Purported Hijacker's Niece: The Ransom Money Was All Lost

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hide captionThis FBI photo shows some of the ransom money found by a young boy in 1980.

The woman who claims her uncle was the legendary hijacker "D.B. Cooper" believes he lost all the money from his heist. The niece, who grew up in Washington state, provided new details on the missing loot.

At SeaTac Airport in 1971, a hijacker exchanged a planeload of passengers for $200,000 in ransom and four parachutes.

Now living in Oklahoma, Marla Cooper says the fugitive and a previously unknown accomplice were her uncles. Cooper told me the same story she says she told the FBI.

She remembers a specific discussion in 1995 with her late father. They talked about whether her uncle was D.B. Cooper.

"I questioned what he did with the money," Cooper says. "He said, 'he dropped it.' I said, 'What!'"

Cooper believes her father must have heard about the parachute jump from his brother.

"He said, 'no Marla, he strapped it to himself. Then when he was falling from the sky something went wrong the parachute.' In working to get the parachute opened, the money got unattached and it fell away from him."

The FBI recorded the serial numbers of all the ransom bills. None were ever detected in circulation. In 1980, a boy playing along the Columbia River did find a few bundles of the cash in a sandbank.

On the Web:

D.B. Cooper Redux:

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2007/december/dbcooper_123107

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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