The Story of the DB Cooper Ransom Money

Way back in 1971, a man referred to as ‘DB Cooper’ sky-jacked a plane, demanded a ransom payment, before parachuting out. Cooper disappeared, and has never been seen or heard from since. His disappearance is one of the most incredible phenomenons of recent history, as this article shows. The only evidence that has appeared in the investigation into the case includes some of the ransom money – which was identified by a serial number. So who found it, and what happened to the money? Read on to find out!


Aircraft regulations became more strenuous in the aftermath of this case


The ransom money included a unique serial number – they were comprised of 20,000 $10 notes – equivalent to around $1.6M in 2017. Yet despite the serial number being made public – there were no leads. The FBI had engaged in considerable investigations, including reconstructions, ground searches and more. However it appeared that Cooper quite literally disappeared into thin air. Years passed, and no evidence of Cooper was found. This is, until 1980, when an 8-year old boy changed the case!




Brian Ingram, just eight years old, was on vacation near Vancouver, Washington, when he found three packets of the ransom cash. While the cash had weathered over nine years, they were confirmed to belong to the ransom money following tests. If you’re interested, this discovery didn’t really help the overall case, it proved to raise more questions than answers, see our article here for more. So what happened to the money? Was Ingram allowed to keep it, or would it be confiscated?


It took until 1986, but the recovered bills were eventually split between Ingram, now 14, and Northwest Orient’s insurer. The FBI ended up retaining a few notes as evidence. It proved to not only be a short-term boost for Ingram, but also long-term too! Ingram sold fifteen of the bills he received at an auction in 2008, which netted him $37,000! Not bad at all! No other notes have ever showed up. These notes remain one of the few certain areas of evidence from the case.




So what did happen to Cooper? Many propose that he died in the fall. It would’ve been cold at the time, while a drop into a forest-dominated area would present its troubles. Others suggest Cooper is still alive to this day. Many theories have appeared over time, the main article looking at DB Cooper includes some of these, including one cold-case group’s theory that the man is still alive, and living in San Diego, California… However it appears we’ll never truly know the answer as to what happened!





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The image used in the heading comes from Wikipedia Creative Commons.


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