How Did Three Packets of DB Cooper's Ransom End Up on Tena Bar?


One of the most perplexing aspects of the DB Cooper case relates to how the three packets of twenties found on February 10, 1980 ended up on Tena Bar. Moreover, where is the rest of the ransom?

I have argued that the story of these three packets is actually quite easy to explain if you understand what DB Cooper was facing when he received the $200,000 in ransom at SeaTac.

Specifically, the ransom did not arrive in a knapsack per Cooper's demands. Rather, it showed up in a white canvas bank bag that did not zip, snap or in any other fashion, fasten at the top. Therefore, Cooper had to improvise in order to properly secure the top of the bank bag before he jumped.

My research indicates that it is highly-likely that the ransom was delivered in a standard Size H (28" X 14") bank bag. Additionally, we know that the ransom itself measured 12" X 11" X 9" before it was placed into the bank bag.

As depicted in the images below, once the ransom is placed in the bank bag in the most efficient manner, there is very little room at the top of the bag to properly cinch and secure it. Therefore, Cooper would have been required to remove several packets of twenties from the bank bag so as to provide enough material at the top to cinch and secure with parachute shroud line as was witnessed by Tina Mucklow.

The question then becomes, where did DB Cooper put these excess, or overflow, packets of twenties that he removed from the bank bag?

The evidence and witness testimony clearly shows that Cooper utilized the missing dummy reserve parachute to store these excess packets. This explains why the lightly-packed dummy reserve was missing from the jet when it arrived in Reno.

Upon safely jumping and landing, I believe DB Cooper discarded both of the parachutes he jumped with--the main and the dummy reserve. Needless to say, Cooper would have removed the excess packets of twenties from the dummy reserve before he discarded that parachute.

Then, as he walked his way back to civilization, Cooper temporarily buried the still-secured bag of ransom and the excess packets of twenties in a hole he dug in the sand on Tena Bar. Finally, a period of time later, under cover of darkness, Cooper retrieved the ransom bag and excess packets of twenties buried in the sand. However, Cooper failed to notice that three of the packets of twenties were accidentally left behind.

These are the now famous packets of twenties discovered on February 10, 1980 by a young Brian Ingram. Of note, this discovery was only made possible with much assistance from Mother Nature who continued to erode the beach at Tena Bar to a level where the once-buried packets were now just below the surface.

The following pictures illustrate my points about the bank bag and ransom.

ABOVE: White canvas bank bag Size H (28" X 14") with lead seal.

ABOVE: Close-up of lead seal.

ABOVE: Bank bag with $200,000 ransom, properly-sized (12" X 11" X 9"), inside.

ABOVE: Side view of bank bag filled with ransom.

ABOVE: Picture highlighting the fact that the bank bag is too full to properly secure without removing several packets of ransom.