New evidence about D.B. Cooper provides the weirdest twist yet in the legend of the skyjacker who got away with $200,000 in 1971! Forensic experts have examined the necktie that the notorious criminal left behind when he parachuted out of a plane over the Pacific Northwest with his ransom money — and found traces of titanium dust! That's had some sleuths speculating over where Cooper worked. Others, however, believe it's a startling clue that Cooper was really a sex-swapping gal who confessed to the crime!
FBI sketch of accused skyjacker D.B. Cooper
Barbara Dayton was born Robert Dayton, and underwent Washington State's first gender-reassignment surgery in 1969. That alone would make for a remarkable life for the former Merchant Marine — but Barbara became part of D.B. Cooper's story after relocating to Oregon. She boasted that she'd pulled off the skyjacking two years after becoming a woman — and only recanted her claims after discovering that she could still be charged with the crime. Barbara's bizarre past, however, also includes ties to titanium!
Barbara had worked plenty of manly jobs in her early years, including jobs as a machinist and an explosives expert. She could have easily been working with titanium in the Pacific Northwest's aviation industry — and the substance is also commonly found in the making of explosives! The tie also revealed spiral pieces of aluminum that were typical of remnants from lathes and drill presses. Neighbors also reported that Barbara was well-known locally as a skilled pilot and a fearless parachutist.
Two of those neighbors, Pat and Ron Forman, claimed that Barbara told them the skyjacking was to "get back" at the airline industry that wouldn't let her become a pilot. The couple later investigated more of Barbara's past after she passed away from cardiac arrest in 2002, and believe that she pulled off the ultimate disguise by changing back into a man for her skyjacking.
They've also noticed that investigators looking into D.B. Cooper often avoid Barbara as a subject — which might have helped her hide away from authorities, despite her confession. The couple once contributed Barbara's story to a National Geographic documentary on D.B. Cooper, but the footage was left on the cutting room floor. “I guess our story was just too controversial for them," said Ron.