with his father and mother in Holy Saviour Cemetery, Bethlehem, Northampton, Pennsylvania, near Allentown. Home again and finally. Rest in peace, my friend. 


Jim is buried at Lot/Level 40, Section 5, Range/Site 6, Grave 1

If anyone has memories of Jim to share, or pictures of him, please contact me through the contact form. Thank you.

DB Cooper World prepares for the 50th Anniversary of this iconic skyjacking

The Mountain News - WA

By Bruce A. Smith

The legendary DB Cooper- the personage responsible for the only unsolved skyjacking in the history of the United States – will be celebrated and his exploits assessed at the CooperCon 21 to be held November 20-21 in Vancouver, Washington.

View original post 574 more words

DB Cooper: The FBI’s Unresolved Suspects

Wow, I know it’s been awhile…

The latest (#52) FOIA document file the FBI gives insight into where the case was just after DNA was sequenced off the tie, but before Larry Carr took the case public and brought in outside investigators to help.

In 2004, in what appears as part of a last ditch effort to solve the case, the FBI Norjak Case Agent at the time (Eric Mueller, probably) presents a phased plan to gather evidence and follow up the last leads in the case. Phase II of this plan involved following up on the FBI’s “Unresolved Suspects” from the previous thirty years’ of investigation, and much to my surprise there are only three suspects listed:

1) “The Shelton Lead”

There were a lot of 302s in the FBI files regarding “The Shelton Lead”(TSL) and they start right after the hijacking itself. (The one difficulty here is that there is a correctional facility in Shelton, so we can’t be 100% sure every one of the documents I’ve reviewed apply specifically to the Shelton Lead.) Here’s a rundown on the lead as it developed in the files:

  • The FBI began looking at an Indian family living near Shelton, searching for names and nicknames. One of the early FBI files mentions “previous sub-sends” so there are other documents on this lead that have not yet been released.
  • Along with the nicknames, the FBI was looking for a physical description. We find out in a later release why: a Bethel, Alaska tipster told the FBI that “DB Cooper lives near Shelton” and was passing Cooper bills at a local “country” store. We find out the suspect was married and apparently matched the description of DB Cooper. “Identical to the composite.”
  • The Shelton Lead is initially described as 5’9” tall with a slender build and a “ruddy complexion” between 43 and 46 years of age. This description is further refined later: TSL is described as 5’10 or 5’11. We also get our first hiccup, as TSL is a strict non-smoker.
  • TSL had problems with alcohol, and this caused a great deal of financial hardship. He was an Army parachutist, originally from Woodland. He worked for Boeing.
  • The first alibi given for TSL’s whereabouts during the hijacking is that he was up in Enumclaw, WA, a mountain town near some ski resorts.
  • One of the FBI sources is a friend of TSL from the Army. This friend reports that TSL served in either the 82nd or 101st airborne division and was a Korean War vet. TSL and the source went to Pasadena City College together. The friend later worked for the LA County Sheriff’s Office but maintained contact with TSL over the years.
  • According to the LA Source, TSL trained in free fall parachuting a year before the hijacking. Then, six months before the hijacking TSL was practicing nighttime free fall jumps. At some point TSL talked about “The perfect crime” to someone, but the context is lost.
  • After Norjak, TSL was flashing a lot of cash and receiving checks from a Canadian Trust Company. We get another alibi mentioned in the 302s: TSL claimed to be in New Mexico with his brother during the hijacking. The brother did not corroborate the story.
  • At some point after the hijacking, TSL moves to Campbell, California. He attends an Episcopal church and works at Farmers Insurance Group.
  • TSL is interviewed by the FBI in 1972, 1977, and 1979. After his last interview, he lawyers up and stops cooperating. He refuses a polygraph exam. In 1993, he is identified by yet a third person as DB Cooper.
  • Still alive, he is targeted for a “discrete” DNA collection in summer of 2004. However, the 302 suggests “given the passage of time, it’s possible [TSL] will cooperate with a DNA sample.” He was known to be living in Shelton in 2003.

