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FBI Reveals More About New Possible Skyjack Suspect

An undated FBI sketch of D.B. Cooper.
AFP/Getty Images
An undated FBI sketch of D.B. Cooper.

As we reported yesterday, the FBI jump-started D.B. Cooper mania with its revelation it has a new suspect in the unsolved skyjacking that occurred 40 years ago this November.

New details continue to trickle out with each interview with FBI Special Agent Fred Gutt. Among the new bits of information about the man who may or may not prove to be D.B. Cooper:

-- The "suspect" died more than 10 years ago of natural causes

-- Gutt told the Associated Press, "Maybe this is just someone else who just happened to look like [Cooper] and whose life story just kind of paralleled."

-- A tipster who was acquainted with the suspect contacted a friend who was a retired law enforcement officer who contacted the FBI, which then contacted the tipster.

-- Gutt told TheSeattle Times that the FBI has been investigating this lead for more than a year and that it has "more credibility and detail" than other leads. "There is a basic story that seems logical," Gutt told the Times.

-- Gutt also told the Times that the suspect's family gave the FBI a guitar strap but it did not yield fingerprints. The agency is seeking additional belongings from the family.

-- Other possible suspects are also being considered, according to this Gutt statement on seattlepi.com: "There are also other leads we're pursuing," agent Fred Gutt said. "Some of the other names have been out in the public, some of the names have not come out."

We'll keep an eye out for more details. But , who spent three years reviewing the D.B. Cooper case for his book Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper, urges caution.

"The DB Cooper case is booby-trapped," Gray tells NPR, recalling "countless pitfalls" in the evidence. "People call it the 'Cooper curse' that has thwarted efforts to reveal the true identity of the hijacker. And this has happened before, and many, many times."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Howard Berkes is a correspondent for the NPR Investigations Unit.