True Crime Sunday: Richard Floyd McCoy, Jr. (Part 2: A D.B. Cooper Connection?)

Welcome back to True Crime Sunday! Last week we looked at the case of Richard Floyd McCoy, Jr, a man who hijacked a plane in 1972 in a manner quite similar to the way D.B. Cooper did shortly before. The two incidents were so similar that a lot of people wondered if they could be the same person. Bernie Rhodes and Russell Calame, the authors of the book D.B. Cooper: The Real McCoy think so. 

To start with, McCoy and Cooper had similar behavior when boarding the plane, a Boeing 727 in both cases. Both men were familiar with aviation terminology and handed typed messages to the flight attendant. They both then requested the flight attendant sit next to them. McCoy and Cooper each had weapons, but avoided alarming the passengers.

Their demands were also similar. Both men demanded four parachutes. In Cooper’s case, there was no way for him to attach the money to the parachute. In McCoy’s case, he demanded that the parachutes be outfitted with the equipment that would allow him to do that. Both men also demanded the fuel truck for the plane parked in a specific location so they could see if anyone was trying to approach. 

When it came to the escape, it was clear that both had knowledge of airplanes and jumping from them. Both used the stairways at the back of the plane.

In the investigation after McCoy hijacked the plane, authorities uncovered evidence that he had driven to Portland, Oregon just before D.B. Cooper took off from there. However, the evidence is circumstantial. Authorities also looked at the clip-on tie left behind by Cooper. They asked McCoy’s family if the tie looked familiar, and they said it looked like one he had.

The FBI, however, isn’t so sure. They say the DNA taken from the tie was not a match for McCoy. Though the composite sketches of D.B. Cooper resembled Richard McCoy, the flight attendant from Cooper’s flight couldn’t say for certain if they were the same person. There’s also evidence that McCoy was with his family the day after Cooper’s flight. 

Some theorize that McCoy took the lessons he learned from his attempt as D.B. Cooper and applied them to his flight a mere four and a half months later. 

What do you think? Were these two men one and the same?

Which case will we look at next week? As always, there’s one way to find out…

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