I would eliminate TSL based on him being a non-smoker and (probably) not matching any of the novel elements found on Cooper’s tie. The “ruddy” complexion description also doesn’t match the description of Cooper. If we could get his name and employment background, we’d have a better idea if he’s still somehow a viable suspect.

Unresolved Lead #2:

2) The Egg Harbor Suspect.

A former resident of Eugene, OR was linked to the crime by the FBI’s LA field division in 1972. At the time of the investigation, he was living in Egg Harbor Township in New Jersey. There are only a couple of places where the Egg Harbor Suspect (EHS) is referenced, so we have less information to go by than the other two unresolved suspects.

One of the witnesses on Flight 305 identified him as a strong candidate for Cooper. However, when this matter was referred to the local police chief in Egg Harbor New Jersey at the time (John Anderson), he and two others in the NJPD familiar with EHS said he didn’t resemble the description “in any way.” “Eliminate” is scrawled over this document.

Apparently, he didn’t stay eliminated. The FBI found out he was missing from work the week of the hijacking. It is implied EHS was employed at TWA at the time of the hijacking, the job title in the 302 is blank but it’s an 8 letter word. An engineer? We can’t be sure, but this is implied as EHS was trained as a pilot but was never hired as one. He was described as a “rebel” by one of his superiors. He also had money problems.

In Egg Harbor, EHS was working at NJ Auto Inspection station in Atlantic City. Maybe. Redactions make it impossible to know for sure. 

EHS is never interviewed. He did not know he was a suspect as of Phase II in 2004. He was targeted for a discrete DNA collection, and an interview was suggested in the FOIA documents.

And that’s it. We just don’t know that much about him.

We do know the LA division was in charge of investigating the “Elsinore Paracenter Incident” where someone in August of 1971 was asking around the paracenter to see if jumping out of a jet airliner was possible. This is a big piece of speculation on my part, but it’s possible EHS was one of the people investigated in connection with this incident. We don’t know for sure. But in a small way, this connects to the Gunther book. That’s not all.

Egg Harbor is right next to Atlantic City. Max Gunther’s source claims Atlantic City was one of the places Dan LeClair was laundering his money. This is a deep rabbit hole to get into, however if the Egg Harbor suspect was the man from the Elsinore Paracenter, and therefore he and his lady friend were the source for Max Gunther, then it’s possible the entire Gunther text was a ruse to try to cover their tracks and let the FBI think Cooper had died of natural causes.

Further investigation could still be possible with this suspect. I would want to compare EHS’s background in light of Tom Kaye’s research on the tie, as well as get a good look at his military service. If a connection can be made, EHS becomes, in my opinion, our leading candidate for DB Cooper.

Unresoved Suspect #3: Richard Floyd McCoy

The FBI documents say “but the speculation continues” when it comes to whether Richard McCoy was DB Cooper suspect. They list a few reasons why Cooper was probably not DB Cooper, including the fact there was no evidence linking him to the crime, there was no evidence he left Utah the day of the crime, and lots of evidence that he was in Provo on Thanksgiving with family and friends. 

However, the FBI document suggested DNA could be collected in relation to the case. They hoped McCoy’s former wife would be cooperative with this final attempt to eliminate McCoy as a suspect. Not surprisingly, considering the FBI all but murdered her husband, McCoy’s widow refused to cooperate with the investigation. A DNA sample was not obtained.

My father and I looked at the alibi, and there is a chance McCoy could have committed the crime in the time his whereabouts are not accounted for, between when he left class on the morning of the 23rd, to the time at 10am on the 25th that his alibi is confirmed by eyewitnesses. He would have to fly out from Salt Lake City, (flight records where checked with no result) and he would have about 13 hours after he landed in Washington state to find his way back to Provo, Utah. He wife would almost certainly had to have helped him with the hijacking.

