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Robert Rackstraw
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    (1943-July 9, 2019)
    Born in Columbus, Ohio
    Helicopter pilot and convict
    Accused of being skyjacker D.B. Cooper by author Thomas J. Colbert in the book 'The Last Master Outlaw' and the History Channel program 'D.B. Cooper: Case Closed?' (both 2016)
    He was dismissed from the military for falsifying his personal records (claiming to have graduated from college when he was actually a high school drop out) and lying about his rank (1971).
    Over the years, he racked up arrests on a wide array of charges, ranging from domestic violence to illegal possession of explosives to the murder of his stepfather.
    While out on bail for check fraud, he attempted to fake his death by stealing a plane and radioing a fake mayday call, claiming he was bailing out over Monterey Bay (1978).
    After being found, he was convicted on the original charge and an additional theft charge and served two years in jail.
    He liked to give cryptic responses to the media when asked about Cooper ('They say that I'm him. If you want to believe it, believe it.'), then insist that he had been joking.
    One investigator said about the similarities between the Cooper facial composite 'Sketch B' (the sketch where Cooper is not wearing sunglasses) and Rackstraw's military ID, 'Frankly, it looks like the sketch was traced from his photo.'
    He served fifteen months as a paratrooper in Vietnam, earning a Silver Star and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.
    He was acquitted of the most serious charge brought against him, murdering his stepfather (1978).
    The FBI investigated him as a possible D.B. Cooper suspect (1979), but dismissed him because: (1) there was no physical evidence tying him to the crime; (2) witnesses described Cooper as between 35 and 45 years old, while Rackstraw was 28 at the time of the skyjacking.
    After his release from jail (1980), he became an inspector for the Riverside County housing department, a teacher of contract law and mediation for online classes at the University of California Riverside, and a board member of his homeowners association.

Credit: C. Fishel

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