Investigators extract DNA from necktie of infamous hijacker DB Cooper

by Chris Ingalls

Carr says the tie, and a tie clasp that was also recovered from the plane, are not just part of Cooper nostalgia.

They are, perhaps, the most powerful pieces of evidence recovered during 36 years of investigation.

The FBI confirms it has been able to develop a DNA sample from evidence collected from the tie in 2001.
"Any body fluids, skin, skin cells. We shed skin cells non-stop," said Carr.

Cooper demanded $200,000 cash and parachutes on a Portland to Seattle flight on November 24, 1971.

The FBI complied, and once airborne again, Cooper jumped from the Northwest Airlines passenger jet into the Southwest Washington wilderness.

Since then, the FBI has amassed files on thousands of suspects.

One of the more high profile cases involved a Florida man, Duane Weber, whose widow provided agents a sample of his DNA.

A report from February excused Weber as a suspect.

"Unfortunately, the DNA right now is such that we can only exclude individuals, not really include them. But, it's still a very powerful tool because it can eliminate suspects," said Carr.

Ironically, Cooper's DNA becomes more valuable with time.

As science evolves, new techniques can draw even more genetic information from Cooper samples now stored in the FBI's lab.

Science aside, Agent Carr, who recently became the lead on the Cooper investigation, will always remember seeing the tie for the first time.

"To look at D.B.'s tie and hold it and go 'wow, this is the guy, the guy that jumped out who is the epicenter of perhaps the greatest whodunit in American history and here's his tie.' It's really cool," said Carr.

The FBI's goal in releasing this evidence is to re-ignite interest in the Cooper caper, and drum up some new leads.

Agents will only confirm that DNA has been used in that one case involving the Florida man.

Still, they've virtually eliminated the thousands of other people who have been brought to their attention.