Adventure Books of Seattle released Into The Blast - The True Story of D.B. Cooper back in January of 2011. An earlier version was released the year before, but this was pulled after much more information on our suspect was discovered. However, contrary to the title, the book only relates a theory:
That Ken Christiansen of Northwest Airlines was perhaps the hijacker who got away with it.
NEW: Public version of the PDF of the actual report we sent to the Seattle FBI on Kenny Christiansen can be viewed or downloaded HERE. Adobe Reader is required to view or print. Any questions about this document should be directed to Robert Blevins at adventurebooksofseattle AT Gmail dot com.
It differs from the original in only one way: Some contact information on two of the witnesses was deleted. That information was provided only to the FBI. The report, which contains many documents and pictures, was sent to them in December of 2012, with an updated version in May of 2013.
When asked how sure we are about Christiansen, we say this:
'Either Christiansen was Cooper, or it's the biggest set of coincidences in recent history...'
Researchers or reporters can request a PDF copy of Into The Blast free by emailing us at adventurebooksofseattleAT Gmail Dot Com. Please state your credentials if you are with the media and we will gladly send you a copy.
That said, we cannot claim for certain that Christiansen and Cooper were one and the same, although we think we hit the nail on the head. We leave it to readers to judge for themselves. Before you purchase any book on the famous skyjacker, we urge you to do basic research on the case first. The best resources are listed below:
Sluggo's D.B. Cooper Research Site - The premier information source on the Cooper case. He is a stickler for avoiding myths and publishing only the known facts. He does not engage in speculation. What he DOES do on his website is to make a huge amount of information available to Cooper researchers. He has all the maps, all the known hard data. If you don't know who D.B. Cooper is right now, you will know after visiting his site.
Dropzone.com at the Skydiving History and Trivia Thread - For several years, most of the serious Cooper investigators and fans posted there. Even the Seattle FBI, under the guise of a user named 'Ckret,' (Special Agent Larry Carr) who was formerly assigned to the Cooper case. But over the years it has deteriorated into a slugfest populated by rude people and crazy theories. There is valuable information there, but sometimes it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. The farther back you research, the better results you will obtain.
Citizen Sleuths Website - Three researchers were allowed full access to some of the physical evidence in the D.B. Cooper case. They are Tom Kaye from the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, University of Chicago scientific illustrator Carol Abraczinskas, and metallurgist Alan Stone, president of Aston Metallurgical Services in Wheeling, IL. They did extensive testing on the famous tie, as well as some of the packets of the ransom money that was discovered in 1980. Their excellent website contains a wealth of information and pictures about their results. Highly recommended. They are definitely on the ball.
We've also been asked what makes our claim about Kenny Christiansen any better than other claims about the possible identity of the hijacker. One good reason is that the witnesses who were interviewed for Into The Blast are still alive, and if the F.B.I. or anyone else wanted to do so, they could interview these same folks as we did. Christiansen's DNA is also available, as well as his fingerprints from his U.S. Army records. He was a paratrooper at the tail end of World War 2.
Another reason is the strong circumstantial evidence against Kenny. Without going into details here (it's all in the book) we were able to establish motive, opportunity, evidential documents, pictures, and patterns of spending right after the crime that strongly point to Christiansen. Most of this is boiled down into the 29-page document you can download above. There is no smoking gun, however.
If there were, someone on the AB staff would be on David Letterman the following week.
A final reason might be the CONTEXT of the responses given by the witnesses interviewed for the book. All of them were cold-call interviews. None of these people had ever been approached before about Christiansen or the hijacking. Nevertheless, most began pointing fingers and offering testimony right away. This is strange behavior for people who supposedly knew nothing or were not involved in the hijacking. In fact, the sister of the man we alleged as Cooper's accomplice told us she suspected Christiansen was Cooper clear back in 1972, right after it happened. She also identified the tie tac left on board the hijacked airliner as one she had seen Christiansen wear many times. In the book she is referred to as 'Dawn J'.
After the original version of Blast was released, the History Channel approached us about doing a television show based on the book. They also contacted some of the witnesses, including a man (we called him 'Mike Watson' in the book) who we alleged as Cooper's accomplice. His real name is Bernie Geestman and he is from Port Angeles, Washington. This man responded to History Channel's request for an appearance by saying he hardly knew Christiansen and thought he was a dishwasher. In reality, he and Christiansen were good friends for more than forty years. Geestman then contacted his sister ('Dawn J') and asked her to retract the interview she gave for the book. She refused. History Channel production exec Marisa Kagan, after finding out what Geestman was doing, presented him with photographs of he and Christiansen taken over a twenty-year period, including Geestman's own wedding pictures. (Christiansen attended his wedding) When Geestman finally agreed to appear on the TV program Brad Meltzer's Decoded, he denied any involvement, called the book a lie....but also admitted he thought Ken Christiansen could be the hijacker. His exact statement was: "Yes, he (Christiansen) looks just like him..." (The FBI sketch)
The problem with this statement is that witnesses have already placed Mr Geestman and Mr Christiansen together, and MISSING, over the week of the hijacking.
A detailed article on Geestman, with pictures, can be seen here on our column at Newsvine/MSNBC.
Why would Bernie Geestman tell Decoded that he believes Christiansen could be the hijacker? One reason might be: He was unaware at the time of filming that two different witnesses had placed he and Kenny Christiansen together (and missing) over the week the hijacking occurred. Had he known this, he probably would not have said he thought Kenny could be the hijacker. He was also involved in the delivery of a $5,000 cash loan to his sister from Christiansen. This happened only five months after the hijacking. In addition, the famous house that Christiansen bought for cash in Bonney Lake, WA shortly after the hijacking was purchased from a couple where Geestman served as their Best Man. We think the F.B.I. should ask him more than a few questions.
It should be noted that since the release of the book, NONE of the witnesses have tried to retract their statements or force Adventure Books through legal action to pull the book from publication. In fact, the only thing that Geestman requested from us was several copies of the book for friends.
We gladly provided them to him.
Other recommended titles:
Skyjack - The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray.
Released in August 2011.
NORJAK - The Investigation of D.B. Cooper by Ralph Himmelsbach.
(This book is out of print, but is still available at Amazon at a high price.)
BELOW: 37-Minute Video of Robert Blevins presenting the major points of evidence against Kenny Christiansen in the Cooper Case.