I read through the Gunther book a second time, making copious notes of all the connections to the accepted story and all the problems and contradictions. I wrote a more extensive and definitive version of my original post, outlining the important connections in Gunther’s interpretation to later investigative findings. [I’m going to combine the two posts to make an introductory chapter of the book I hope to edit on the DB Cooper case.]
The most important adjustment I had to make was concerning the suit, which is center stage when discussing Kaye’s tie evidence. In the Gunther book, “Leclair” leaves his wife wearing his everyday work suit. Cooper wore a suit during the hijacking, and from the tie we have evidence of Cooper being in the industrial chemical field. (With the caveat that it’s entirely possible the Real Cooper purchased the tie from a thrift store, and Gunther just picked a random industry and the two just happened to match. However, this is extremely unlikely.)
I assumed Cooper wore his work suit to the heist. However, according to Gunther, “Leclair” eventually either lost, sold, or wore out his suit because he needed to buy one just before Norjack. Originally, I missed this key passage. At first I was despondent, since no suit meant no connection to the Kaye evidence. Then I realized it was the tie we cared about, not the suit. In my mind a “suit” is a single piece of wear rather than several independent articles of clothing. (Forgive me, I never wear one.)
Thankfully, it’s fairly reasonable to assume Leclair would keep his clip-on tie as he got bounced around after absconding. It was small and light, he had worn it nearly everyday for at least a decade. He even applied for jobs that would require a tie. I have the same tie that I wore in high school, it’s the only one I wear (during those rare times I need a tie).
More Tie Talk
This tie business is important, so I want to spend some time on it.
Let’s take the thesis that the Real DB Cooper got his tie from a thrift store. There is a small possibility he picks out a tie that was once owned by someone who worked in Industrial Chemicals. Very small. However, we can’t say this is important, since the odds are low for any particular tie representing any particular profession. However, one tie has to be picked. Maybe two ties over, there was one belonging to a dentist that had silver, gold and mercury on it. We would then be looking for suspects who were dentists. In this case we’d be wrong, the tie was just one selected at random.
However, things change once we match a suspect to the tie. If we get a suspect who matches the evidence on the tie, the odds of the tie being selected at random from a thrift store goes down considerably. Since there were only a few hundred people who we would expect to have such exotic particles on their ties, the odds against Gunther and the Real Cooper randomly aligning is thousands to one.
If there were no suspects available to us that explained the particles on the tie, then we’d be safe in saying the tie might have been picked up at a thrift store. This is not the case, so we have to take Gunther’s suspect seriously.
[I intend to expand on this probabilistic case in a later post, and actually do the math. Basically, the odds Gunther picked a profession that matched the tie evidence is thousands to one; the odds the Real Cooper randomly picked a tie from the thrift store that was from someone in Industrial Chemicals is thousands to one. The odds these two independent events match just really unlikely. I’m still looking for exact numbers.]