Originally, I was going to save this reveal for a book, but after thinking it over I decided to fully present my case on the blog. This will come in the form of several posts over the next few months. So here it goes…
When first reading through the Kaye evidence, I figured it would be an easy matter to eliminate all the publicly known suspects. I figured I’d find a bunch of dead ends, and that would be that. I could move on with nothing more to add to the Cooper literature.
I set about doing just that.
Well, Cooper Curse. The first “obviously not Cooper” suspect ends up matching with the Kaye evidence, and my plans on extricating myself from the case is out the window. Cooper Curse meets Cooper Vortex.
Who is this suspect? “Dan LeClair”, the pseudonym for an anonymous suspect presented in a book by a long-deceased author about a much-lampooned love story involving a lonely divorcee and D.B. Cooper. Somehow, this much-maligned mystery man has ended up being the strongest candidate not fully vetted with a proper investigation.
Max Gunther, best known as a financial writer (Zurich Axioms) wrote a book called “D.B. Cooper: What Really Happened” in the mid-80’s. In it, he describes being contacted by someone claiming to be D.B. Cooper shortly after the hijacking. This individual later flaked, and Gunther forgot about the whole affair for more than a decade.
However, he was later contacted by a woman claiming to know the real Dan Cooper who said the mysterious hijacker had recently passed away. After a few letter exchanges, Gunther interviewed the woman six times over the phone for about an hour a session. Then she, too, flaked. Gunther was able to put together the story into the form of a book, and it was immediately considered a hoax by the FBI.
Later, Jo Weber read the book, and it somehow convinced her that her former lover, Duane weber, was Dan Cooper. Over the course of a decade, or so, on the original Cooper thread on the DropZone website, Weber presented her case and was excoriated for her ambiguous statements and shifting positions. And rightly so. But along with attacking Weber, the forum members also tore down the Gunther book, almost solely by association.
To my knowledge, no one has fully investigated Gunther’s candidate.
I’ll be looking more closely at the book and examining all that can be examined over the next series of posts.
Here, I’ll quickly present the reasons why I think “Dan LeClair” deserves a closer look. Of most interest are those items that match with revelations about the case that didn’t become public, or where even discovered, until long after the book was published:
1) LeClair worked in the industrial chemical industry for more than a decade, as a salesman and manager, and possibly an executive. This coincides with the most important evidence found by Tom Kaye: the presence of unalloyed titanium on Cooper’s tie.
Max Gunther died in the late 90’s, and he would not have known how important Cooper’s actual profession would be in identifying a suspect.
2) “LeClair” absconded just before the hijacking. He told his wife he was going on a trip for work, and he told his employers he was going on vacation. He left his home wearing his work suit. This was the suit he later wore on the airplane. Gunther would not have known how important it was that Cooper was wearing his work suit and not something cheap purchased at a thrift shop.
3) “LeClair” was French-Canadian. There were several clues from the hijacking that suggested Cooper was Canadian (mostly phrases he used).
4) LeClair was a paratrooper, but not a skydiver. Gunther may have picked this up from the FBI, or not, but it is generally recognized that Cooper was not a skydiver.
5) LeClair read male action-adventure literature. Thus he might have been familiar with the comic “Dan Cooper” which was a French-only adventure comic produced from the late fifties to the hijacking.
6) As a Canadian who probably had to travel a lot, he would be more likely to use the phrase “negotiable currency” than your typical American. (And as a frequent traveler, he would have been familiar with much of commercial aviation procedures, equipment and lingo)
7) The story matches what we know from parachuting data (something I still haven’t published here yet, I’m working on it): Pulled ripcord, injured but mobile on the ground. Also, the drop zone isn’t moved either, which is common in most self-confessed Cooper stories.
I’ll be hitting each of these bullet points in-depth, as well as looking at other details from the book, answering objections, and I might even go through the other popular suspects. This is only an introduction.