Our investigation has looked into Richard McCoy before, and found he is almost certainly not the hijacker since he has no connection to the tie thanks to Tom Kaye’s particle analysis.

If you want to read more on the DB Cooper case, please buy my book. Our family has recently come on hard financial times and we could really use your help. Thank You.

Personal Update

My apologies to anyone who was hoping to see me at CooperCon in Seattle this year, unfortunately I couldn’t make it because of some temporary health issues (I’m fine now). Hopefully I will make it to future events. Sounds like the event was a big success and I look forward to the positive media coverage and presentation summaries I’m sure will follow.

However, my DB Cooper investigation continues. I’m looking to talk to anyone who was at the Elsinore Paracenter in 1971 or 1972. Also, I’d love to talk to any DC-3 pilots who worked at any skydiving LZ in the late 60’s or early 70’s. You can contact me by leaving a comment (only I see the email address).

Finally, I’m looking at updating the site and trying to find a better template.  So, hopefully, no more waiting for articles to load.

Personal Update

Just wanted to update the site, it’s been awhile…

1) I will be attending a DB Cooper Symposium in Portland in November, stay tuned for details.

2) I am currently editing a book of essays and other short pieces, I hope to publish it before the end of the year. No promises, though.

DB Cooper: AMA

Summer’s are busy with my day job so I don’t know when I can post anything substantive. I’m working on several Cooper-related pieces and some larger projects. However, if you have any questions you want me to address regarding the DB Cooper case, I’m opening this thread for that reason. Thank you.

DB Cooper Vortex Podcast

You can listen to the Cooper Vortex Interview here.

As some of you can probably tell, my voice doesn’t sound great. This winter I caught some kind of megabug. I’ve never been sicker. Three months later and I’m still not a 100%. Regardless, listening to the interview I think I made the points I wanted to make about the case. Thanks to Darren for having me on, and kudos to his producer who edited the interview to make me sound as good as I did.

DB Cooper: New Suspects

The last year has seen numerous new DB Cooper Suspects, needless to say I don’t think any of them are Cooper, here are my profiles:

“The Tektronix Lead”—When Tom Kaye announced that he was looking at sources for the particles on Cooper’s tie, and that among the possible manufacturing environments was the electronics manufacturer Tektronix (Tek) it didn’t take long for the internet sleuths to swarm Tek’s digital footprint to find a Cooper suspect. The end result, for me at least, was spending a couple of weeks going through the Tek company photo album. Twelve thousand pictures of Tek employees, nearly every employee from the early 1960’s to May of 1970. I found no one of interest. I did share the photo album with others, and a few suspects were fingered. Chief among them was Harold Fritzler. He was ex-military, managed the waste disposal units (or something like that), and looked absolutely nothing like the Cooper sketch. I know almost nothing about him, other researchers are looking into him. However, I have emailed many Tek alumni from this era and every single one of them is adamant that there was no way DB Cooper could have worked at Tek. At the time, Cooper was a major story, the source of endless gossip and intrigue, and anyone who was a good fit for Cooper would have been reported on immediately for the reward money. There is no reason not to believe these recollections, as nearly everyone I contacted said the same thing. In fact, based on these testimonies, I believe it would be impossible for DB Cooper to return to work anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Walter Reca–I have written briefly on Reca before. It took about five minutes for Reca to be ruled out as a suspect based on the press conference announcing him as a suspect. I guess parts of his story are entertaining, like many other Cooper suspects he’s a notable character with a big personality, however he’s definitely not Cooper. His background does not match the particles found on the tie. His flight path and LZ are too far away from where we know the plane was. His story does not include an explanation for the Tena Bar money find. Unfortunately, in the Cooper world it is the loudest and best financed who get media attention. This episode of the Cooper drama teaches the wrong lesson.

