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Thursday, August 4, 2011

D.B. COOPER SKYJACKING CASE: Woman claims Cooper was her uncle!

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By Steve Olafson, / OKLAHOMA CITY / Wed Aug 3, 2011 7:53pm EDT.

Accused skyjacker D.B. Cooper is shown in these FBI sketches released to Reuters August 1, 2011. REUTERS/FBI/Handout
Accused skyjacker D.B. Cooper is shown in these FBI sketches released to Reuters August 1, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/FBI/Handout.

(Reuters) - A woman claiming to be the niece of the mysterious skyjacker dubbed D.B. Cooper, who bailed out of a jetliner 40 years ago with $200,000 in ransom, says she recalls her uncle plotting the sensational caper at a family gathering in 1971.

Marla Wynn Cooper, 48, of Oklahoma City, said on Wednesday that she was the person who furnished investigators new clues to a previously unknown suspect, sparking a renewed probe of a case the FBI counts as the only unsolved hijacking in U.S. aviation history.

The woman told ABC News that she gave the FBI a leather guitar strap made by her uncle, now dead for over a decade, along with a photo of him with the same strap, to be examined for fingerprints that might match those from the plane.

The FBI has acknowledged that a leather guitar strap was submitted as evidence in the case, but to no avail.

"The material wasn't suitable for extracting fingerprints from, so we're in the process of obtaining other times that may provide a better source of comparison prints," Fred Gutt, a special FBI agent based in Seattle, said on Wednesday.

He declined again to reveal the person who came forward with the latest information, saying, "We do not identify witnesses in an investigation." The FBI said earlier this week its latest lead came from someone "close" to the new suspect.

But Marla Cooper said she is certain that her uncle, Lynn Doyle Cooper, who went by the name L.D. Cooper, was the man who seized a Seattle-bound Northwest Orient Airlines flight in November 1971 by claiming to have a bomb. He vanished when he jumped from the rear of the plane in mid-air with a parachute and $200,000 in cash, which he had ransomed from the airline in exchange for the release of the 36 other passengers.

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