Who was Barb Dayton? Was She DB Cooper? How Did She Die?

There are a lot of unsolved mysteries in the world, but rarely has any of them been as captivating as that of D.B. Cooper. In 1971, he hijacked a plane and then jumped off it with $200,00 that was never seen again. Over the years, a lot of theories have surfaced about the fate and the identity of this mystery man. Netflix’s ‘D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?!’ traces this story, focusing on the work of investigative journalist Tom Colbert. While the show mainly turns towards Bob Rackstraw as a suspect, there were a couple of people who confessed to being the man who concocted the perfect heist. Barb Dayton was one of those people. If you want to know more about her, we’ve got you covered.

Was Barb Dayton D.B. Cooper?

Much like every other suspect in the D.B. Cooper case, there is no concrete proof that it was Barb Dayton. The rumor was started by Dayton herself, who told her friends, Pat and Ron Forman, that she was the one who committed the skyjacking. Since it is a widely known fact that Cooper was a man, Dayton revealed some things about her personal life as well as the crime she claims to have committed with the couple, who have since been convinced that she was D.B. Cooper.

Born Bobby Dayton, Barbara loved flying. At 18, she tried to join the Air Force but was disqualified. Following this, she became a part of the U.S. Merchant Marine. After this, she worked in construction and wanted to pursue a professional career in the airlines. Doing odd jobs here and there, she became well-versed in parachuting. In ’59, she got a private license to fly but failed to get a commercial license, which led to some frustration in her with the airline industry. In 1969, she received gender reassignment surgery and became Barbara Dayton. It was noted by her physician that she’d been somewhat depressed before the skyjacking incident, but her mood significantly improved after it.

It was years later that she came out to the Formans, claiming that she had hidden the money somewhere near Portland. While her story seemed pretty convincing to the Formans, the FBI didn’t take her claims very seriously. Especially after she recanted the entire story. The Feds gave a number of reasons behind discrediting Dayton’s claims, most notable of them being her shorter height and different eye color than that of Cooper. Also, the money was not found in the place where she claimed to have hidden it.

However, over the years, researchers have looked into her story and found that while there is no way to prove the theory, there is no way to disprove it either. Considering Dayton’s background, she had the necessary skill set for skyjacking. So, the people who wish to entertain the possibility of Barb Dayton being D.B. Cooper are free to do so.

How Did Barb Dayton Die?

Barb Dayton died in 2002, at the age of 76. She’d been a heavy smoker, which eventually led to pulmonary disease which caused her death. Barb had been married twice, and following her surgery, had settled in Renton. In ’77, she worked as a librarian at the University of Washington. She developed a friendship with the Formans, which slowly waned after she left flying in the late 80s.

The Formans recount their time with her as well as the story she told them about the skyjacking in their book, ‘The Legend of D.B. Cooper — Death by Natural Causes’. While the authorities have rejected their claims, the couple still believes what Dayton told them. As for the missing money, they believe she might have gambled it at some point. No matter whether she was or wasn’t D.B. Cooper, the Formans still remember her fondly and as a good friend.

Read More: Where is Author Tom Colbert Now?