Who Was Dick Briggs? Was He DB Cooper? How Did He Die?

Netflix’s four-part docuseries titled ‘D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?!’ has the viewers learn about the elusive skyjacker only known as D.B. Cooper. In November 1971, he jumped off a plane with $200,000 in cash and was never heard from again. Over the years, authorities and amateur investigators have tried to find Cooper’s real identity. In this pursuit, Tom Colbert, who was looking into the case, came across the story of Dick Briggs, who claimed to be the skyjacker. So, if you’re curious to learn if he really was Cooper, we’ve got you covered.

Who Was Dick Briggs?

In 2011, an interesting story from Ron Carlson reached Richard Kashanski, who connected Ron with Tom Colbert. In the past, Ron was a drug runner and, sometime in February 1980, had gone with a partner to Portland to pick up some drugs. At that point, they heard about a party on Hayden Island, Oregon, and decided to attend it. Over there, Ron came across Jon Richard “Dick” Briggs, a drug courier.

Dick had a reputation that preceded him. He had a bad temper and tended to be violent, especially after drinking. By the 1970s, Dick was in the drug business and began telling people he was the real D.B. Cooper. Ron, who met Dick, heard a similar story. Dick claimed to be a special forces soldier in Vietnam and, as per the show, stated he was an accomplished parachutist.

Then, Ron said that Dick pointed to a “hippie-looking” couple at the party. Dick then told him they would find some of Cooper’s ransom money on the north side of the Columbia River in Washington. The prediction seemed outrageous at the time, and Ron dismissed it until he saw the news a few days later. The same couple and their son had found about $5800 of the ransom money while vacationing outside Vancouver, Washington. At the time, Ron and his partner decided not to bring up the meeting with Dick ever again. Ron only talked about it decades later, leading Tom and his team on a mission to find out if there was truth to Dick’s claims.

Was Dick Briggs Really D.B. Cooper? How Did He Die?

The lengthy investigation ultimately revealed that Dick wasn’t Cooper. He didn’t match the profile, and there was no evidence of him ever going to Vietnam. As per the show, Dick was a part-timer with the Air Force and could not parachute. A few months after the discovery of the money, Dick was in a single-car accident in Portland. He died at the age of 41 on December 12, 1980, from the injuries he sustained.

Dick owned an automobile shop at the time, and as per the show, his friends felt that his death was suspicious. However, the authorities ruled his death an accident. While the investigation thread of Dick being Cooper ended, it provided Tom with another interesting lead at the same time. Dick was known to be an associate of Robert Rackstraw, and Tom believed he was the real Cooper, spending years of his time to prove the same.

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