Ron Terry–A Korean War-era Paratrooper who became an early pioneer in sport skydiving, Terry made claims about being DB Cooper during his life, and in the months before his death, even getting interviewed by the FBI. Terry actually has a few things going for him as a suspect. He has the background in skydiving and the military. He had the motive and a criminal mindset. Terry would become a drug smuggler in the 70’s and later serve time in prison for his activities. He was also a pilot who would have been familiar with some of the aviation protocols Cooper seemed to know. I would reject Terry on several grounds: First, the story doesn’t explain the Tena Bar find (shocking, I know). There is a comment in the linked article about how Terry buried the money “on his property in Saratoga”—but this would not be upstream from Tena Bar. He also claimed to know where Cooper jumped, which is something Cooper certainly couldn’t know. I’m sure there are other contraindications, and this story is definitely at odds with the Tie Analysis (Shocking, I know). The fact the FBI didn’t seem to have any interest in him after the last interview before his death tells me they also eliminated him as a suspect.

James Klansnick--A Boeing engineer who worked on the 727 and WWII vet who parachuted from a B17, Klansnick was another larger than life figure. However, he almost certainly wasn’t Cooper. He had a good job at Boeing so he had no motive, and he was a family man who would have had plenty of obligations over the Thanksgiving holiday. There are other problems too, Kaye’s research shows the particles on the tie were likely “upstream” from Boeing; it’s very unlikely the tie came from someone working at that company. Finally, the piece of evidence we would absolutely expect from any owner of the Cooper tie is a photograph of the suspect wearing the tie. Based on every photo I’ve seen, Klansnick wore regular ties, not clip-ons.

Dan Clair/ William J. Smith–Okay, this one is my fault. Let me confess that I rushed my book on Cooper into print a few months early in an attempt to secure a spot on one the TV shows being produced on DB Cooper at the time. In the book, I suggest that we can find Gunther’s Dan LeClair through forensic genealogy. Unfortunately, I also felt the need to show how this might work. According to Gunther, DB Cooper was a Canadian-borne WWII Army enlistee from New Jersey whose first name was “Dan.” Guess what? According to the 1940 Census (along with the WWII enlistee records) there is exactly one person who matches all those criteria. I named him the book, Dan Clair, born 1919. At the time I published the book, I couldn’t find any information on Clair. Later on I found an obituary which conclusively eliminated Clair as a suspect. After the book was published, several independent researchers contacted me about their pet Cooper suspects. A few offered to help me find my suspect, and I was very excited. I think I made the mistake of mentioning Clair in these email exchanges, I don’t remember. I do remember one person becoming focused on Clair, and later a person connected to him named William J. Smith And that’s fine, I’m not here to attack others who offered to help me just because I don’t like the conclusions they’ve drawn. I would be ecstatic if Clair or someone connected to him were Gunther’s DB Cooper suspect. I also wouldn’t particularly care about credit… if anything, I want out of the DB Cooper world and a solved case would make a perfect exit. My problem with the Clair/Smith hypothesis is neither person worked in Industrial Chemicals, which is the one fact that HAS to be true from Gunther’s book based on Kaye’s tie evidence. The Gunther Hypothesis is falsifiable, and no number of coincidences can change the necessary preconditions for a Gunther suspect.

In essence, Smith becomes an input/output error. The Gunther text is an input. It produces a suspect as an output. The suspect doesn’t match the other criteria from the input. But if you stick with the output and change the input, all you’re doing is invalidating the entire process. You get stuck in a loop. If the input is wrong, that invalidates the output. Period. If you have confidence in the input, you are limited to its criteria and must reject anything else. To use a bad output to “massage” the input criteria is fallacy; it allows any conclusion to follow.

The Gunther hypotheses has a few simple criteria: Cooper must be living on the East Coast in the 1940s. He HAD to work in Industrial Chemicals. He HAD to be a paratrooper. He HAD to be at the Elsinore Paracenter in August of 1971. If we could get Gunther’s original notes, we could establish more criteria but until then these are the immovable premises of the theory.

Mark Metzler on DB Cooper’s Parachute